I was cleaning out my home “tech closet” last week.
Tearing down old cell-phone boxes, old hard-drive product boxes, laptop boxes now that they have been “burned in” and I’m not returning them to the store…stuff like that. Sorting plastics/papers for recycling, etc.
While I was putting some of the small-bits I wanted to hold onto in my catch-all shoeboxes for such things tech, I found my old Wacom CTE-430 (Sapphire) drawing tablet and pen. I had got this a long time ago when Lavie was doing drafting and design work on the computer.
As a young kid, Alvis had a copy of Disney’s Magic Artist and Sketch Board that she loved. But as she got older she outgrew it so it was passed on to relative’s family who had young children to use.
Now that Alvis is much older and quite the artist, I wondered if she would be interested again in trying the whole “digital artist” thing. Her preferred medium are watercolors, pastels, colored pencils, charcoals, and other medium that are -- by nature -- very messy and require lots of scattering of these items across the desks, the floors, the window ledges, etc. Oh, and lots of my favorite mugs left next to the kitchen sink soaking brushes in soapy water.
Maybe Alvis would find it relaxing to do some digital sketch-work again when she was bored but didn’t feel like hauling out her normal art supplies.
So I decided to connect it to my Win7 x64 system. It found some drivers and seemed to work OK but some of the pressure support for the pen didn’t seem to work.
Did some Google work and found the Wacom site but the US driver page wouldn’t work correctly to let me grab the drivers using the form selection boxes.
Eventually I found a direct link to the driver page I was looking for:
Driver 5.2.5-5a(RC) for Windows 7, Vista & XP (32 & 64 bit versions) - Wacom Graphire3
Downloaded and installed fine on our Windows 7 x64 systems.
Next I needed to find a few paint programs that supported tablet usage. This Gizmo’s Freeware page had more than I was looking for. Score!
Best Free Paint Program - Gizmo's Freeware
I downloaded and installed quit a few of them on Alvis’s system.
In the end we both thought the Art Rage 2 “Starter Edition” (free) was the best starting point. The sketching surface and tools were very easy to get started with. Alvis thought this was hands-down the easiest of the bunch to use and play with. If she really gets into it, we will probably spring for the full Art Rage Studio Pro version. at $60 it seems a great value for new digital artists.
We aren’t quite up to using the tablet in Photoshop yet, but I think with some practice, it could be useful there as well supplementing digital photo editing work.
Nice to know “old technology” can find new life…