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Tablet vs Screen Tablet vs iPad

iPad Pro and Procreate


When I got into this whole lettering and illustration thing, I knew I would have to invest in a decent input device. A mouse is the worst thing ever for illustrating—unintuitive, and a sure recipe for carpal tunnel. I started researching different input products.

I had used pen tablets in the past. In fact, I owned one of the first Wacom pen tablets—the ArtZ, back in the early 90s. It was a pretty exotic piece of equipment, and needed frequent re-calibration. It was also prone to failure, and eventually broke down completely. After it was out of warranty, it went into the trash can (hey, this was before electronics recycling).

In the years since, I’ve only ever owned one other pen tablet, a Wacom Bamboo. I remember picking one up at Computer City (remember them?). That one, too, stopped working. This sure doesn’t sound like a resounding success story for Wacom quality—at least their older products.

Computers and digital devices still haven’t been able to completely replicate the classic drawing experience. They’re getting closer, though.

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Pencil Cup Show and Tell

pencil cup


I always like sharing the tools I like to use when working on my lettering pieces. For this post, I thought I’d share an informal show and tell.

I keep all these in a leather craps dice cup. I came across this when we were getting my mom’s home ready to sell.

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Review: Bienfang Gridded Paper

bienfang gridded paper


In my roster of tools, I have things that I simply love to use, like my Leuchtturm sketchbook. I also have tools that just make things easier. Anything that helps me get my work done more efficiently gets top marks.

While on vacation in the summer of 2016, I dropped into a Blick art store in Boston. I always love cruising the art store, and usually buy way more stuff than I need. It was here I came across Bienfang Gridded Paper.

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REVIEW: Huion A3 Light Pad

huion a3


Back in college, light tables were as high tech as we got. They were big, metal beasts, filled with fluorescent tubes. Over time, as tubes want to do, they would start to flicker and fluctuate. Our classroom only had one, so there was always a line-up for it.

When I started getting into lettering, I knew I would have to get a light “table” at some point. Tracing paper works fine, but a light table is a huge step up.

I knew the technology had advanced. Tubes were out and LED was in. At first, I checked out my local art supply store. After hyperventilating over their prices, I checked out reviews on Amazon and came across the Huion A3.

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Display Your Illustrations

When I started getting into lettering and illustration, I wasn’t sure how to fit printing into my workflow. I wanted to display my illustrations, but was having mixed results.

It fell into two categories …

  1. Framing the print.
  2. Having the print sit in a stack of papers, or in a closet.

Framing my prints—even in “do-it-yourself” frames—became tedious. Cleaning the glass, positioning the print in the mat and finding a place on the wall all became a chore. After awhile I simply stopped doing it. So my artwork stayed as bits and bytes on my hard drive. I needed something that would quickly let me display my work.

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