Catch and Release


Posted by Dan on 14 January

The new Tuesday/Thursday update schedule continues in full force! It’s always a sad day when loved ones leave the nest. You do what you can for them while they’re under your roof, but there comes a time when it’s mutually beneficial for them to go out into the wide world on their own. Of course, if that time clashes with a pre-existing diary commitment, then they can just get the bus or something right?*

Let’s talk about technical art stuff now! Christmas was extra exciting this year, as my lovely wife – aware that future Christmasses may revolve entirely around our impending infant – splashed out and got me a Microsoft Surface Pro. It’s Microsoft’s take on a tablet, comes with a pen stylus and supports full pressure sensitivity – so whereas drawing with most styluses would produce a solid line or nothing at all, this one acts more like a real pen. I’d first heard about it from Mike Krahulik at Penny Arcade, which was enough of a recommendation to merit looking into it further.

The tablet also runs a full version of Windows 8, which means that, rather than being limited to the app store, you can install proper illustration software on it. I’ve drawn the last few strips on it and am really impressed. Previously I’ve been uing a Wacom tablet, which is also very useful, but being able to draw directly onto the screen makes a big difference.

If you’re into this kind of thing, you may be aware how crazy expensive some of the separate touchscreen pen displays are – Wacom’s Cintiq is the mainstay of the industry, but costs upwards of £1,000 which is pretty darn inaccessible for a monitor you can draw on. I did however see some very positive reviews last year for the new Monoprice 19″ display, which costs a comparitively surprising $390 plus shipping. Might be worth a try!

*The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has requested that I make it clear that narwhals are incapable of completing more than a few hesitant flops and rolls on dry ground, let alone a 90 mile wilderness trek without food or water. If you have a narwhal you are planning to release back into the wild, the approved methods include rolling it down a reasonably steep hill into a large body of water, or flushing it down the toilet.

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