I’ve always been interested in drawing and painting from being very young. However, I’m not great at it and never really took it seriously. Still, I’ve dabbled over the years, even purchasing a digital drawing tablet some years ago, but could never really get the hang of it. It’s hard!
Lately, partly because of my interest in creating KDP content, I’ve been very drawn (no pun intended) to creating my own illustrations from scratch. I purchased a decent kit with pencils, pad etc., and trawled YouTube for tutorial videos. I even purchased some cartoon drawing books by Christopher Hart after I stumbled across his excellent YouTube channel.
However, my mind kept wandering back towards digital illustration, but looking at my drawing tablet gave me the frights! Then, after a few Google searches, I discovered the delights of drawing tablets with screens, so you can draw right on them and see what you are doing actually on the tablet, without having to learn as you would with traditional ones, which do have steep learning curves for a lot of people.
That search led me, after countless hours of research, to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+. Samsung has always been my go-to for tablets, and I was in the market for a new one anyway, but they are pricey! And big! I initially looked at the S8 Ultra, but it would have been too large for me to carry around, so after some soul-searching, I settled on the S8+.
Samsung had a deal where I would receive a £150 trade-in for my old Samsung tablet, and they would throw in a Galaxy Tab A8 for free. So, after a bit of guilt-ridden decision-making, I decided to go for it.
The next decision was which drawing app to use, but after trying a few, free and paid (free trials), I decided that the one that was already loaded onto the tablet was just fine: Clip Studio Paint.
I was very excited to receive my new tablet, and was thrilled that it arrived a few days early! My son snagged the Galaxy Tab A8 tablet (always an eye for a freebie!) and I went through the always satisfying set-up of my new device.
Considering the cost, I was a bit dubious that it may not be worth the money, but I was certainly not disappointed! The display, resolution and sound are outstanding, and as the tablet came with an S-Pen that attaches magnetically to the tablet, which also charges it, I had a fully-working graphics tablet!
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t JUST purchase it for drawing, that would have been insane; I use it daily for plenty of other things, and it’s so fast! I also received 12 months free with Disney Plus. 🙂
The only gripe I have is that the pencil, although magnetic, comes off if it’s knocked even slightly. I would have preferred an elastic loop or two to keep it in place as I almost lost the pen on day 2! After all but destroying my bedroom looking for it, it turned up 2 days later; it had become attached to the metal underneath my lap tray!
Panic over (they are expensive!) I then spent a final purchase on a drawing course from a brilliant illustrator and YouTuber called ‘Genevieve’s Design Studio‘. I’m hoping that all of this expense will eventually be covered as I’m very interested in writing and illustrating my own children’s books.
I now feel very pleased that I made the decision to buy the tablet I did, and since I purchased the tablet through the official Samsung website, the drawing app comes with 6 months free.
There’s a lot to be said about this tablet, but one of my favourite features is the Samsung Dex mode. It basically turns your tablet into a kind of windows-based device, which is perfect for me. It took a little time to get used to it, but now I wouldn’t go back to the ‘normal’ Android mode.
I’m sure I’ve only scratched the surface of what this tablet can do; I’m not particularly savvy on all of the technical specs, but I know what I like, and I like this. It’s certainly possible to purchase a much cheaper tablet and decent stylus, but I feel that a tablet with specific drawing capabilities is best for me. I know that, when drawing, my palm/wrist is less likely to play havoc by accidentally opening and closing things.
Don’t get me wrong, I love paper and pencil work, but I think for me, digital illustration is the way forward. It’s easier to amend mistakes, and there are so many brushes and other things that can be used within the drawing app, that it makes it a better choice. And it’s much easier to transfer my work to my PC if I need to. And it saves trees!
There are some much cheaper drawing tablets for sale in Curry’s at the moment, so if you are wanting to branch out but don’t have a lot of money, take a look inside the store or online. Or just buy (and I know artists will hate me for saying this!) some cheap printing paper and pencils and make yourself a little drawing pad. Do this by halving several sheets of paper and stapling them together, either at the top-left corner or down the left side. This will be great for practice until you can afford some decent sketching pads. You can purchase some cheap drawing kits online or from places like The Works, Poundland or Wilko.
Learning to draw doesn’t have to be expensive, but it can be confusing. If you can’t afford a drawing course, YouTube is great, but be prepared to do a lot of searching for the videos you want. There is so much to learn, from perspective, body proportions, cartooning, manga, realism etc…searching can be a good way for you to find your ‘niche’, as it were, something you find ‘drawn’ to more than anything else.
All-in-all, it won’t happen overnight for me or for you, but with patience and determination, and lots of hours spent practising, it is a skill that can be learned by anyone. Give yourself a goal of one year to see how far you have come over the past 12 months. Always date and keep your old work for reference and I’ll bet you see an amazing improvement by then!
I’ll do the same, and as I become more experienced, I’ll start posting some of my first attempts. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making mistakes as you go, it’s how we improve. Don’t be embarrassed by your early attempts, embrace them and use them as you go forward.
Here’s hoping we all find our unique styles and I wish you all the best on your mission, should you choose to accept it! 🙂
Tip: Search YouTube for ‘my illustration journey’ or similar, to see how far other artists have come over the years.