HOW DO YOU DOODLE
on a desktop computer?
Not very easily - if you try to use a mouse!
The computer rodent was never meant for the artistic life. Drawing with this early digital drawing tool was a bit like drawing a cobweb with a brick.
If you really want to draw and paint on your desktop computer, you need one of the desktop (or laptop) drawing tablets. The best are made by Wacom. The Wacom range include tablets from simple for the occasional office doodle to the fully equipped Cintiq line. The Cintique tablets have programable buttons and multiple styli for fine digital art.
Wielding a stylus with one of the basic Wacom drawing tablets, you do not draw directly on your monitor. That you do with an iPad or other hand held tablet. The desktop tablet sits at the side of your computer or laptop. At first drawing and painting like this feels odd, but you soon get used to this slightly displaced kind of drawing, just as it starts to feel natural to use a mouse.
This kind of graphics tablet remains anchored to your computer, though you can pick it up to draw on. I still use mine on my knee.
What's the advantage of painting on a hand held tablet?
It's hand held!
Drawing, painting or writing directly on one of the basic iPad or Android drawing tablets is like drawing on a hand held note pad. Freedom at last!
You sacrifice the use of powerful desktop applications like Corel Painter or Photoshop, but mobile drawing and painting apps become more sophisticated by the day. There are many more for iPads and even iPhones than for Android tablets, but development continues at an almost alarming pace.
Note added in August 2014. You can now get a mobile version of Corel Painter for Android, Painter Mobile. Photoshop Touch is available for both iPads and Android tablets. A new set of varied brushes in Photoshop Touch turns this mobile photo editor into an artist's canvas too.
Hand held tablets do have a few disadvantages in comparison with desktop tablets. Most styli - sorry to be rude but this incudes your finger - have a blunt squashy tip. You can in fact make quite a fine line, but you might miss the sensation of precision.
Another oft lamented lack is pressure sensitivity. Press on a Wacom desktop tablet stylus and you get a broader, heavier line, as you would with a brush. Some desktop tools and settings give variations in transparency too.
The S Pen stylus for my Samsung Galaxy Note phablet does have a small amount of pressure sensitivity, as well as a delightfully hard, fine pen-like nib. However, even though it's made by Wacom, the amount of variation you actually get is limited. The S Pen and the even better Bamboo Feel are alas only usable on the Samsung Galaxy Note devices.
Note. By the time you read this page, it may have become ridiculously outdated. Things move so fast in this computer graphics world. I have now moved my comments on mobile painting apps and the like to my blog, 'Seeing Things'. There they will be dated, thus causing me less embarrassment if read past their sell-by date.