Love Birds. A Bit of Phablet Painting with the Best Tablet Stylus.

A pattern of pigeons
A pattern of pigeons on Galaxy Note 3

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.

Purple owl butcher with string of sausages

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.

Galaxy Note Drawing Pad

S Note

the Samsung Galaxy Note drawing pad

S Note is really just a digital memo pad. Well, except that it seems to do everything except polish the kitchen sink. Among its many talents, this app can act as a simple colouring book for scribblers, doodlers and jotters. 

I have grown quite addicted to S Note in its manifestation as a simple Galaaxy Note drawing pad. S Note springs up ready for you to scribble something down whenever you take the S Pen out of its socket. Saves no end of PostIt notes.

What is an S Pen? An S Pen stylus comes as a fixture in every version of the Samsung Galaxy Note series of tablets, phablets and phones. The Note series have a special layer on the touch screen similar to those on Wacom desktop tablets for digital artists. This allows the screen to respond to the pressure sensitive S Pen as well as to a finger. You can vary the width and/or transparency of your stroke according to how hard you press on the stylus.

I have had Samsung’s Note devices since the start, and am currently exploring a new Galaxy Note 3.  I have to say it takes a bit of exploring! Samsung say proudly that they have simplified the S Note app, but I’m glad they told me. I’d never have known.

Many of the many S Note facilities I may never use. Others are fascinating. Draw a square anywhere on the screen, and hey presto, up in the frame pops your choice of clock, calculator, address boook, video player or other handy item. Magic!

This array of bloatware tools and possibilities can be overwhelming. Best thing to do is take it easy. Discover what’s really useful gradually, and ignore the rest.

Since S Note offers colouring book tools, I had a go a few weeks ago at scribbling down an elephant with the S Pen on my Galaxy Note drawing pad.

Elephant doodle
Galaxy Note 2 – S Pen memo

Using the S Pen, I found I could rest my hand on the screen as I drew without its making a mark or causing the image to slither around. Another S Pen advantage to add to pressure sensitivity.

Continue reading Galaxy Note Drawing Pad

Drawing on a Tablet


on a desktop computer?

Not very easily – if you try to use a mouse!

Animated computer mouse twitching whiskers

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!

Continue reading Drawing on a Tablet