Looky At My New Graphics Setup

Yes, I now have – for me – a dream setup. An actual display graphics tablet! I’ve never had one of these before. Yeah, I looked at them a while back, because I could never get the hang of a non-display graphics tablet; I just couldn’t get the hand-eye coordination going when I couldn’t look at the pen when I was drawing with it. Didn’t seem any better than a mouse. But when I looked at the graphics display tablets, well, I couldn’t justify laying down a couple of grand.

Huion Kamvas 16 on left, laptop on right

But I have one now! It’s a Huion Kamvas I6, and I found out about its existance because of a video by Draw With Jazza on Youtube. I like Jazza, and not just because he’s an Aussie like me. He’s silly and fun and sometimes wise, and he’s game to try all sorts of arty/crafty challenges. Anyway, the video I saw, he was putting the tablet through its paces – IIRC, he was trying to draw with both his left and his right hand – and he also pointed out there was a pre-release discount going on, and gave us an additional discount code to use.

Well, I hummed and hawed, and decided it was an opportunity not to be missed. And I could justify it now, since I have started Fluid Visions Art (http://fluid-visions.com) where I sell my art, which is a combination of fluid painting and digital graphics. I use a fabulous printing service, Cottontail Press, who do fine art printing (aka giclee printing) so that I can take my digitally embellished works and turn them into lovely physical prints.

So I bought the Huion tablet, but when it arrived, and I set it up, I found that neither of the desks I tried to use it on – with the laptop next to it, because keyboard – the desks did not have enough room, one because there was other stuff on the desk I couldn’t move, and the other because it was not wide enough.

So, what to do? Not just get a wider desk or table, but find a place to put it. I could think of one place in my lounge, but there was a large pile of boxes there, filled with odds and ends. But yesterday I bought the table – yes, a cheap-ish folding table, but nice and sturdy. Today I moved the boxes. Mind you, I didn’t move them far…

Pile of boxes of STUFF

That pile there is smaller than the original pile, because some of the boxes were empty and able to be put aside for recycling. Yes, that pile is a mess, but hey, one step at a time. And one step is better than no steps.

So, I’ve just spent a few – or several – hours playing with the tablet, working on a stained-glass style fish with a fluid art background. I think I’m getting the hang of it now. The most annoying thing is when the pen accidentally clicks something – I need to get into the habit of lifting the pen away from the surface more to avoid accidents. Not blaming the tablet, it is just the consequence of it being so sensitive. It would happen with any of them, I just have to learn how to work with it.

I did have a bit of a play with the pressure sensitivity – using the brush dynamics in Gimp. That was pretty cool. But I’m not certain how often I would use it. But maybe I’m saying that because I’ve never had the opportunity to use it before, so I’m not as aware of how useful it could be.

One thing I’ve found a little frustrating as a lefty, is that the cursor is more easily seen if the pen is tilted to the right – it’s clearly designed for right-handers. That has contributed to some of my miss-clicks for sure. I haven’t had time yet to investigate whether there is some software adjustment or calibration that can be done to solve this problem. Hopefully there is. Surely there must be other left-handed digital artists out there?

Any of you who are experienced with using display graphics tablets, have any tips for a newbie?

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