Friday, January 6, 2012

Radio Heads and Material Girls

When I write, I often listen to music with earbuds as a means to drive out all other reality.  I tend to "loop" one song that stirs in me the feeling or tone most appropriate and productive for what I'm trying to do, and then I hit the keyboard.  I guess it's kind of like moody white-noise, and it helps me keep so focused, I sometimes look up to see a threatening dawn having written through six or eight hours of night on a single, replaying song.  That's not a great feeling, actually, to see it's six o'clock and I have to sprint to bed so I can be up an hour later.  But that's the life of a working mom and the super-power of music.

The computer I use for digital coloring and whatnot has two easily accessible USB ports, one of which is taken up by the remote for the wireless keyboard I'm using to type, and the other was occupied by the remote for a wireless mouse until someone lovely gave me a Wacom Bamboo drawing pad.  Digital toon manipulation has never been so intuitive!  Whether cleaning up pencils, traditional pen and inks, coloring, or drawing straight into digital form, this drawing pad is awesome for efficient and intuitive function.  You can finger-paint, but I stick to its accompanying electronic pen, and the two in tandem can detect pressure for brush effects and bleed -- really a great tool!  It's faster than the mouse and translates the physical motions of my hand far better than my clunky mouse ever did, and I've developed a whole new love for digital art (with the hand cramps to prove it!)

But (you knew there was one, didn't you?) if I do computer stuff (like an online search or pull text from a doc file or fetch some data or other things I'd use a mouse for), the pen is oddly cumbersome and seemingly imprecise.  If I switch to the "touch" function, the Bamboo works like a huge touch-pad, so it's fine, but I find once I've got that electronic pen in my clutches, I don't want to give it up.  I end up stumbling through the computer with the pen until frustration leaves me longing for the mouse (which is quicker for that stuff but I can't use it without unplugging something else).  It's not really a problem with the touch-pad feature just a button tap away, but I'm surprised how attached I've become to this little pen!

I guess in many ways I'm still a "material girl."

Don't give me diamonds, give me blue and carbon pencils, charcoals, rubber cement, razors and white erasers, felt-tips and ball points, quills and nibs and India ink and bouquets of weighted paper.  And a Wacom Bamboo drawing pad.  There's a lot to be said for erasing and revising without any artifacting and working with something that's monumentally protected from unwanted spills, smudges and splatters.

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