Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Portable Digital Sketchbook, Anyone?

As a freelance illustrator, I have to move around a lot with my digital gear. That includes the laptop, tablet, pen, battery charger, sketchbook, and a pencil.
And occasionally, it's better to share a few sketches to show your client exactly what the hell you're talking about too.
Sadly, small pencil doodles on a piece of paper are no longer impressive and easily lost! So I've started to look for a portable digital sketchbook.
  1. It has to be portable to be more convenient than a heavy bag full of things that need to be assembled to work. 
  2. It has to be digital so you can save time - scanning, cleaning up can take a lot of time. And TIME equals MONEY.
  3. I don't want to spend too much money on a "sketchbook". No iPads (those things are not even designed for anything in particular, and I can't stand touchscreen).
Something that's cheap, durable, portable, compatible with a tablet, can run some kind of art software, and can handle a few knocks here and there. Did I find one? Not really.
Strangely, nobody has designed a product that can actually be useful. What a surprise.

BUT I did find a youtube clip that introduced me to a new form of computer. Meet Motion ComputingLatinVixen was kind enough to do a comparison of 2 products. Here is the video:
I just checked out the price of Motion Tablet PCs on eBay, and they are cheap. You can buy extra RAM and HD at a pretty reasonable price too. Keep in mind that most of these computers are used, but if you're like me, and are just looking for something that can handle a few punches in a bag, I think one of these babies are a good buy.
If you are also not willing to pay a fortune for another legal copy of Photoshop, there are open source art apps you can easily download for free - like GIMP (doesn't hurt to make a small donation if you can). Who wants to pay over $1000 for software just for sketching? We all know that artists aren't made of money. Right, Adobe?


Lindsay said...
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Lindsay said...

hi, i'm sure you looked at the motorola xoom. i was told that this was the only product one could install programs like illustrator on, blah blah. did you look at this? and why didn't you fancy it? its the only one available to us in South Africa. Thanks Lindsay

Anna said...

Hi Lindsay,
The reason I'm looking at old models like this is I don't want a touchscreen. It gets distracting when I'm trying to draw with my hand on the screen. Thanks for the suggestion though!

Lindsay said...

Hi Anna, gosh - i didn't realise that - that is really annoying! well plz keep me posted if you find something!

Anonymous said...

Have you tried the Boogie Board Rip? It allows you to draw and save. The files will be saved as RAW PDFs. You can't view the files, only make new ones so I'm considering sketching on it and then connecting it to my smartphone to backup the files. My smartphone has the USB OTG capability so upon connecting, I can email the files, upload them to the cloud, back them up with EverNote or whatever else tickles my fancy. The Boogie Board Rip also doubles as a cheap wacom when connected to a Mac or Windows machine. Just thought I'd throw this info out there.