Xander Fulton
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I have a Wacom Intuous, as I do a lot of design work...mostly layout, and work with vector shapes. Some for boardgames, actually. For example...



...my work.

However, I'd love to be able to draw with it...and I really can't. Never learned to draw. Not on pen-and-paper (at least, not without a ruler and T-square...I did a few years of drafting), not on the computer. Rather poorly practiced pen-eye coordination. Even my signature is a sloppy mess!

What I'd really like is an application to help practice drawing shapes/lines/etc, so I can get my pen-eye coordination improved.

Something that put up an assortment of shapes, and measured 'accuracy' against these...like this (as a mockup)...


 
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XanderF wrote:
I have a Wacom Intuous, as I do a lot of design work...mostly layout, and work with vector shapes. Some for boardgames, actually. For example...



...my work.

However, I'd love to be able to draw with it...and I really can't. Never learned to draw. Not on pen-and-paper (at least, not without a ruler and T-square...I did a few years of drafting), not on the computer. Rather poorly practiced pen-eye coordination. Even my signature is a sloppy mess!

What I'd really like is an application to help practice drawing shapes/lines/etc, so I can get my pen-eye coordination improved.

Something that put up an assortment of shapes, and measured 'accuracy' against these...like this (as a mockup)...



Well I have Never seen an app such as the one you described, to be honest with you if you are looking to illustrate freehand then just start drawing, learn your perspective and practice

Draw what ever you see in life(trees,people) and just keep practicing. Find line drawings and trace over them on a new layer or something.

Just a thought.

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The single best way to learn to draw is a life drawing class.
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There isn't really any application that will help you draw better or draw more accurately using a tablet. You just need to practice drawing in general so I would take a drawing class as suggested. Lots of places have community run courses you can take for pretty cheap. Once you feel you have a handle on drawing it just takes more practice to use a tablet to do so.
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I recommend against practicing on a tablet because it acts as a crutch for traditional methods. Pencil and paper serves as a base that reinforces the other techniques. When you rely on CTRL+Z, auto-correction, and other time saving functions you miss out on the beauty of drawing.

This may not be the answer you're looking for, but I think the learning process is faster and more meaningful with physical material than digital. As for how you learn to draw, buy a cheap $5 sketchbook and literally draw everything. You can find a ton of tutorials online but the most important basics are shapes, shadows and values, and perspective. The first step to successful art is realizing that literally everything is made up of basic shapes (circles, ovals, squares, etc.). Once you can "sight" what you're looking at, you can apply it to paper easily.
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jaybeethree wrote:
I recommend against practicing on a tablet because it acts as a crutch for traditional methods. Pencil and paper serves as a base that reinforces the other techniques. When you rely on CTRL+Z, auto-correction, and other time saving functions you miss out on the beauty of drawing.


Well, since I don't have any use for pen-and-paper drawings, I really doubt that would benefit me much. Everything I've ever done even remotely art-like has been on a computer, and I don't see that changing, so that's really the platform I need to learn how to use best.

Warbringerd wrote:

Well I have Never seen an app such as the one you described, to be honest with you if you are looking to illustrate freehand then just start drawing, learn your perspective and practice

Draw what ever you see in life(trees,people) and just keep practicing. Find line drawings and trace over them on a new layer or something.

Just a thought.



Well, as noted - I really don't have an issue with putting design to document. I handle perspective and shading just fine, it's really just the eye-pen coordination for a pad I need to practice, and I'd rather not waste time on drawings that will be crap because I haven't got the coordination down, yet.

(I don't do 'imperfection')
 
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I hate to break it to you but drawing is imperfection at its best. Do you think the most accomplished and skilled artists just picked up a pen/pencil/brush and started making masterpieces? No, they practiced. A LOT! You may need to make a thousand crap drawings before you get one that meets your standards. Its that way with all artistic skills. Practice, practice, practice!
 
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robbdaman wrote:
I hate to break it to you but drawing is imperfection at its best. Do you think the most accomplished and skilled artists just picked up a pen/pencil/brush and started making masterpieces? No, they practiced. A LOT! You may need to make a thousand crap drawings before you get one that meets your standards. Its that way with all artistic skills. Practice, practice, practice!



