Advice to improve my sketching on an Intuos 5

I’d like to develop some ideas for various products through sketching, however, I’m finding it really tough to get started.

Here is an example of a drawing I did a couple years ago…

I drew that sketch with a ball point pen on paper and then photographed it and rendered in photoshop using a wacom intuos 5. Id really like to progress beyond this, being able to sketch straight onto the computer and create both sketches and renderings.

I have found some drawing tutorials on youtube - e.g. Spenser Nugent. However, I have a few barriers to getting started:

  1. when i try and sketch with the tablet, I find it hard to control my lines. Straight lights are wobbly, eclipses don’t join up. So I am getting very poor looking drawings. see this example…
  2. I am very keen to get on and develop my ideas, but i think practicing the basics such as straight lines and eclipses to improve on my control is going to impede my progress on those products and I want to keep the momentum going. My other alternative is to make some foam board models and take photos/video - this is what i do all the time at present but my drawing skills never get any better that way.
  3. I am not in a great working environment. I often work from home, but find that quite depressing, so sometimes I work out of public places - right now i am in the Ikea restaurant in North London. Being surrounded by other industrial designers or a ID drawing class would be great for my learning, but right now I have to make the most of youtube as a substitute.

Any advice would be great.

Play with the sensitivity settings on the tablet driver. I usually set mine to be fairly firm. Practice drawing light feathery lines as well as thick, bold lines to get the right feel.

It takes a long to time find the feel of drawing on a tablet, but just keep working on it. Use multiple underlays to go from rough to refined, just as you would with say a marker and pen. Take advantage of everything the table gives you, too. Make liberal use of the touch ring to rotate the canvas. Map one of the keys to the Undo function. It will be much less frustrating to take a few attempts at hitting a line perfectly when all you need for a redo is a quick flip of your thumb. I love drawing on my Intuos 4, and even now it still takes me multiple attempts to hit the angle, arc, or length of a line perfectly. That undo hotkey is clutch.

Hey Arctic66, have you tried a tablet like the iPad Pro or Surface Pro? Obviously they are much more costly then the normal screenless tablets which is a consideration. I think you might really love one of those tablets since you’re able to use the same eye hand coordination you’ve developed in your ballpoint sketches. It seems like they would work really well into your current workflow since you’d be able to take them with you when you sketch in public!

Around 2 years ago, I looked into getting a Cintiq but at the moment can’t justify the cost plus it takes up quite a bit of space which I am a bit short of. Then I borrowed a Surface Pro 2 for 6 months and thought that it was okay, but the screen was too small. I also got the Wacom creative sylus for my iPad 3 - thats not bad but the nib is a bit clumsy and I have to keep my palm away from the screen. I’ve tried the iPad Pro and pencil in the store and I think it is pretty amazing. Although, I like having a more powerful machine to reduce the lag and having the full apps like photoshop and sketchbook pro. So all that leads me to getting to grips with the inutos. Someone recently told me that it takes 1 week of intensive use to get used to it.

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Cool, I gotcha. If you want to run full apps on a tablet you could try out the surface pro 3 or 4, their screens are only a little smaller than the iPad pro and the pen experience is about the same. Probably something you already know but thought I’d mention it just in case. Good luck with the intuos, I’m sure you’ll be totally fine with it after a couple weeks of practice!

I still really hope for a apple laptop with drawing enables screen or a versión of ipad sort with full real apps… :frowning:

I had tried to use the Intuos for a 2-3 years like you are saying and could never get the hang of it. I ended up biting the bullet after graduating and getting the 13HD and have not looked back. I wish I got something like that early on in college. Of course, everyone’s mileage may vary, but –

Compared to the cost of school, laptop, programs, etc, a Cintiq (even a smaller 12/13", a used model from Craigslist, or an off-brand like the Yiynova that some here have tried) is worth it if you are going the tangible product design route. Sketching is already hard enough. Do you really want an added barrier that makes it more unnatural? I would argue that the need to Ctrl-Z dozens of times takes away from the core idea of ID sketching and would get in the way of coming up with new ideas quickly, though it could be okay for some really tight renderings.

In the time being, I would not discount your original strategy – sketching on paper, scanning it in, and rendering there. The Intuos is a lot more forgiving for that.