No problem, I moved it for you
I just ordered a graphics tablet to help with doing some hand drawn maps on my computer. Mostly I'll be doing battlemaps for my D&D playgroup, but my hope is that I'll enjoy it enough to start branching out into other things.
I'm a creative person with moderate ability and zero skill, by which I mean that I have some natural drawing ability but it's been a long time since I've done anything to cultivate it. My parents signed me up for art classes as a kid, but at the time I didn't have enough patience to listen to someone else teach me how to draw and give me exercises that taught me about shading, line drawing, etc. I just wanted to draw my way for the fun of it.
Now that I'm older (and maybe a tad wiser, but not much) I'd like to invest some time in practicing so that I can really do my best with the battlemaps and whatever else I draw. Can anyone recommend some good resources for building skill with a drawing tablet? I'm talking about anything from basic tablet use to very basic drawing exercises to tutorials in cartography or object drawing (swords, shields, chalices...the kinds of things that would be helpful to illustrate for a fantasy campaign.) I'd love to get to the point of drawing people well, but I think that's a ways off for right now.
Thanks in advance!
Edit: Sorry, I think this should've gone in "How Do I?" and I was looking at the wrong page. Sorry mods!
Your story sounds just like mine, lol. I've been using my trusty little Wacom Bamboo (yeah the "cheap" one) now for about 3 or 4 years. The installation software had some basic use tutorials that I followed and i watched some tuts on youtube aswell. It took me a month or two to get used to looking forward at a screen while having my hand do the drawing on the desk.
My advice for getting the closest results to hand drawn graphics on the digital medium is to play with your sensitivity settings in the tablet software itself. There is a sweet spot with those settings and your brush settings in whatever drawing software you use. Took me the longest time to first figure out that there was a sweet spot and then find it. It felt really funny for me when i started out but as i stuck with it, it felt more and more natural. In photoshop there is a check box called "Other Dynamics" if you check that and set the options in it to "Pen Pressure" then you wont have to play with the opacity and fill of the brush you're using to make your strokes lighter or darker. It will automatically be based on how hard you press just like a pencil.
I'm a big subscriber to the idea that one of the best ways to learn something is dive right in and play around with it. With a tablet, I think it applies perfectly. Good luck
Our sense of the stability of the earth is an illusion due to the shortness of our lives.
- Neil deGrasse Tyson
Slylok's right on: Just do it. And keep on doing it until you're good at it. If you want something a bit more structured, though, head over to the CGTalk forums and look for their figurative and life drawing workshop threads. Loads of great advice there.
As for becoming accustomed to the tablet itself, I did it by playing Neverwinter Nights (the first one) for a few hours. The point-and-click controls for that game trained my motor skills pretty effectively. Unfortunately, a lot of games don't seem to work very well with a tablet. I tried it with Civilization V, which I thought should have worked nicely, but I was disappointed.
Bryan Ray, visual effects artist
Thanks for the tips. I'm glad to hear that there are others out there who dove in and found it worthwhile. That idea of playing NWN sounds cool, I have a copy gathering dust around here somewhere...
The secret is to not think about what your are doing, at least for me. As soon as I think about the co-ordination between my hand and what's happening on the screen everything goes all caddywhompus. Kinda like thinking about what your tongue is doing in your mouth while you are sitting there.
Hey all, thanks for the input. I actually find that it feels pretty natural. I don't mind looking at the screen while moving my hand at all.
Now to actually get half-decent at drawing...
Hey, cool! I got a bamboo tablet recently (cheap and even on sale!) and just pulled it out again today. I have no drawing skill so the curve is steep but it's been pretty fun to play with. I'd be interested in seeing what you're producing with yours, Pineapple.
Quick tip: Put pencil to paper first. You may feel more comfortable starting this way. Get a drawing to where you're happy with it. Then scan it and "ink" it from there. May save time in the long run.