Ahhhh, but the computer has undo!!

What he really needs is a cintiq. And he should buy me one too for tuning him into it. I am desperate to get one.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79SdxuA1WjY


As for the hand/eye disconnect, I get it. I have to work for a week to get back into it each time I try. it's a skill. Especially if you have a penchant for tilting the paper, it just doesn't translate. A tablet like a cintiq can rotate to your hand. If you want more experience like your "worksheet", just scan in some coloring book pages (Or download some) and trace them. Search on google for coloring pages.
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Then don't get the 12" one. I had it , used it for some time, sold it.

I concluded the best thing in tablets is a large size, gives better accuracy and better firm stroke. And that said by someone using wacoms during years. Have had graphires, intuos A4, Small "S" (have it yet), Intuos 1,3, etc. I finally work using an A5 for fast retouching, and a Wacom XL for anything serious. Yet tho still hand drawing with traditional pencil on paper is more accurate and faster, for drawing. Not for color and etc.

If what the original poster meant is he's having trembling in the stroke, that can be due to magnetic interference of a monitor or other electric source, or a wacom software driver problem. Also can be just the persona having certainly not a steady hand. In this case, there are vectorial free drawing tools in softwares like Flash or Illustrator, that allow you to set in configuration a kind of automatic averaging : It will smooth and round your lines after the stroke is made. With practice, for certain toonish styles it will work great. You have a similar option in the free software called MyPaint http://mypaint.intilinux.com , far from the completeness of Painter or the like, but cool tool, anyway. MyPaint's settings to tune the stroke response are superb, hard to find in a commercial tool.

The pen to hand coordination issue might be happening also for a bad configuration of the software panel you get from Wacom. You might have configured wrongly the proportions ratio between screen and tablet. Also some tablets are way too different in proportions to certain screens, this will affect, too.
If your wacom is a small size one, this issues are increased.

Indeed, cintiq 12" has them,(and in boths cintiqs you cannot draw in 2.5 inches around the border, gets too random) is just a little bit more precise than a intuos Small, and you have a lot of more work to calibrate it. Its screen color level is amazing, though.

My advice would be hunt for the L size, my XL is ok for me, the only thing I consider if I'm inking in computer, but have a large desktop. Or if not, at least an A4. If you really need to paint like traditionally and go cintiq, just go the 21" or + route. Illustrator is great for inking, it allows to fix on the fly those vector free painting strokes... My 2c.


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Ricardo van Duuren
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It's not automated, but you could use the old 'hit the dots' practice.

Place a few random dots on your canvas, then decide if you want to practice straight or curved lines.

Then draw those lines freehand and hit all the dots.

You can tell by looking whether or not you were accurate enough. Does the percentage really matter? It's either done right or not, right?

Way faster on paper btw.

I can recommend the Cintiq as well. I got the old 21UX version. It has very nice accuracy. But it comes at costs: high price tag, sometimes your hand kind of sticks a bit on the screen resulting in a wobbly line (u can wear a thin glove to combat that, but I never bothered with that) and when drawing a line over the entire screen it's annoying that your hand is in the way. also, if you like placing your tools on the other screen, well, you can't reach that with your pen, so you need to switch to mouse then, or keep the tools on your cintiq screen and just momentarily hide them when you need more screen space. And there's a small delay between your pen and the software. It's maybe 100-200ms, but noticeable. The Intuos doesn't have that noticeable delay. I don't know if this all applies to the new 24" Cintiq though. It's based on Intuos 4 technology, instead of the 3.

I had a Graphire tablet before this (now the Bamboo line), I hated it and never used it as a result.
 
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What about the line quality? is it fluid and as wonderful as it looks?
To be able to use my scanner less in the creative process would rock. The way I work now is to paint on paper, scan and build the painting from lots of little paintings (My clients make a lot of changes). If I painted right on layers, I would have the brush strokes open with no backgrounds, colors could melt into each other, pieces could drag around, wow it's a dream come true if it all works as well as I hope.

 
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RicoD wrote:
It's not automated, but you could use the old 'hit the dots' practice.

Place a few random dots on your canvas, then decide if you want to practice straight or curved lines.

