Currently browsing Posts Published August 2012

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Samsung Scribbles

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Note: Somehow this turned into a lazily-written tech review, so feel free to eject now. Bottom line: tried out a new toy, and liked the drawing-related features, but not much else.

As we all know, I’ve been fully brainwashed by Apple, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give kudos when a devoted copycat like Samsung manages to one-up them on something.

First, the bad: Compared to the iPad, the Galaxy Note 10.1 is clunky and unintuitive. It has some physical buttons, but they’re flush with the bezel, and not particularly easy to press, feel, or see. And, as a total newbie to any sort of Android OS, I found the interface fairly inscrutable. Hey, I’m not a dumb guy; after a while I was able to commit most of the vague-looking UI elements to memory, along with at least 3 of the 15 different ways to find the icons for the apps I wanted to open. But there’s no good reason for the inconsistent clutter, aside from allowing companies to prove in court that they’re not copying Apple. I’m sure Android’s more hackable nature means its cred with nerds is well-deserved, but I can’t see how anyone would find the GUI up to par.

Anyway, if you’re still reading, the reason I’m even bringing this up is because the Note comes with a pressure-sensitive stylus. Hey, I just bought a pressure-sensitive stylus for my iPad, and it works, but not like this. In Samsung’s built-in Notes app (which is actually a rudimentary painting program), it works extremely well. Like a Wacom, the tablet detects when you’re hovering over it and displays a cursor. At the same time, conductive touch is disabled when the pen is in range, so you can happily rest your palm on the screen while sketching. It feels exactly like a Cintiq.

The Cintiq’s biggest advantage lies in the fact that it’s used in conjunction with a full-fledged computer, meaning there’s a wide array of powerful software that can be used with it. On the Note, like the iPad, the options are somewhat limited at the moment.

It really is a pleasure to draw on, but it’s difficult to justify a $500 purchase for something that has only one feature I like. I would kill to have a $100 product that was only for sketching, and saved each “page” of your sketchbook to an SD card. No app store, no wifi, no phone, no camera; just an awesome pressure-sensitive stylus and a nice screen. Unfortunately, there’s not much incentive for big companies to make niche products like that.

Which is why I fear for the Note’s existence. Oh sure, Samsung will keep making tablets, but the whole stylus thing is only useful for wannabe artists like me, and geriatrics who remember how to write without a keyboard.

M86? Bingo!

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

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Boy am I beat. The only thing I drew today was yet another sketch of people waiting for the bus. And I obviously had perspective on my mind as well (but no grid).

Project Project

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

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Matt Kohr’s perspective tutorial at CtrlPaint.com (available for $10 in his store) came along at the right time. As I continue to ponder a re-imagined comic strip, I know I want to make my environments less flat and more cinematic, and that’s all about drawing in perspective.

What makes this tutorial stand out is that it focuses on sketching, rather than careful measuring and 100% accuracy. Kohr demonstrates how to quickly create a perspective grid (and even includes some simple but ingenious Photoshop templates), and then use that grid to draw simple shapes and objects in perspective. Following that, he shows you how to add additional elements in perspective using projection. For instance, the crude figures in my scene here are the same height. I drew the guy on the right first, then drew lines in perspective to the outer edge of the sidewalk, then followed the grid to the foreground of the drawing.

If I wanted to put a 3rd dude between them, in roughly the center of the sidewalk, I could do another projection like the one seen in red, then make sure his height matched the height of the plane.

Anyway, Kohr explains it a lot better than I can, but the upshot is that it’s a quick and simple method to achieve believable perspective. For the level of cartooning I’m envisioning, I can use this method to draw some key elements, then freehand/eyeball the rest. I’ll probably buy his follow-up tutorial at some point to see what his approach is.

I Baloo It

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

iPad drawing of the inimitable Phil Harris. I started out using my usual painting technique, but was having trouble with the likeness, so I said “screw it” and started having fun with virtual charcoal and virtual ink.

Live Long? Check. Prosper? Check.

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

It was definitely cool to meet Kelsey Grammer yesterday, but I much rather would have liked to be with this youthful fella as he visited another of his boyhood homes, this time in Shively, CA.

Frasier Has Entered the Building

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

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My psychiatrist stopped by work today. Thought I’d turn it into a sketch.

Zen and the Art of Me

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

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I sketched my latest barely recognizable caricature while catching up on some late night TV.

Wascally Wall Art

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

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This is just on paper, but about 20 years ago I painted this exact same Bugs Bunny pose on my bedroom wall.

Figures I’m Still Hanging Out With Models

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

My mom loves these posts! (Sorry mom.) A’feared of getting rusty, I found a sketch group that meets twice a month. There’s no instructor, so it doesn’t quite provide the same level of feedback as my usual class, but it doesn’t hurt to take the training wheels off once in a while.