Pen to Screen Tools

I've been recently playing with creating my own avatar after I found a great book that explains in very simple terms how to draw cartoon characters. Anyway my son talked about using a Bamboo pad which is around $100 but I was wondering if anyone had other ideas? I would love to use something to create my own fonts, characters, and avatars that allows me to easily transfer what I draw to the LCD screen. Yes I know I can scan them but I'm looking for an actual drawing pad that won't break the bank.  

10 Replies
David Steffek

I used a Wacom tablet in a college graphic design course I took a number of years ago. It was an exceptional tool.

Bamboo is one of the product lines offered by Wacom. Depending on how much you want to spend, you can get bigger pads with more features. They start at around 80 USD and go up into the hundreds.

David Lindenberg

James,

If you have an iPad, there is a great app called iDraw - $8.99.  I bought a Bamboo Stylus (~$30 on Amazon) and use that as my 'pen.'  With iDraw you can save your image in multiple formats (JPG, PNG, etc) and also send to your email or DropBox.  I'm actually working on a Presenter module right now and am using some home-grown graphics.  Works great!

If that is not an option, I concur with David about the Wacom tablets.  I have not personally used one, but a co-worker had one and I saw the fruits of his labor.  They are pretty cool.

Regards,

David

Simon Perkins

I've used the Bamboo on and off for a couple of years.  IME it's generally a lot smoother on a Mac than PC, i.e. the process of drawing AND the live output is much cleaner on the former.  Try using it with PPT on a PC and you'll see just how 'bad' it can be!   I don't have access to my PC right now but I've one particular piece of s/w (about £30-40 IIRC) that really does almost rival its Mac counterparts.  If you CAN draw they you really should check it out.  Using a pen is great for filling placeholders with illustrative images/diagrams/etc.

Steve Flowers

I have one of the Bamboo pads and I think it's great. Have used it on the Mac or PC. Works well on both for me, though I don't use it to draw in PPT. I have the Bamboo capture. I love the size, I carry it and my laptop around in my bag. One of the cool things about the more expensive versions of the Bamboo is that it also doubles as a multitouch surface. Not sure if the $79 version offers this feature. These also have a wireless attachment option, which can be convenient in some situations.

If you happen to be on a Macbook there's a great application called Inklet that turns your trackpad and one of those cheap stylus that you can use on iPads into a pressure sensitive tablet. Works remarkably well and has a cool quick scaling feature that enables you to target one part of the screen with the trackpad surface. Neat stuff and surprisingly comfortable.

Tom Kuhlmann

Another alternative is to buy an older tablet PC. You can get good ones on ebay for a decent price and the older ones all used Wacom digitizer tech.  I regularly use my tablet PC to draw onto PPT slides and other apps.  I find it a lot easier to use than my Wacom tablet.

I have a Toshiba R15 that I bought because it has a big screen. I used to run Photoshop and Flash on it so it works. Here's a good Toshiba on ebay for about $150. I heard that the older tablets run a lot faster on Windows 8.

The iPad's drawing capabilities are not even close to what you get with the tabletPCs. You may want to wait to see the Windows 8 systems because you'll get touch and drawing capabilities.

I did these screenrs with the tablet PC a while back. https://player.vimeo.com/video/204930966 and https://player.vimeo.com/video/204930977...love the last letters of the link