Then draw those lines freehand and hit all the dots.

You can tell by looking whether or not you were accurate enough. Does the percentage really matter? It's either done right or not, right?

Way faster on paper btw.

I can recommend the Cintiq as well. I got the old 21UX version. It has very nice accuracy. But it comes at costs: high price tag, sometimes your hand kind of sticks a bit on the screen resulting in a wobbly line (u can wear a thin glove to combat that, but I never bothered with that) and when drawing a line over the entire screen it's annoying that your hand is in the way. also, if you like placing your tools on the other screen, well, you can't reach that with your pen, so you need to switch to mouse then, or keep the tools on your cintiq screen and just momentarily hide them when you need more screen space. And there's a small delay between your pen and the software. It's maybe 100-200ms, but noticeable. The Intuos doesn't have that noticeable delay. I don't know if this all applies to the new 24" Cintiq though. It's based on Intuos 4 technology, instead of the 3.

I had a Graphire tablet before this (now the Bamboo line), I hated it and never used it as a result.


Exactly, there's a delay. But the electromagnetic system is pretty similar. So, I have never gone that deep as to be aware about if the delay happens the same with a regular wacom (cintiq 12 and 21 use intuos 3 pens, I believe) too, and is just that gets more evident when painting directly with the pencil ball of a cintiq. I can only ensure a cintiq 12" is not what a lot of people think it is. I knew it the sad way. A 21" might be very different, but for the size, mostly, technology is the same. Tho that changes a lot. Also, beware some hard data... A Intuos A4, one of the best purchases I think it's about 500 bucks...the XL, from a local shop, did cost me 800, the cintiq 12", 1200+ also, in my area.. But the cintiq 21" goes up to 2500...Can't justify my self that money mostly as pencil drawing and inking with your own traditional materials is more accurate than a cintiq. But I suspect the cintiq 21" is indeed quite a dream of a tablet.

 
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Where do you live? Here in the US they are 999, 2,000, and 2,500 for the 24HD
 
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Phil of Mars wrote:
What about the line quality? is it fluid and as wonderful as it looks?
To be able to use my scanner less in the creative process would rock. The way I work now is to paint on paper, scan and build the painting from lots of little paintings (My clients make a lot of changes). If I painted right on layers, I would have the brush strokes open with no backgrounds, colors could melt into each other, pieces could drag around, wow it's a dream come true if it all works as well as I hope.



Yep, with that customer you would for sure speed up in some areas. Yet though not sure if it compensate, as the freedom and speed with traditional pencils or brushes is not replaced not even with long years wacom expertise. But if there are many changes, etc, you might win time IF you get an accurate wacom, configure it well, and train your self in the new thing. It gets to have some habit, although you probably are a long time user of wacom, just not cintiq.

But... I don't know... The problem is not enough people around you have a wacom you could "try". Otherwise I would recommend you firstly try a wacom L (XL is only practical for me it seems, as am OK having a 65x46cm or whatever that swimming pool measures are, but no other I asked enjoys that size...What I do is I have my table with two orientations, I move monitor and stuffs around depending on if I work with XL or the S. The switch is kindda funny...) I suspect the A4, the "M" size is not going to give the best stroke control possible, as I said. That's why I'm convinced that for an artist the best way is at least try for a real drawing (test both line art and color, tho color is doable even with S) with M and L. I doubt the cintiq money cost worths it in most cases. If it were just 100 -200 bucks more than an L, I'd say okm but...

The stroke is fluid (plus you have many painting software like MyPaint, and I think Painter tho am more a Photoshop guy, do have tracking settings, you can set how many "samples" the stroke takes, what stroke averaging will it do, etc. In MyPaint you can even have a config for one kind of art or another, I mean, setting more "perfect" lines, or other with more control but less steady). Where it fails is in the fact that you make the stroke and it does not always land as your brain is telling your hand. There's the unaccuracy, more than in trembling or the like. This plus the lag and some other thing makes it yet less good than real pencil and paper. Besides, the calibration, You need to calibrate it well. And indeed, for your "usual" position. You wont see the cursor in the right place if one day you paint in a slight different position. This removes a chunk of the relax and the needed focus, imo. One can get so used to it than forgets it, as any cintiq lover will tell you. And they're surely right, too, but...In any case, human brain-hand only combo is still more perfect . Have seen the improves on the new 24, nothing in the line of improving these issues...

