The Wacom Inkling: Christmas Can’t Come Soon Enough

Blogs were buzzing yesterday about the new Wacom Inkling, which is set to release in mid-September for $199. With 1,024 levels of pressure, it’s the perfect drawing device for anyone who loves sketching. If you’ve ever used a Wacom tablet before, you know that the majority of the time you’re applying a pen to a blank plastic surface while looking up at the screen to see what you’re drawing. This process comes with a significant adjustment period and doesn’t really feel like drawing on paper. With the Inkling, digital drawing feels like old-school drawing because it in fact is (but better!).

Another substantial difference in this tool is that the pen captures every nuance in your drawings and can store thousands of pages. Once you’re done drawing for the day, you simply connect the receiver to the computer via USB and browse your drawings, exporting the ones you like to Photoshop or Illustrator.

Drawings can be rasterized at print resolution, or better yet, you can export them as a vector illustration and rework your lines in any way you want. Plus, with vectors you are able to scale up a tiny doodle and print it onto a billboard with no loss in quality (for those of you who want to dabble in billboard design).

I am all too familiar with the fact that scanning artwork can become very tedious. With the Wacom Inkling, illustrators and designers have the ability to create layers by simply tapping a button. No joke, all you have to do is tap a button and you can start a new layer right there in your sketchbook. Pretty ridiculous. This is Jetsons type stuff that I wouldn’t dream of being able to do in my lifetime.

It’s not often I go crazy over gadgets, but I am definitely marking this one down on my Christmas list once the holiday season rolls around. Imagine how much faster working on a graphic novel would be when you could load storyboard sketches onto the computer with a few clicks of a button. Mmmm, a girl can dream…

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Currently Reading: French Milk

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French Milk is an autobiographical graphic novel by Lucy Knisley, who travelled to Paris with her mother for their 22nd and 50th birthdays. For more than a month, the humorous memoir follows Lucy around as her and her mother explore France—taking photographs, eating pastries and drinking French Milk. The story blends real life photos by Lucy with her drawn depictions of their days together, as a travel diary of sorts. For those of you who might not have ever read graphic novels before, I would definitely recommend browsing Amazon or Half.com (where books are often sold for less than ten cents) for a starter book. Persepolis, Maus and Epileptic are just some of my favorites, but if you’re less of a bookworm and more into movies, there are often wonderful film adaptations of graphic novels released as well, such as Persepolis or Ghost World.

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Lucy’s portrayal of life as an art student visiting back home with her quirky parents reminded me of the graphic memoir I started inklings of in college (see a snippet below). Once wedding photography season passes, I’d like to begin concentrating on starting the graphic memoir back up. For these frames below, I used home videos as a reference to capture my dad’s dialogue word-for-word (yes, he lovingly called me “little shit” as a pet name, we’re special like that), so I think I may have some home video-watching in my future.

Our family is probably a bit of a rare case, because we have almost every occasion from my youth on video. Ballet recitals, birthdays, holidays, sledding adventures, talent shows—they’re all captured on camera, so when referencing moments from my child and adult life, I have a lot of materials and images to pull from. My brother, who is 9 years older than me, also has loads of blackmail-worthy home videos including: my dad stalking him and his date on prom night, his questionable mustache/hair phases (I’m guilty of a mustache and pseudo-mullet as well, no worries big brother), modeling in an 80s fashion show with me at the mall…the list goes on and on.

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to getting back into graphic novel gear and re-exploring some of the funnier, slightly disturbing moments from my youth and beyond. French Milk was just the kick in the arse I needed to get inspired to mesh family anecdotes with real-life photos and illustrations.

What are some of your favorite graphic novels? I think Blankets by Craig Thompson is next on my list!