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My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer #1027: Of Mice and Tablets

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 352 days ago 753 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1026: A Breath Between Designs Part 1027 of My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer series Part 1028: Time to Paint! »

I debated whether to even post or not today because there isn’t much that I can show you. I am in the midst of drawing up a new pattern that I will be offering as a painting pattern and kit, and it is kind of ‘in process’ and I would rather have it finished up a bit more before I show you all what it looks like.

I am thinking that I will also do a scrolled version of this pattern for the woodworkers, but that will need to be done a little later because I have several deadlines coming up in the near future. Besides the deadline for this project, which I want to offer to the company we do wholesale kits for, I have a couple things that I need to work on for Creative Woodworks and Crafts magazine’s holiday issue. (Yes! Christmas is in the air!)

We had a beautiful weekend here in Nova Scotia. The weather is just perfect. Warm in the afternoon and cool in the evening with it being sunny and calm all day. It looks like it will be that way today, too, as the sun is already shining brightly.

I had a couple of people ask me questions recently about how I draw my designs and get them onto the computer, so I thought I would discuss that a bit here this morning. I am asked about this often and someone asked me a question about it just last week.

As some of you know, I use a Wacom Tablet and pen mouse for most of my drawing. While I like to draw on paper too, most of the time I draw directly into my Adobe Illustrator program using a tablet and pen mouse. Below is a picture of the model that I use. (the Intous3 – which is several years old. Now they are up to an Intous5 I think)

I love the tablet and I find that it really makes my drawing easier to use the pen instead of a traditional mouse. Even when I draw on paper first, I scan in my drawing and then have to re-trace it into the computer manually. I find that using a pen to do this is far easier than using a “brick mouse.” The pen uses fine motor skills of your hand while the regular mouse uses more gross motor skills of your entire arm. I find the pen is more natural for me to use.

This isn’t the case for everyone. A couple of years ago I got Keith a Wacom tablet (a Wacom Intous4)

It had many more features than mine, but he never really got used to using the pen. He felt it to be clumsy and it didn’t have the control he liked for drawing. Eventually, he went back to using a traditional mouse for his computer and says he just never really got comfortable using the pen. As I said – everyone is different.

Since the Wacom Intuos tablets start at a cost of a couple hundred dollars, it is kind of a risk for those who aren’t sure if it is something they would like. Although if you really want one with all the additional features, like any computer/electronic item, there are plenty of the slightly older models that are available at greatly reduced prices on Ebay, Amazon, and other places like that. I would also think that since there are probably others like Keith that just don’t like them, you may be able to find a perfectly good used one for a fraction of the original cost.

As an alternative, Wacom offers the “Bamboo” line of tablets which is a great low-cost starting point if you are interested in obtaining a pen and tablet and want to start with a brand new one. I was never sure how well these would work, but last week I was fortunate to pick one up at an online auction in our area which benefited the cats that live at the fishing wharf nearby. I picked it up for a mere $15 (probably because no one really knew how to use it or what it was) and I was thrilled to have something to use as a backup or to take with to use with the laptop.

As you can see from the picture above, it looks pretty similar to my Intous3 tablet. Of course there are fewer features, but since I don’t use many of the features offered anyway, I think it is certainly sufficient for someone who is just getting their feet wet regarding tablets. Besides – the Bamboo tablets are offered for a starting price of somewhere around $80, which makes it much less of a risk for those who are not sure if they like it. Another thing is that they all come with mice (as did my Intuos) so that you can make the transition gradually. I do want to make a note though that I still use a Logitech cordless mouse along with my tablet because the Wacom mouse needs to be used only on the surface of the tablet in order for it to track. I find that rather restricting and I like to have a regular mouse handy because I have a tendency to walk away from my computer carrying my pen. :) The idea is good though.

Again, it is all something that is a personal preference. After I hooked up my Bamboo tablet yesterday and played with it a little, I could feel the difference just a bit. My Intous3 has a much better level of sensitivity and I am able to fine tune it very precisely to how I like my pen to “feel” and track. But the Bamboo is not very far behind, and I do feel that for the money, it is a pretty good deal. In looking on the Wacom site, there are three different Bamboo tablets available now that are all under $100. There is a fourth that is $200, and I am sure that has the most features, but if you don’t want to take a risk and really aren’t sure that a pen is what you want, you may be better off with the lower cost choices. The Bamboo “Splash” tablet that I have is no longer listed on the site, and I expect that they don’t make them new anymore, but for $15 I didn’t feel I could go wrong.

I will be spending the rest of the day today finishing up drawing. Perhaps then I will have something nice to show you all. So far it is going well and I have pretty much mapped out what I wanted to do, so I am well on my way.

I wish you all a wonderful Monday and a great week ahead.

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"



14 comments so far

View jjw5858's profile

jjw5858

1101 posts in 1108 days


#1 posted 352 days ago

I sure know these tools, I have the same Wacom tablet…lol. Interesting to know you use illustrator. Do you have the Adobe creative suite?

