AstroWagon

Creepy guy gets coloured!

Today I got an email from Monoprice tech support and they said they think my screen is faulty as it won’t calibrate, so they said to send it back. I did a bit of Googlising and found other people had the same problem in Win7 so I’m guessing seeing as that’s the only problem with it now, it’s just a windows “thing”.

That probably being the case, I’m thinking I’ll just keep it. It seems to be fine other than that, and it’s nice to use - as I mentioned before, it’s pretty well calibrated anyway (maybe Windows has automatically worked some magic behind the scenes and that’s why it just works without calibration switched on?!)

Anyway, I decided to have a play around this evening and vectorised and coloured my Creepy Guy picture, I think it turned out ok actually!

Above is the original sketchbook scribble, the line work from Adobe Illustrator and then the final coloured version that I did in Photoshop.

One thing I had happen though is that halfway through using photoshop I got some MAJOR lag with the cursor, to the point it was unusable, and a had to restart a few times until it perked up again.

*prays for new drivers soon!*

First droodle with the new screen, giving it a proper test run in Adobe Illustrator. This picture needs a caption! Any suggestions?
So, how was the screen to use?
Answer: Quite nice actually. Since I adjusted the pressure settings the pen no longer dollops a big blob on first contact with the glass, now I just need to tweak my brushes until I find something I like.
I’ve been working on a commission since I got the screen a week ago, and have been using it all week for it (and it has been really really useful, now it’s all working properly) but this is the first chance I’ve had to draw something with it properly.
Fun fun fun!
So, caption suggestions anyone?

First droodle with the new screen, giving it a proper test run in Adobe Illustrator. This picture needs a caption! Any suggestions?

So, how was the screen to use?

Answer: Quite nice actually. Since I adjusted the pressure settings the pen no longer dollops a big blob on first contact with the glass, now I just need to tweak my brushes until I find something I like.

I’ve been working on a commission since I got the screen a week ago, and have been using it all week for it (and it has been really really useful, now it’s all working properly) but this is the first chance I’ve had to draw something with it properly.

Fun fun fun!

So, caption suggestions anyone?

mutualize:

MUTUALIZES MACBOOK GIVEAWAYAs you all know, i host a lot of giveaways and my last two recently ended. If you want proof that they were legit go here. This macbook was originally going to be given away a few months ago but i changed blogs and kinda forgot about it as i had other giveaways running. I am hoping to make one lucky person happy by giving this away. And I hope this makes 2014 the best year of their life. Our family is pretty well off so none of us need to sell it for money. It was mine for a while and is in great condition and will be reformatted so nothing is on it. :)
Here’s how this will work:
You have to be following me. I am checking who is following, and the winner will be re-drawn if they aren’t following me. I am a quality blog that you’ll love anyway, so dont worry
Likes do not count for anything, only reblogs will count. You can reblog this as many times as you’d like. Do not create any extra blogs. you can also like the post as a bookmark, but likes will not be counted.
Winner will be chosen like as if it were a raffle drawing. And will be contacted via tumblr messages, so make sure that you have that on/open.
You have until May 20th, 2014 (australian date) to reblog this post. A winner will be chosen using a generator and then I will message them. If the winner doesnt reply within a week then I will choose different. I will post their URL on my blog too
This giveaway will be shipped to anywhere in the world, I will be paying for shipping so don’t worry guys. Good luck!
INCLUDED:
MacBook pro
Original box
Charger cable
keyboard cover (blue)
32gb USB stick
Ends on May 20th, 2014 (australian date)
—- REMEMBER, you must follow  ME for your entry to count. —-
.
And also, if you’d like to learn how to make some extra cash by testing out apps on your smartphone, click here and read the post. It will make you happy even if you dont win xx
Good luck and stay lovely! 