Another one is... it gets hot after a while. These days might sound as an advantage, but...I also find the 12" too small to not feel claustrophobic. Add to it the fact that you have little of that usable for the 2.5 inches non usable border, and the fact that Photoshop or similar package windows do get in the way a lot, noticeable at that resolution... Which with only 800 of height, is pretty small...

Having had mostly all the expensive ones, I still prefer hand drawn pencil artwork, then scan. Inking with the XL as I always hated inking with regular ink, but that's me. Color, is lovable with wacom. Any wacom.

Oh. and forget about the Inkling device lately launched. Not very useful and too not accurate in too many situations.

I feel that electromagnetic systems have yet a lot of room to improve. I have made thousands of drawings with wacoms and my plate of food depended on that, so am not an user that just played a bit and did throw them to the paper bin... I always recommend L and XL (if not, A4 or Bambu only the Medium one) over cintiqs.But is a very personal opinion. (agreeing with RicoD that the 21" must be good (just so pricey). A friend has it and loves it. )


 
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Phil of Mars wrote:
Where do you live? Here in the US they are 999, 2,000, and 2,500 for the 24HD


Oh, true! Just checked. Prices changed since the 24 release... I just felt finally setup with the xl and haven't checked prices more since a while.. Then might be time to go for the 21" (not me, certainly )
 
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In my experience fluidity could use some improvement. I did notice one weird thing. I can taper based on pressure pixel perfect on a small canvas, anything smaller than the screen's native dimensions, but as soon as it's larger it becomes jittery.

I'd like to try out the 24" one since it's based on Intuos 4 and therefore double the pressure sensitivity (the difference between 512 and 1024 made all the difference for me). And hoping the delay is less noticeable as well.

I bought mine in 2006 and I think I'm still paying it off ... was more expensive back then. :/ There are Wacom stands at some conventions, so hoping to go to one when there's one in my hometown. Even better: a colleague told me he got all his tablets from winning painting competitions held at those conventions.

The amounts of hours I spent scribbling on it made the price well worth it in the end. I like traditional tools, but in Photoshop I'm loads faster. I built up slowly with paint. With Photoshop I use a gazillion adjustment layers and everything is built up lightning fast. I can do something in a few hours what would take me weeks with paint (or maybe I'm just a really slow painter).

@Phil: You work with a mouse? Wow, that would kill my wrist I think (I paint a lot and pressure sensitivity helps then). I did hear of some people preferring the mouse for painting as well, as it's more like painting, since a Wacom pen often leads to holding it like a pen or pencil, instead of how you would hold a brush.
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RicoD wrote:

@Phil: You work with a mouse? Wow, that would kill my wrist I think (I paint a lot and pressure sensitivity helps then). I did hear of some people preferring the mouse for painting as well, as it's more like painting, since a Wacom pen often leads to holding it like a pen or pencil, instead of how you would hold a brush.


Actually the thing that hurts is my hand from holding the tiny mouse that came with my new mac! Smaller is not always better, people!
You can see some of my work at www.findphil.com I am in the process of rebranding and getting a new site (once I figure out what it's going to look like). I made that one in 2006 or so and have forgotten how to use golive! So I am going to have someone else make it in dreamweaver. I would hope the newer cintiqs improved in the last 6 years. It's good to hear you love it tho. I NEEEEEED one.
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I picked up my cintiq about a year ago, I wish I used it more but thats more to do with time share between projects and family. Work flow wise and ease of use, Fantastic......I'm still a fan of paper and non-repo's (animation background) and I tend to still resort to that, but I will scan and clean up and paint in photoshop on the cintiq and I love it. I would recommend it to anyone doing any sort of 2d digital work.

my 2'c
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XanderF wrote:
Well, since I don't have any use for pen-and-paper drawings, I really doubt that would benefit me much.


