When I was talking to telnar on the phone this morning, he suggested a sort of compromise on my ambivalence about buying a tablet. My main reluctance to buy one was that I figured I wouldn't use it, in much the same way that I don't use most of my art supplies. Telnar suggested I find a store witha 30-day return policy, then buy one from them, with the understanding that if I haven't gotten much use out of it within the 30 days, I'll return it.
While I was at the store, I looked at PDAs some more. I'm thinking I may keep waiting for them to get better and cheaper for a while yet. I'm just not impressed by the functionality on low-end models. Maybe i'm just not trying hard enough with them, but it seems like they wouldn't be particularly good even for something as simple as writing and uploading text.
But I did get the tablet. It's ... interesting. I'm not sure how much I like it yet. It is clearly a huge improvement, drawing-wise, over using a mouse, or a trackball, or, heaven forbid, a touchpad. (*shudder*)
It was easy to install. As a pointing device, it's hard to get used to. I find the double-click button awkward to use (it's too high up on the pen for my grip) and I have occasional trouble clicking, or not clicking, on things. Purely as a brush, however, it's straightforward and intuitive.
I haven't tried using Painter Classic, the paint program that came bundled with it, yet. I've been using it with Corel Photopaint, and it works fairly well there, though I'm not sure how well Photopaint utilizes the pressure-sensitivity of the pen. I ought to give Painter a try, really. I'm relcutant to because I am just now finally starting to understand how Photopaint works, and my learning curve is so bad on these things that I hate to think of trying to adapt to yet another program.
I spent about two and a half hours working with it. The results weren't bad; sort of like oil paints on a bad day. Then again, I wasn't using a visual reference for my work, and I always do better with a good reference. So that probably didn't help.
The worst part was my hand cramping. Tufty suggested the stylus might be too thin for me; I dunno. It's thicker than all but the fattest pens already, actually. I think I just have a bad way of gripping pens in general: too tightly, and too low. Whatever the case, my hand hurts now. I'll play with it some more in the morning. In the mean time, I really ought to get some writing done on Prophecy.