I can always dream I guess…

mutualize:

MUTUALIZES MACBOOK GIVEAWAY

As you all know, i host a lot of giveaways and my last two recently ended. If you want proof that they were legit go here. This macbook was originally going to be given away a few months ago but i changed blogs and kinda forgot about it as i had other giveaways running. I am hoping to make one lucky person happy by giving this away. And I hope this makes 2014 the best year of their life. Our family is pretty well off so none of us need to sell it for money. It was mine for a while and is in great condition and will be reformatted so nothing is on it. :)

Here’s how this will work:

  • You have to be following me. I am checking who is following, and the winner will be re-drawn if they aren’t following me. I am a quality blog that you’ll love anyway, so dont worry
  • Likes do not count for anything, only reblogs will count. You can reblog this as many times as you’d like. Do not create any extra blogs. you can also like the post as a bookmark, but likes will not be counted.
  • Winner will be chosen like as if it were a raffle drawing. And will be contacted via tumblr messages, so make sure that you have that on/open.
  • You have until May 20th, 2014 (australian date) to reblog this post. A winner will be chosen using a generator and then I will message them. If the winner doesnt reply within a week then I will choose different. I will post their URL on my blog too
  • This giveaway will be shipped to anywhere in the world, I will be paying for shipping so don’t worry guys. Good luck!

INCLUDED:

  • MacBook pro
  • Original box
  • Charger cable
  • keyboard cover (blue)
  • 32gb USB stick

Ends on May 20th, 2014 (australian date)

—- REMEMBER, you must follow ME for your entry to count. —-

.

And also, if you’d like to learn how to make some extra cash by testing out apps on your smartphone, click here and read the post. It will make you happy even if you dont win xx

Good luck and stay lovely!

I can always dream I guess…

(via didyousaydragon)

Some kind of renegade pig-mouse?! I dunno…

Some kind of renegade pig-mouse?! I dunno…

Review update: Monoprice 19 inch Interactive Pen Display

There has been a lot of installing/uninstalling shennanigans over the last 24hrs.

My brain hurts.

Having discovered that there might have been a virus on my laptop, I took the (typically) drastic step of doing a full reinstall of my Windows 7 OS to see if I could get the Monoprice screen working.

I’ve wasted many many hours of my life over the years doing reinstalls of Windows operating systems, and doing this wasn’t a decision I made lightly. In all honesty, it needed to be done anyway, there had been a few weird anomilies that had been cropping up with things on my lappy for a while which weren’t normal and made me suspect there was something lurking within, and it was this morning whilst writing the first review and my typing cursor kept leaping back to other points in the document that made me decide I ought to give a reinstall a try.

So that’s what I did. Luckily my laptop came with one of those secret areas on the hard drive and a recovery tool so it was actually quite painless to do for a change with no issues whatsoever. I was shockingly back up and running within the hour.

Once I was all installed (and protected from internetrical germs) I carried out a thorough search on the laptop to check anything tablet or pointing device related was removed or disabled and then I reinstalled the Monoprice screen. Then I reinstalled Photoshop etc.

Aaaaaand… it worked?!

Yes, that’s right - it worked!

HOORAY!

Buuuuut…. bizarrely, I still can’t calibrate the screen. I can carry out the calibration test, but once it’s done the cursor restricts itself to a small area. Turning calibration off withing the Monoprice settings makes it work fine. It actually seems pretty well calibrated already.

Anyway, the fact that it was now working was exciting and it was time to take it for a proper test drive.

Here are my findings….

In Photoshop, everything seems to work as close to perfectly as I’d expect, save for the odd occassion when the cursor has a little hissy fit and decides it either wants to pile on the pressure giving your line a whole bunch of fatness (or a big mess) or drop random markings. You have to be on the ball because if you miss one when it happens it can be a pain having to undo undo undo etc.

Having said that, it didn’t happen very often, and the biggest thing I’ve found is that things only seem to go a bit wonky when my system is trying to do other things, so for example, I can’t have an internet browser open at the same time as drawing (really annoying but not the end of the world I guess) - it seems like it literally has to be the only thing going on.

I noticed that if my laptop started doing anything in the background it would cause issues with the screen, the cursor would either jitter, splodge, do the straightest line known to man, or just stop working - in fact, a few times it completely stopped and I had to come out of Photoshop and restart. I also had to stop my dropbox from synching whilst I was using the screen.

Surely I shouldn’t be having these kinds of issues with a dual core system with 8GB RAM?!

At one point it even blue screened, but I’m not sure exactly what caused it to do that.

All those issues aside (yes, let’s forget all that stuff for now) when the screen was working, it worked well, and was actually really nice to use - I’m glad I can finally take a deep breath and say that.

