From Paper to Screen: A Beginners’...

From Paper to Screen: A Beginners’ Guide to Virtual Drawing

by Rochelle C. Pangilinan
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When you think of drawing, the first image that probably comes into your mind is a pen and paper. However, did you know that in the mid-1950s, there was a French electrician who serendipitously found an alternative to the good ol’ pen and paper to show of one’s talent for illustrations? One day, Andre Cassagnes was simply installing a light switch plate and peeled off its translucent decal, making pencil marks on it. He realized then that he could make a drawing toy.

This invention would eventually be known as the Etch A Sketch, and with the help of business partner Paul Chaze and accountant Arthur Granjean, the man who filed and paid for the patents, Cassagnes’ drawing toy has sold 175 million units worldwide since it hit the market in 1960. Today, surprisingly, it remains to be a well-loved toy despite the popularity of video games, gaming consoles, and mobile games apps.

Etch A Sketch has helped countless artists develop their drawing skills. There has been a slew of impressive artworks created through this modest playing device, from the Mona Lisa to Mount Rushmore. This proves that honing your sketching skills don’t necessarily have to involve a pen and paper. It can be done through an Etch A Sketch or if you’re tech-savvy, a tablet. If you’re interested in virtual drawing, here’s a guide to get you started.

Get the right tools.

Just as carpenters need the right tools to build, artists need to be well-equipped to create. Virtual drawing tools abound – you can use different types of tablets, pencils, or styluses to sketch your masterpiece. Tablets can range from graphic tablets, display tablets, or all-in-one tablets. The costs for these devices can vary, and the all-in-one tablets carry the highest price tag out of the three types. However, as the name suggests, you can use this type of tablet more as it’s a hybrid of a tablet and computer.

Choose the right software.

There’s a plethora of apps you can put to the test like Adobe Photoshop Sketch, Adobe Illustrator Draw, Inspire Pro, Procreate, Pixelmator Pro, Inkist, Sketch Club, and plenty others. Make sure to take the time to look into the costs involved for these applications as some are free, while others entail fees, usually in the form of a monthly subscription. In addition, there are apps that are compatible with specific operating systems. It’s truly up to you to decide which you’ll be most comfortable with.

Learn with the professionals.

What’s great about virtual drawing is that there are various opportunities to learn without having to step out of your home. There are paid classes where professionals can teach you about techniques, and there are free ones which can offer you the same thing. If you want a more methodical approach, an actual class requiring enrollment seems like the ideal choice, but if you’re looking to expand your knowledge without necessarily spending anything, virtual drawing tutorials are available on YouTube.

Connect with fellow virtual drawers.

Building a connection with people with similar interests can also help you enhance your sketching skills since you can exchange tips and suggestions. It’s also a great way to learn about different types of artists, and this can help you figure out your own style. Plus, you can arrange for meet-ups like museum trips where you can get inspired and get your creative juices flowing.

While pen to paper will never die, it’s great that artists now have an option to doodle with their tablets and make it easily accessible to others. So it’s time to start drawing!



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