Ugee 2150 Tablet Monitor & Art Rage

You might have noticed the slight change in style of the comic strip in the last update. I am now drawing the strip on a glorious 21.5” Ugee tablet monitor via the software package ArtRage and I couldn’t be happier with both choices.

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The tablet is such a LOT larger than my previous 11” Samsung Series 7 Slate – which I have loved and has served me well – that really there is no comparison. I will still use the portable Samsung when I travel and at work on my lunches but this new desktop experience has shown me what I’ve been missing!

I feel like my drawing has improved purely as I’m looking at larger panels and feeling the need to be more expansive in my art. Whereas I’ve been rushing to get strips done before, now I like to take my time and do them well. I understand none of this is appraising the tools but I feel it’s worth noting. People often say that the tools don’t make the artist which is true – but they may be holding you back from advancements you didn’t think possible.

The tablet is being touted as a Wacom Cintiq alternative. It is very responsive and seems to have no lag – something I was worried about as the 19” version had a better response rate. I went with the larger monitor as it was full HD and figured I might as well go for the biggest one I could get. So far there’s no glitches or anything to slow my workflow unlike my Samsung which has a few annoying habits of undoing and zooming out randomly (although this is down to some short cut button software I installed)

Unfortunately I cannot get the tablet to work with pressure sensitivity in Toon Boom which is the program I’ve been drawing my comics in for years. It is a very old version and most likely this is not fixable so after a few hours of problem solving I resigned myself to embracing a new program.

I considered Manga Studio, Photoshop, Sketchbook Pro but having already bought Art Rage for it’s painting features I decided to try – with some trepidation – to give it a go drawing my entire comic in this software. I can say that it has been a revelation. The software is far more versatile than I expected and does EVERYTHING that I need in one package. It’s ink tool gives a great line weight and I can see that many interesting brushes could be made fiddling with the presets. I’ve got a comic template saved out and the layers system is similar to Photoshop. I have started colouring my strips with the watercolour brush which gives it a traditional look. It also has the benefit of letting me draw looser as I don’t need to close my lines for the bucket fill tool. This is something I’ve battled with since going to colour. The paper settings make the artwork look as if it’s drawn on a textured paper which is a nice touch. All in all I think it’s elevated my art immeasurably.

The tablet at £460 is not cheap (for an artist) and I have deliberated forking out that much for a couple of years. Since my day job in animation is fairly steady at the moment it seemed a good time to take the plunge. And compared to the same size Cintiq it is about a 1/3 of that!

ArtRage currently at 40% off is under £25 (typical since I bought it at full price!) and is an absolute bargain and I’d encourage you ALL to try it out. They’ve got a trial version so no reason not to.

Now to try and get payed for these gushing reviews (I’m not by the way.)