The pressure sensitivity was great, and using Frenden’s brushes was super sweet. Admittedly, I’ve got a bit of a learning curve to adjust to in terms of the fact I’m not used to drawing on a screen yet and find my palm causes a lot of the crappy lines I was getting because it kept getting stuck on the glass, but that just means I need to adjust the way I hold the pen and try to avoid my hand being on the screen itself.

It’s a little frustrating that it has to be set to the only screen you can use, apparently this isn’t the case with Macs though. Bloody Macs, why do they always get favoured over everything else?

I’m not buying a Mac. End of.

So to round it up, I think this screen will be rather splendid once I figure out if using it on a more powerful system will resolve the issues I’m jabbering on about above. As it stands, with tonights “successes”, I can reluctantly say that I think it was worth the money I paid for it (I say that with my teeth gritted) and if these issues are ironed out I might even go as far as recommending it.

Still a bit baffled as to why the calibration doesn’t work though, it seems a bit nuts to me, and Frenden has confirmed that he never had the issue on all the things he’s tested it on. Maybe my screen is faulty afterall? I really hope not though, if it ends up that I have to return it, I am fairly sure I’ll just ask for a refund rather than a new screen - it’s all too much hassle.

I’ll be buying a Huion 610 Pro anyway soon, so maybe I’ll just stick with a lablet for now (that’s what I call the lap tablets!) until these Cintiq alternatives have grown and evolved a bit.

I’ll report back once I’ve used the Monoprice on the super computer.

Review: Monoprice 19 inch Interactive Pen Display

Finally.  After weeks, months even, of waiting my Monoprice 19 inch Interactive Pen Display arrived yesterday.

Having been looking into alternatives to the massively overpriced Wacom Cintiqs for a while, and subsequently reading Frenden’s glowing review of this screen back in early December 2013 whereby it stole the crown from Yiynova’s MSP19U - I decided it was time to take the plunge and get myself one.

My goodness was it a long wait though. I had put myself on the ‘notify me when this item is in stock’ mailing list immediately after reading his review, and impatiently checked the site at regular intervals only to keep seeing the in stock date being pushed back by weeks at a time. I spoke to a Monoprice rep online and asked when they were likely to get any in and was advised of a date in March which again got put back and I’d all but given up hope, until just by chance one day a few weeks ago I had a look and it was in stock (I hadn’t received any emails to tell me, despite signing up to the list  a second time just to make sure!) and I very quickly hit the ‘take my money’ button.

Sure enough, just under a week later, and a lot of impatient watching of the UPS delivery tracker, it arrived.

I wasn’t best pleased about being hit with a £67 import charge however, that nobody had mentioned anything about at any point! Luckily my credit card took the hit and I snatched the box out of his hands like a sweaty Gollum.

Throughout the last few months I had been keeping a close eye on the customer reviews and YouTube videos of the product and it wasn’t getting the same praises sung about it that Frenden had documented. Nevertheless I prayed hard that it was just a case of people being stupid or that they had insufficient systems to run the screen with and that I wouldn’t encounter any of the issues I’d seen reported.

My first impressions of the Monoprice 19 inch Interactive Pen Display were that the screen itself was very light, and looked a little bit sexy – definitely not something that has been cobbled together in a dodgy little shed in China, and the pen was also ridiculously light, but nice to hold. A lot of people have been moaning about the fact it is chargeable via usb and is without an eraser tip, not a deal breaker for me by any shot, it doesn’t take a millisecond to use the erase shortcut in Photoshop et al anyway. I am a fan of eraser tips though and enjoy drawing with that end of the pen in TVPaint, but I can live with not having one.

People had also been banging on about bad viewing angles, and I say to them that you need to learn to sit with a good posture. Also, I found it to be no worse than my laptop screen in terms of the angles at which the screens appearance changes, so no problems there for me. Things were looking good, and the screen resolution and colours seemed fine too. I was worried about dust and dirt under the glass and dead pixels which I’d seen people reporting, but I was also lucky to escape those things too, albeit for a couple of teeny bits of dust that I can only see if I glue my face to the screen anyway.

When I had finally overcome the excitement that I finally had a screen to draw on, and got myself a nice cup of tea to accompany me during the setup, I began to install the beast (following the steps in the manual to the letter) and prepared myself for a test run.

