mac modbook 06

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This thing is perfect for grab and go sketching. On a Saturday morning if I decided to run out to Barnes and Noble for coffee and some quick on paper sketching, I'd need to grab my sketch book, some tools: either pens, pencils, brushes, or, to be ready for anything, a complete bag of tools. I'd be concerned about the space my set up would take as well as the mess the dust, ink or water might make. With the modbook, I grabbed one article; and to be fair, it needed to be charged, but there was no other rooting around and packing. Once I sat to sketch, I was compact and mobile. If I wanted to change my point of view I could do so easily, without packing up pencils, pens, inks, or what ever. Could students use it to sketch plants in the field? or fossils on location? or the position and location of artifacts at an archaeology dig? All without carrying and fretting over the complete drawing set.

Bookstore line up. In my last modbook post I mentioned needing more rapid, plein aire practice. This session was just that; practice. I hit quite a few clunkers, but I'm moving forward. My pencil skills in this type of work are greatly lacking, so I don't think any of the clunkers were caused by the instrument. This first sketch took just a couple of minutes- visual notes, actually. I'm okay with it and think that this much information could be built into something useful. It was easy, and my impact on my surroundings was minimal.

Coffee patron.I noticed another old guy who seemed to be sketching, and thought it would be interesting to spend a little bit more time on a drawing of him. Again, I'm happy with the modbook's performance. I've noticed that I have to use more pressure than I should to start a stroke, and faint, soft strokes aren't getting picked up. There are settings for "Tip softness" in the tablet control panel that I thought I'd set correctly. I need to see what I'm doing wrong. The modbook only (only?) has 500 or so levels of pressure whereas my regular desktop tool has 1000. Maybe the pressure setting is a result of that difference? Not a big deal- just something to learn about and adapt to if necessary.

Oddly, one benefit of this rig that I haven't really taken a big advantage of is the varied capabilities of Photoshop. As I'm drawing, there's a purist of some sort in me that says I have to treat these tools like their analog equivalents. That means no opacity controls, no filling, no pasting, nothing that I couldn't do with paper. What an idiot I am. I guess the equivalent for others might be picking up and repositioning the pen at document edges as if it was a mouse. Even though I want to be cavalier and insist that my experience with wacom tablets makes me immune to vestigial input behaviors- I'm not. I need practice and pushing as much as anyone. Using a font on the sign was a complete afterthought. It didn't even occur to me when I sketched at the TLT Talk.

Incidentally, I mentioned making sure I had a full battery. My other experiments with a Titanium and external Wacom tablet would end after ten to fifteen minutes when I ran out of juice. After this session, I was still at 58% power, and I haven't had any issues with insufficient power.

Penn State
April 18, Symposium 2009; reimagine.
New content. Symposium 2008.Digital Commons at Penn State. Improve the workplace; hire for variety.

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