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Drawing With the Note 8

Dat ass, drawn on Artflow, the free version.

I instantly fell in love with the Note 7 when it came out. Then the news started to come out and all of a sudden my open love letters to the phone on social media began to get responses like “blown up any planes with it yet?”

Samsung eventually figured out that the fault was just a battery one, and not the phone itself, but the damage had been done and a full recall was made. My heart was broken.

But now Samsung is back, and you can bet they made sure that there was going to be no repeat of last time. The Note 8 is absolutely massive with its 6.3-inch quad-HD+ AMOLED HDR display that sticks out the top of my pocket. It’s softkeys only enhance the size more as it almost goes edge to edge. The left and right sides have the iconic curve going on that give it that infinite feel.

Since it’s last iteration the Note has picked up a new button on the left hand side underneath the volume. This is the Bixby key, and is Samsung’s desperate attempt at making you use its AI. I did end up using it more often than usual, and its voice recognition of my slurred kiwi accent was great! It did require my to put on an American drawl like OK Google has.

A major factor for my love of the Note 7 was it’s pressure sensitivity and S Pen. Yes, a stylus these days might seem quaint, but having the option is great for artists and people like my dad who have massive sausage fingers. All this is available in the Note 8, and I spent plenty of time drawing on it. It may be nostalgia speaking but I don’t recall the button on the S Pen having software attached to it. When you click it a quick menu appears along the side of the screen, giving you a quick way to jump between apps.

This is fine for most people, but as an artist I was hoping to be able to customise what the button did some more. Artflow, the app I used for most of my drawing, used the clicker to colour drop which means it’d be perfect for mixing and blending colours as you go. My only problem was that every time I’d click it I’d get the colour dropper AND the samsung software jumping up all at once. As far as I can see there’s no way to disable the feature.

Photography on it’s duel cameras is beautiful taking brilliantly wide photos. And I got it wet a number of times and the Note was able to withstand it just fine. Also its Snapdragon 835 and 6GB RAM was able to process everything I did quickly and efficiently.

The Note 8 is my favourite phone I’ve reviewed in a while. If you’re an artist, or appreciate a massive screen and a flawless experience, then you really need to consider the Note 8.

Using the Cintiq Pro 16 to Make Comics

The Cintiq name is one that’s always bandied around creative circles with a certain amount of jealousy. If there’s one thing that creatives covet it’s top shelf tech from Wacom. Until now my wife and I have gotten by on a entry level Bamboo Pen & Touch and a nice Intuos Pro. With these sorts of tablets you can get by just fine, but there’s always an initial culture-shock when your drawing is disconnected from where your pen is. You draw on the table and watch your strokes in front of you on your screen.

So it was with much excitement that we were able to get our hands on the Cintiq Pro 16″. There’s a smaller 13″ model but we went straight to the top. It’s the first 4k screen we have in the house, able to pump out Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) at 60hz. Drawing straight onto the the anti-glare, etched-glass surface is like drawing right onto paper. The friction is just right. It really does feel like a premium drawing experience.

The big test is always the pen lag for me. Having the cursor falling behind your quick strokes can make or break the feeling of drawing digitally. The Cintiq holds up just fine in this regard and the product does as much as it can to stay out of the way and let me draw.

Across the top right of the screen is a row of touch buttons that control finger touch, onscreen keyboard, tablet mode (in case you’re sick of looking at your work in brilliant 4k) and various other handy modes for diagnostics. Apart from a power button on the top these are about the only buttons you’ll find on the Cintiq. There are no hotkeys running down the side, so if you have a setup where you can’t reach your keyboard you can get an expresskey remote. Built into the software for the Cintiq however is a radial menu that you can drop anywhere onscreen as a quick way to save, undo, etc. I ended up using a hybrid of keyboard and radial menu.

Macbook users will have a great time with setting it up as it takes USB-C for video and data. PC users may have a slightly harder time if they don’t have any USB-C slots in their machine. Wacom thought of this though and provides a Link adaptor which splits the USB-C into a regular USB and a mini DisplayPort. I was out of luck here as well and had to get a Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable to get up and running. Official word from Wacom is that this method will only allow your resolution to reach 1440p, a resolution which is still totally fine to work with, but smart people out there have pointed out if you make sure your Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable is rated for 4k you should have no problem getting 4k at a 60hz refresh rate. You paid for it so you may as well get the most K’s out of your Cintiq as possible.

I’m not going to lie though, it was a real bitch of a thing to set up at first. Touch sensitivity wasn’t running at first and I was rummaging with cables for ages. I think legacy drivers from my last tablet were hanging around fucking the whole thing up. After I cleaned all those out, and had all my other monitors unplugged it started working. I’m pretty sure the Wacom doesn’t enjoy having to share the graphics card with two other monitors either (although I’ve seen them working for other people).

Becky also has occasional issues where the tablet will turn itself on and off randomly (maybe a lose connection or accidentally tapping on of the hotkeys at the top of the tablet). This totally breaks the flow because the drivers don’t always kick back in, meaning we need to restart the drivers and close down photoshop to bring back pressure sensitivity. This is perhaps our biggest issue with it at the moment, apart from having a hard time getting at our keyboard, which is wedged inbetween the screen and the tablet.

The size isn’t quite 16″ at 15.6″ or 39.6cm for regular people. This doesn’t make for as snappy a name though, and the surface area is more than enough to lean on and do long liberal strokes.

The back of the Cintiq are two feet that flip out to prop it up. They’re super rigid and the first time you use them you might feel like you might snap them off by accident when you’re clicking them into position. They’re sturdy though so don’t fret.