This is where it all mostly goes downhill.

After installation, to cut a long story short, it didn’t work.

The cursor would go crazy and would always map to my laptop screen, even after I had set the Monoprice to be screen one. I decided to uninstall the drivers and try again – I’d also realised I still had Wacom drivers installed – whoops! So I uninstalled those too and re-installed the Monoprice drivers.

This sort of worked and I was able to load up Photoshop and give it a go. Ugh. This is where I encountered the (what I like to call) “weeeee” issue, where you start drawing and then the line goes “weeeee” across the screen. No amount of calibrating helped, and at this point I decided I shouldn’t waste my time anymore and hopped on to the online Monoprice tech support.

I found it rather entertaining that I ended up speaking to Eric B, who unfortunately wasn’t the  Eric B (as in Eric B & Rakim for all you youngsters not in the know about old skool hip-hop)  but I did have to check with him just to make sure.

I have to say at this point that the Monoprice tech support team are very very helpful and patient , and Eric B ran me through a whole bunch of possible solutions and I was able to get transferred to him after each time I returned to the tech support chat. Unfortunately, more than three hours later I was still having no joy with the screen.

We agreed that I should test it out on another computer to find out if the screen is at fault or whether it’s my laptop and I plan to do so tomorrow when I get hold of my new powerful super PC, and when I’ve done that I’ll report back to Eric B – and you.

Before I went to bed downhearted, I decided to do a bit of Googling and see if I could find any other suggestions, and I also inadvertently harassed Frenden on Twitter to see if he had any suggestions, and I did manage to find some things that helped.

First of all, there were some pre-installed “things” that come with Windows7 that need turning off. These were ‘Flicks’, and the Pen and Touch options, as well as some other tablet options that sit within the control panel  – these can’t be uninstalled (as far as I know) but they can be disabled. I also discovered that turning the calibration option off within the Monoprice settings made the cursor and pen “unite” at long last! Although this is a bit crazy because if you can’t calibrate the pen to the screen, it’s never going to give you any reliable accuracy when drawing!

A bit of further research and  I discovered that the screen is just a rebranded version of the Huion GT190 and runs with the same drivers, so I installed those to see if it improved… which it did, slightly. It became more responsive and less likely to fly away from me.

Unfortunately, it seems that I can only get a short amount of time of usage before it just decides to “spazz out” and the cursor fly across the screen or whizz around or just stop completely. Although I have just spotted whilst writing this (Monoprice unplugged) that every so often the text cursor in Word goes somewhere random on my page and my sentences are continued elsewhere on the page, so I’m wondering if I have some kind of virus?! I’m tempted to do a complete reinstall of Windows7 to see if starting with nothing there to interfere with it will help – as much of a ball ache as that will be, I know that having a fully functioning screen will be worth it. Why do these things always happen at the most inconvenient times! Bill Gates owes me hours of my life back as it is.

To sum up, if the issues turn out to not be related to my laptop, and it is the screen drivers that are the issue, I’m afraid that at this point the screen is pretty useless for any kind of proper work – I hope the magicians at Monoprice manage to come up with something more stable soon. They should also make a point of adding a list of things that should be uninstalled and switched off (as I mentioned above) to the manual.

I guess I’ll have to wait and see if it works with my super computer over the weekend to give a final assessment. That being said, I’m fairly hopefull that all will turn out fine.

Fingers (and everything else) crossed.

 

Creepy guy is back!
Ahhhh, I borrowed my work Wacom tablet this evening, I miss digital doodling and painting so much - I need to get another tablet of my own! Even if creepy guy makes more appearances…

Creepy guy is back!

Ahhhh, I borrowed my work Wacom tablet this evening, I miss digital doodling and painting so much - I need to get another tablet of my own! Even if creepy guy makes more appearances…

Here’s a couple of quickish sketches of my friends Rayganne (top) and Jen (bottom) that I did last night - they look better in my sketchbook, for some reason I couldn’t take a clear enough picture last night.

Not sure if I’m getting better at this or not. Either way, I’m still having fun with these observational practice lady sketches.

Couldn’t go to drawing club tonight (annoying as it was in my favourite pub) and so I decided to do some drawing at home. The top one i did tonight, and the bottom one I did a couple of weeks ago.

