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The latest art tips and techniques, reviews and interviews from my studio. Updated here and at World Famous Comics!
Comics 101 for 11/14/2002
Using a WACOM Pad and a Stylus Pen
I do indeed use a WACOM pad and a stylus for coloring my inks or painting over my pencils digitally with my Macintosh. It's so much easier and more natural to use the stylus than a mouse since the drawing pen is pressure sensitive on the WACOM pad, allowing for greater variety of opacity and translucence more efficiently when building up your layers of color or rendering your digital paint in either Photshop or Painter. Though, I do tend to keep the mouse handy while in Photoshop to implement more of the mechanical techniques like making selections or using some of the path operations or cycling through my layers pallete. So I've learned to be abit ambidextrous when coloring in Photoshop when I need to be.
I find the stylus and the WACOM pad were truly meant for the Painter program when rendering since the tools are so intuitive and work even more smoothly with more of that program's tools and palletes. If you're serious about doing color work digitally and have any semi-recent version of Photoshop or Painter, then I highly recommend investing in the WACOM pad and stylus pen for your art career. You can find them relatively inexpensive for a hundred dollars or less.
There are larger 9" x 12" pads available for around $300 or maybe less but I find they can be a bit cumbersome and unnecessary for the value. Size really doesn't matter in this case. The larger pad is possibly useful if you want to trace your pencil drawings or your own photographs by slipping them under the clear acetate like sheet on the front of the pad since there's more pad area to work with than on the smaller ones. Though that's a feature of the pad I never really use since I can create tracing paper in Painter over a sketch or photo or I just paint directly on my inks or pencils that I've usually scanned in anyway. So if you're on a tight budget, like most of us self-employed, freelance artists usually are, then I reccomend going for the slightly smaller, less expensive model.
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