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Label: sketchbooks

Friday 25th July 2014Tablet Sketchbooks

Sometimes it feels that being alive in the 21st century is akin to living in a science fiction future, and to a large extent, this is actually true. Portable communicators (aka mobile phones) are everywhere, and any one of them has more power than all the computers humanity had built before the year 1990 put together. It's fantastically amazing, and the art world hasn't been left behind. Digital cameras, home scanners and drawing tablets have completely changed the way we interact with computers and digital imagery, all to our gain. One thing that hasn't really changed, though, is our desire to take ourselves out into the world and create while we're out there. Practicing sketching in the studio is all well and good, but it can get pretty boring pretty quickly. There's a reason you often see art students out at fairs and other locations, practicing life drawing and sketching in real world situations. So how does the science fiction future touch them?

Tablets. Tablets were a niche market item at their outset, but rapidly have begun to supplant the laptop as the ultra-portable workstation and computer, and with good reason. Excellent screens, and reasonable battery life have solved the problems that held the early models back from widespread adoption. The development of solid application ecosystems for both Android and iOS tablets have greatly changed how useful they are, and the art world is no exception.

You may even own a tablet, without ever having considered the value that it might have as an artistic tool. Many free applications exist that offer sophisticated drawing technologies for those who are interested, although we have to recommend that you buy a stylus for doing any serious kind of sketching. Partly, this is because it most closely mimics the traditional drawing experience, which has remained more or less unchanged since the time of cave paintings with good reason, and partly because using your finger to do more than basic control of the tablet can get pretty frustrating after any length of time. If you stick with it, you could adapt, but as styluses are fairly cheap nowadays, it makes sense to at least give it a shot with that method.

As for which sketchbook application to use, we're recommend testing out a few of the free ones to help you decide what control system works best for you, but personally we're fans of Autodesk's Sketchbook app for Android. It's free, and powerful, and fun to use - and you never have to worry about losing your sketchbook again, since you can save everything you draw to a cloud-based storage system like Google Drive, and many tablets come bundled with some sort of cloud storage from the manufacturer.

Regardless of what you choose to use, go forth and explore the world with your tablet, and uncover your own science fiction future of artistic possibility!

Posted on July 25th 2014 on 08:21pm
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