Testing my new Derwent Coloursoft pencils

After a couple of close battles on eBay, I finally managed to get my mitts on a 24 tin of Derwent Coloursoft pencils - they are far from cheap in the shops (locally at least) and so I got a bargain on eBay, at £15 for the tin (pretty much half retail price).

I don’t have much experience with colouring pencils and so I shortlisted some of the recommendations I’d received, (the usual suspects, Derwent, Prismacolor, Faber Castell etc.) I’ve always been a fan of Derwent so I decided these would be the ones to go for, I’m a big fan of their graphic pencils.

Today I arrived home to my nice shiny tin of pencils and thought it would be a good idea to take them out for a a test drive.

I started out in my Derwent sketchbook which is the whitest paper I have, and also the smoothest texture.

My first impression of them was that they felt nice to hold, they are quite fat, and have a round barrell. The have a very smooth action to them and blend very well, however I found them to be a little bit too soft and a sharpened pencil runs down really quickly which is fine if you’re covering a large area in a colour, but really slowed me down when I needed to outline things, as the tip was rounded off much too quickly for my liking and so I lost edges fast.

I also found that I wasn’t really able to smudge the colour with my fingers (which I love doing with my graphic pencils) no matter how hard I tried.

Layering the colours is really easy with these pencils though, and I’m glad I got the 24 tin rather than the 12 as there is the perfect selection of colours to choose from, which will provide some fun experimentation with mixing and layering.

After I “finished” the first picture (top pic above) I decided to try them on some rougher paper, which made for quicker and easier work covering a large area, and gave a nice texture. Unfortunately it didn’t really satisfy what I wanted to achieve with them. Crosshatching isn’t really an option due to how quickly the lead dissappears, and crumbles off easily if you put a fairly average amount of pressure on it. Smudging on this paper was just as hard.

I sort of cheated as well on the second picture and went round and outlined the sketch with my brush pen, which actually gave quite a nice effect as the ink over the waxy pencil areas makes it look like crayon (a fairly pleasant accident).

Over all I found these pencils to be quite difficult to use - my arm hasn’t had to put so much effort in to anything else I’ve ever done, and it really feels like my right arm has had a proper workout this evening!

I won’t be putting them in the drawer and forgetting about them just yet though, and will persevere with different paper types until I find one that the pencils work well with, but for the project I intended them for, they don’t cut the mustard unfortunately and so has pretty much made my mind up on whether I hand colour my Dog & Dave book!

The answer is ‘no’, unless I find some pencils that stay sharper longer.

My next test will be on a pack of Prismacolor’s. Once I can afford some that is!

Drawing Club. The first rule of Drawing Club is not to talk about Drawing Club.

Well, I’m about to break that, straight away.

Tonight was Drawing Club. Every week a bunch of Brighton folk gather at a chosen beer serving venue, and draw.

I’d never been to one before, and I’ve never drawn with other people since I was at school. It was a fun and educational experience, and was great because I got to do a bunch of stuff I wouldn’t normally do with my drawing at home, like sketching with a micron pen and also getting to let loose with my Pentel brush pen. I also discovered some super fat pencil thingies. I don’t know what the technical name for them is, but that’s what they were, and they were super fun to use so I’mma gon’ get me a couple of those bad boys.

Anyway, twas mucho fun, surrounded by great people, very talented (including two pros: Grafitti artists Sinna One and Req - look em’ up) and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Here’s my efforts from this evening… including a back view of Ron Jeremy, who turned up with a Bichon Frise dog. If only willterrellart had been there, he’d have done such an amazing sketch of him!!

A couple of poopy ones I drew over the last 2 days. Not entirely happy with them, but they aren’t terrible I guess! Looking forward to Drawing Club tomorrow night, gonna do some people sketching :)

A zombie monkey for #1hour1sketch @1hour1sketch on Twitter

A zombie monkey for #1hour1sketch @1hour1sketch on Twitter

So this monstrosity just turned up in my sketchbook… I call it ‘The Adventures of Creepy Paedo Man’ - don’t take that lolly little boy!

So this monstrosity just turned up in my sketchbook… I call it ‘The Adventures of Creepy Paedo Man’ - don’t take that lolly little boy!

Bleh. Just a couple of quickies tonight. Must leave GTA 5 alone!