Finally it comes with a Wacom Pro Pen 2, which is 4 times more pressure sensitive than its predecessor. It works without a battery and has natural tilt support. It has everything you’d expect, rubber on one end, nib on the other, the two buttons on the side, and of course a ring near the nib you can swap out with one of the other provided colour rings.

If you’re thinking of making the jump into drawing digitally you’ll find the Cintiq will ease the process. Even moving from a regular tablet to a touchscreen I found the amount of undos I had to do decreased. I usually try and do long unbroken lines with quick slashes to make the line work look as smooth as possible. This style got a lot easier to achieve now that I was looking directly at what I was doing. There is no disconnection between you and the computer, you can draw like normal.

Its the digital drawing version of eating really good Russian fudge; melt in your mouth good.

Art Dump November

Recently I got my hands on a Cintiq Pro 16 through work, and it’s given me a new lease on drawing. It got me excited again ya know? I know it’s sad to let your passion be dictated by toys and trinkets and fads but I didn’t make the rules here. I’m just letting the ol’ lizard brain lead me around.

I’ll drop a review of the Cintiq here tomorrow I reckon, but just check out a couple of the drawings I’ve done on it recently which haven’t made it onto the posts for the comic.

 


 

The site is still looking garbage after I switched the theme over a couple weeks ago. What we traded for a nice e-commerce look we lost in post formatting. Although I guess the last one didn’t look that great either in

that department. I gotta continue working out the gross little quirks it has. But at least the original piece of IZS now has a little bit more of a highlight on the front page. This blog area sort of took a massive step out of the spotlight for a while which didn’t really give me much a reason to write anything here.

Here’s today’s recommended track, if it doesn’t make you tap your toe then go see a psychologist or an ear doctor because you’re deaf mate.

Min Min – Arms

Buy the sticker here!

I’m loving the new IP’s Nintendo has been working on. Their art direction with Splatoon and ARMS is awesome. They just need to keep this pace up. Min Min was the most requested character after I initially did Twintelle.

Yesterday we got back from Tauranga Zinefest. It was an awesome weekend seeing mates and selling merch. People really dug our prints. I really need to get them onto our online store. People also loved Becky’s handmade ceramics, which we might also be chucking into the store soon.

Keira Hagai – Jak & Daxter

This pixel girl came as a suggestion from Rachel, someone who dug through my google doc, and found it wanting. I recommend that you should do the same! I’ve been off my game keeping the doc up to date, so you’ll probably see a lot of new kick ass female protagonists who haven’t made it onto the doc yet.

Here’s Keira, and trust me, you don’t want to image search her. Time has not been kind to those old Playstation graphics.

Buy this as a sticker right now!

Nier Automata Screenshot Dump

Major spoiler alert. These screenshots are all from the first ending of the game, so if you haven’t finished ending A yet, then you might want to skip all this.

Nier Automata is an awesome game. I love it, I think I only begun to appreciate it after completing the first ending. By the time I was using 9S I was just getting the hang of 2B’s combos and combat quirks. Oh well.

My only complaint with the game is the film bars used during cinematics. As you can see they ruin a lot of shots that would have made good backgrounds. It’s a common complaint online, but they’re baked into the cinematics so there’s no way of getting rid of them. If I’m wrong please tell me in the comment section.

Marina – Splatoon 2 Pixel Art

I did an Inkling way back in 2015, and I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with how that ink blaster gun turned out. Not so much the legs, but oh well.

Marina has been causing a stir on social for being a colour other than white, which is pretty cool. I can never decide whether I think that the design of Splatoon is totally bad ass, or kind of just fucked up. Anyway, here’s Marina!

Buy this as a sticker!

Check on Yo’ Bud

For the upcoming issue of M2 I wrote an intro for the Health section. Consider what I’m writing now as the intro for the intro. I thought it was important enough to share here.

A few months ago a raw message was delivered to us guys from Jono and Ben of all places. Jono Pryor took time at the end of the show to talk about the suicide of a friend. His message still brings a lump to my throat as I read it now.

“I just want to say one thing. What I’ve learnt this week is that if you are suffering a mental illness… No one thinks less of you for sharing your thoughts, no one thinks less of you for taking your medicine, and no one thinks less of you for dealing with a mental illness”.

It came at a time when a mate of mine started to go on medication for anxiety and depression. He took steps quickly when he saw the slippery slope he was on and dealt with it. He admitted to me later he was only confident to do it because the crew at Penny Arcade, an online webcomic, talked about their own mental health disorders openly.

Suicide is one of the highest causes of death in men in New Zealand, and other preventable deaths take up the rest of the list.

We like to go it alone and not talk about this stuff. I know that personally I need to be told by my wife that bleeding from places you shouldn’t bleed from is in fact cause to go and have a checkup with the doctor.

It’s this stoic attitude that is screwing us over and it’s why we need groups like Men’s Health Month and Men’s Health Week and Jono Pryor to occasionally come out and remind us to get our head in the game and check up on each other.

Men’s Health Month kicks off in June, and it’s not going to take growing a mo to start taking action. All they’re asking is that we start talking about it and chatting to our mates. It’s something that’s summed up in their #MenStartTalking hashtag pretty concisely.

As you dip into the health articles that follow, all with their hot tips on how to sleep better or lose weight, remember your mates. Ask them how they’re doing, and maybe open up a little about what’s going on with yourself. You might find you’re fighting the same demons.