I just bought a new imac, I am really pleased with it even though Apple is taking every route to have something more for the consumer to purchase. I remember asking one of the Apple store clerks, “Where does the disc go?” The kid replies “Oh…. there is no disc drive they are not really using them anymore everything now is a memory stick. But…..lol….you can purchase an external one for $79.99. You gotta love it. Yes, even programs like Adobe illustrator are made to purchase at the Apple online store….and you download them onto your computer without any disc software.

I feel for $400-$1000 dollars of expensive software that I want to own the discs as well as add my music, but call me crazy so I bought the external disc drive. I am being so 2012…lol.

Sure the drawings will be great, take care!

Joe

-- "Make something you love tomorrow...and do it slowly" JLB

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7211 posts in 1426 days


#2 posted 352 days ago

Morning, Joe!
I have noticed that Apple has a way of doing that! I used to have both a Mac and a PC and I wound up sticking with the PC. Many more options I think. (Although the Macs do look really cool!)

I use CS5 from Adobe. Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop and Acrobat Pro. That and MS Word for the bulk of the text. My editor likes the text in Word, as it is better for them than InDesign but for the patterns I use ID all the way. Software can break the bank, for sure. I don’t have to have the latest and greatest and found that catching up every several years is good enough for me. :)

Enjoy your new computer! :D Sheila

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

View Roger's profile

Roger

13076 posts in 1310 days


#3 posted 352 days ago

Gr8 information Sheila. Thnx for the knowledge

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7211 posts in 1426 days


#4 posted 352 days ago

Thanks, Roger! :)

Sheila

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

View Celticscroller's profile

Celticscroller

666 posts in 579 days


#5 posted 352 days ago

Good Morning Sheila. A friend lend me his Watcom tablet a while back to try – but darn, I had to give it back! I liked it and it’s on my list to buy sometime. Great information on the Watcoms – thanks.
It’s going to be a beautiful week here – just about summer weather!
Enjoy your day.

-- Anna http://richmondcarvers.com/

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7211 posts in 1426 days


#6 posted 352 days ago

Hi, Anna:
Yes, they are pretty convenient to have, and once you get used to them, it is hard to go back to the regular mouse. I wanted to let people know that the Bamboo is nearly as nice as the higher end tablets. I really think if I never got the Intuos tablets, I would do fine with the Bamboo series. They are certainly good for the kind of drawing that I do. I hope people found this information useful.

We are having beautiful weather here. I couldn’t ask for better. It is hard to stay here in the house and draw when it is so nice outside. But I am behaving and I should be done with this drawing in a couple of hours. I then may get out and do some errands. :)

Have a great day too!

Sheila

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4038 posts in 1362 days


#7 posted 352 days ago

Sheila I have two Trust tablets but never had much success with them
I bought the small 6×4 and was given an A4 one. It may be me, the tablet
I have to admit to be slow with new technology
Has a nice visit fae a friend today and as it is a day off for Shirley we had
some freshly maid sultana scones and tea. Was going to be a quick visit and
ended up with 8 hours passing, she is just back from Sikkim where she had her
70th birthday

Have a wonderful evening, that cross Keith made recently is amazing very fine flowing
lines almost like fine engravings. Say hi to him
Jamie

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View scrollsaw's profile

scrollsaw

13013 posts in 2360 days


#8 posted 352 days ago

Hi Sheila I have a question I design my own patterns from pic that I take I use the Adobe 7.0. My question is would this pen work on my computor?I like the mouse but if the pen works better I would use it. Thanks.

-- Todd

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7211 posts in 1426 days


#9 posted 352 days ago

Hi, Todd:

It isn’t the program that defines if the pen will work or not, it would depend on your computer and operating system Todd. If you have an operating system that is current, I would think the pen would work with it. You would need to check on the Wacom software site to be sure.

Jamie – it sounds like you had a great day! I gave Keith your message and he appreciates it very much. Scones sound really yummy! :) I haven’t made them in a while. You have a lovely evening!

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

View scrollsaw's profile

scrollsaw

13013 posts in 2360 days


#10 posted 352 days ago

Thank you Sheila

-- Todd

View Jay Wells's profile

Jay Wells

58 posts in 398 days


#11 posted 352 days ago

Thanks for the info. Very helpful.

PS..I’ll give ya $20 for the Bamboo :)

-- Find your limitations, and ignore them!

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7211 posts in 1426 days


#12 posted 351 days ago

With the cost of shipping, you are better off buying a new one! ;) Besides – I like having a backup, just in case. :)

Sheila

(ps – I know you were just ‘funning!’)

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

View Jay Wells's profile

Jay Wells

58 posts in 398 days


#13 posted 351 days ago

Yeah, was only kidding..
Found a new one on Amazon for $62.00 should have it in a few days. Thanks again for all you do.

-- Find your limitations, and ignore them!

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7211 posts in 1426 days


#14 posted 351 days ago

OOhhhh! That’s FUN! Be sure to keep me posted how you like it! I would love to know what you think of it. :)

Sheila

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

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