Drawn and painted on a phablet, using a phabulously pressure sensitive new soft nib in a Wacom Bamboo Feel stylus.
I’ve taken to drawing wood pigeons as they waddle up and down outside my window. The only paper to hand is usually only memo pad scraps. Thus the screen of my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phablet didn’t seem so small when I came to doodle a pigeon in my best-known painting app, Sketchbook Pro. I do have a perfectly good Galaxy Note 8 with more screen space, but having got going on the smaller device I forgot it.
Maybe it’s the high resolution and pinch-zooming to home in on detail that makes the Note 3 display seem larger than it is. Then of course you can snap back to screen size to assess the overall effect without having to dash to the opposite side of the room to view it from afar.
But I digress. What I really wanted to enthuse about was the new nib I was using for the first time in the best tablet stylus I’ve ever tried, the Wacom Bamboo Feel.
The Bamboo Feel stylus nib comes in two varieties, Soft and Firm. I have yet to try the Firm, but the soft is a joy to use.
I’ve tried many a touch tablet stylus, for both iPad and Android tablets. The Bamboo Feel is so far the best tablet stylus I’ve tried, far the fastest and most pressure sensitive. With a soft nib it’s even better. The point remains fine and, once set up properly, pin point accurate. Ideal for drawing – and of course writing, which can be pretty dire with a finger.
In the past I’ve given a private snort when told this device or that is the best tablet stylus because it can respond to up to 2048 levels of pressure, varying the width, transparency or both of the line it’s drawing. Surely I’m not the only one who has struggled to manage even ten variations of width on a touch screen tablet. More often it’s only two.
The Bamboo Feel stylus with soft nib does give a really variable line. Let’s hope it’s soon compatible with more than the current limited number of screens.
The computer rodent was never meant for the artistic life. Drawing with this early digital doodle tool was a bit like drawing a cobweb with a brick.
If you really want to draw and paint on your desktop computer and this is something new for you, you need to get a graphics tablet. The star brand Wacom produce a range of tablets from simple for the occasional office doodle to the fully equipped Cintiq line. The Cintiq tablets have programable buttons and multiple styli for fine digital art.
Using a stylus with a more basic Wacom tablet is drawing on a tablet – but only at one remove. You don’t draw directly on your monitor. The desktop tablet sits at the side of your computer or laptop. At first writing, painting and drawing on a tablet like this feels odd, but it’s much the same kind of displacement you get with a mouse. You soon get used to it.
A desktop graphics tablet remains tethered to your computer even if connected wirelessly, since it has no screen of its own. You can however pick it up to draw on.
What’s the advantage of painting on a hand held tablet?
It’s hand held!
Drawing on a tablet directly is like drawing on a hand held sketch pad. Freedom at last!
Wow! The Bamboo Feel is even better than the S-Pen!!
Now the bad news – for iPad users. You can only use the Bamboo Feel stylus on the Android Galaxy Note series.
The Galaxy Notes are the phones and tablets that come with the pressure sensitive S Pen stylus. I believe the Notes have an extra layer on the touch screen that allows pressure sensitivity.
Why get an extra stylus when you already have the S Pen?
Well, the Feel is more the size of an ordinary ballpoint pen than the rather fiddly S Pen. It’s easier to tap the screen with the button pressed for an instant screen grab.
The S Pen is sometimes reluctant to be prised out of its housing on the side of the machine.
The Feel is as light as a feather and has a cap to protect its nib.
The Bamboo Feel stylus is also just that little bit more pressure sensitive than the S Pen.
For the sampler above I tried four entry methods in Sketchbook on my Galaxy Note 2. These were: finger, the S Pen that came with the Note, a Bamboo Duo stylus, and lastly the Bamboo Feel. (The Bamboo Duo, also made by Wacom, is the marshmallow-on-a-stick type stylus you use on most phone and tablet touchscreens. It’s a little less of a blunt instrument than most, as the tip is slightly smaller.)
The Bamboo Feel is certainly the best stylus I’ve used on any mobile tablet or phone.