Then the problem seems to be your definition of use. Because practice and skill with pen-and-paper drawings would be useful because they would directly and quickly develop the very drawing skills you seek. It's a transaction with yourself. You put yourself to the thrills and drudgery of improving your artistic and technical capabilities, and the result is that those skills improve and grow.

You can learn all you think you need to learn to fly in a flight simulator, but if you want to really pilot you'll have to get into a real machine.

Quote:
(I don't do 'imperfection')


You do if you're a human. But if you really want to benefit yourself, practice art to connect with your own humanity, if for no other reason. Take your machine for a trip.
 
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My partner has a Cintiq. For the first month(ish) he actually preferred his mouse. Like others said, getting better at it is just a matter of practicing. There's a pretty big learning curve, but you really do get a "feel" for it as time goes on.

Tripwire / Wire Loop games might help at the very beginning, though? e.g. http://www.learn4good.com/games/online/wireloop.htm

Just as reference, here's a drawing he made the 2nd day after getting the tablet:


And, about 18 months later:


It's still identifiably the same style (and same cat!), but there's a lot more confidence and uniformity in the lines. That's with a year and a half of near-daily practice though.

I think it's also worth mentioning, that even before he was fully confidant in his skills with the cintiq (still using the mouse for some kinds of drawing), the SPEED benefits he gained were incredible. It basically made him twice as efficient at work, which is worth a lot.
(He's an animator / character designer / storyboard artist btw)
 
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From what you say, you do not seem to want to learn drawing for real (something clashing with your "no imperfection" statement, as this is a vital skill for any illustrating graphic designer), I wonder why you want to learn to draw straight lines on a tablet? If you only work on computers using vectors, they can fix that for you (AI's line drawing tool for example allows you to set the smoothness of the curve, the perfectness, if you like). Adobe Line, on the iPad, allows you to use "rulers" in different shapes, so no need to learn straight lines there as well.
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XanderF wrote:


What I'd really like is an application to help practice drawing shapes/lines/etc, so I can get my pen-eye coordination improved.

Something that put up an assortment of shapes, and measured 'accuracy' against these...like this (as a mockup)...




If you want accuracy, toss out the tablet. it's not going to give you anything better than what you can make with your hand.
I think what you want is adobe illustrator or another vector based program, and a mouse. THAT, you can make everything perfect with. I can copy the above PERFECTLY in a few seconds with illustrator. You'll never be able to do that drawing traditionally with a tablet and pen.


Oh and I got my cintiq. LOVE it. workflow has speeded up immeasurably. But that is traditional drawing, not vector. I still use a mouse for that.
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I'd note two things:

- This thread is two and a half years old! I doubt the OP is even listening.
- I still use my tablet for Illustrator work as well: a mouse will give you RSI far more quickly, and vector graphics - with frequent small-but-precise movements - are amongst the worst in that regard. Using a mouse for drawing in general is asking for trouble.


Actually I'd also note: anyone who says you can't get good at drawing using a tablet because "it's not the same, man, you're missing ot on the whole metaphysical drawing experience" is just a Luddite. Ignore them. :-)
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I find my accuracy with my Cintiq (24HD) WAY better than I get from my tablet (Intuos A4), but that's simply a size thing (moving from the elbow rather than the wrist). Neither are as accurate as pen on paper because the point of contact is more immediate on paper. A tablet or Cintiq is designed to mimic the sensation and muscle movements of working with a pen so any practice on paper will translate to either tool.

However, is accuracy and consistency is your primary concern, take advantage of the tools that a digital workspace affords you. Use Photoshop's pen tool to make smooth vector masks and use Illustrator's tools to do your line work. Just as you would use a ruler and curve set if you were working on paper.

Also, as an aside, I haven't even owned a mouse for over a decade. I use my tablet for EVERYTHING that I don't use my Cintiq for. Browsing the web, emails, everything. Can't stand using a mouse and I really hate the constant clicking in an office full of them.
 
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Accuracy isn't the point with tablets. At least, I don't think it is. Until you get a Cintique, possibly. I don't know cos I only work on a bamboo

Though if you wanna learn, JOIN THIS GROUP: Daily Spitpaint, do one a day, 30 minutes. INVALUABLE.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1402563099961950/

Some stuff I did in the last few days:







keep learning!
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