The Tools for the Job: Tablet

My art is hardly groundbreaking, but I wanted to tell you how I got the tablet to draw it with. I use all sorts of tools, all of them digital. I had considered making the chapter covers by hand on comic stock, but lack of time as well as a conscious decision not to make chapter covers killed that. I chose not to make chapter covers ’cause I am always disappointing when I go to other webcomics, and the whole update is wasted on a single, small image and a title. I always think “Really you did not provide any content today”. I might still dabble in traditional mediums later, but we’ll see. 🙂 I don’t have enough room in my home to have a permanent art corner. I do have some inking pens but not a whole lot of space to pull out massive comic stock on.

Being poor has always impacted my art, as I’m sure many other artists have felt. While all you need is just a napkin and a pen, having the right tools can really open the doors to experimentation and advancement. I’m not blaming my crappy art on being poor, don’t misunderstand. 🙂 But even if you use a napkin and a pen, you still need a scanner to get that into the computer for the internet to see! That’s what I’m getting at. Ok, this ramble’s done, let’s carry on.

I use a tablet now, a Wacom Intous3 for drawing. When I got it it was cutting edge, and there’s no way in hell I would have been able to afford it. Even these days there’s no way I can afford a new tablet. How did I get it? Squawking like an idiot! Let me explain:

In 2008 I worked at a computer animation company that shall remain nameless. It wasn’t a bad place to work, and I loved the team I was with. They had a colorful Karaoke party at one point. I love singing, but have intense fear of performing in front of crowds, especially in front of the people I work with every day! I attended gladly, thinking I’ll shrink to the side and watch and enjoy. But then they displayed a table full of party prizes that will be drawn in a raffle at the end. In the center of the table sat a brand-new-in-box-straight-from-the-rep-at-Wacom Intous3, which was the latest model at the time. There was also an iPod. I had an ancient iPod, but my husband did not. If I won, I could have gotten the iPod for my husband, or take the new one and give him my old one. It wouldn’t be a gift just for me.

Karaoke time rolls up and no one wants to go up. These are your co-workers and you don’t want to lose whatever respect you have. The party was in the middle of the day, so there wasn’t even alcohol to loosen up people’s inhibitions (I don’t drink, but that’s a topic for another blog). So, with the siren’s call of the prize table and my sense of ‘I’m scared of it therefore I must do it to show it who’s boss’ that makes me repeatedly do these things throughout my life, I step up first. I had never been to Karaoke before and had no idea how it worked. The sound of my own shrill voice blaring through those speakers terrified me. I chose ‘Fly me to the Moon’. Can’t go wrong with Baby-Blue Frankie, right? Wrong. squwak

I was so nervous my throat closed up entirely. Half way through the song, having missed beats and being so far from the notes they have to send me letters saying how much they miss being sung right, I give up and start giving a performance. With my hands shaking violently and my knees knocking, I belt out the last verse at the top of my lungs, throwing respect to the wind. I get a round of applause and retreat to the back of the room to allow 10-15 minutes for the shaking to subside and allow others to walk the bold path I paved.

When raffle time arrives we are told that it will be first-come first-serve for the prizes. I’m the type of person who never wins. Before this I can say with confidence that I had never won a thing in my life that was pure luck. Everything was always won through tenacity and work.

So when I was called first I was stunned. It took a couple of seconds for me to look at my raffle ticket and take in that this was my number. It was like winning the lottery. My love has always been art, and that Wacom tablet called me and spoke to me with each step as I approached the table. The iPod said; “Picking me will be the altruistic choice! I’m like two gifts because then you get to make your husband happy.”

The Wacom tablet countered with a “Yeah, and even your husband gets upset when you don’t think about yourself and buy him things with your birthday present money!”

The iPod sulked and tried for my gizmo loving side; “I have a color screen! I’m the newest model! You’ll be able to replace the first generation iPod you got. Do you remember who you got it from? Your husband!”

The Wacom tablet struck a model-like pose. It wasn’t what it said, but what it promised. It promised days spent with a cup of tea, toiling away at new projects. Experimentation, exploration, dedication. It promised not to disappoint.

I took. I gave away all my other raffle tickets immediately. I could have possibly won again, but I felt it would have been wrong of me to greedily wish for more. It killed me the whole way home that I chose to be selfish. My husband when he heard my guilt-wracked confession even as I clutched my Wacom box to my chest. I think he was more surprised and amused than anything. He told me I was being silly! He was so happy for me that I finally got a piece for my art that I had dreamed of for so long but could never get.

It’s been five years now and it’s still working. I’m literally tearing through the screen protector I bought, but I have a spare, so that’s good. Maybe the pen will go, maybe the panel will go. It take the most care of it as much as I humanly can.

I thought it was a cool story, how I got it. I’m proud of myself for being brave and going up first. I’m proud of myself for getting it for me and I’m really glad it still works. I honestly don’t know what I will do about Seraphim and all my art if and when it dies on me…

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