I Moved! + Reveal of the Wacom Cintiq

Did you miss me?

Over the last month I moved out of an apartment, and into a house. It’s been a phenomenal move, but it meant that for a few weeks my art setup was chaotic while I packed everything up… and then for a few weeks it was chaotic while I got everything unpacked. BUT the hard work is complete, and I’m more than ready to be back in the saddle.

Want to hear about the Most Exciting Thing (ever)? You may remember me referencing this in my last post, where I built a new art computer.

(Drum roll please…)

I am now the delighted owner of a (used) Wacom Cintiq!

I’ve been using digital drawing tablets since high school, and Wacom is the king of the mountain when it comes to the technology. But they don’t do it cheap (at all. At ALL.) and they know how good they are. Which means that a Cintiq model was something I never seriously considered, it was just so far out of my price range.

(For those not in the know, the Cintiq model of drawing tablet not only has useful buttons, and an incredibly pressure sensitive surface… it has a display surface you draw directly on, and is the most ‘like’ traditional media drawing you can get while going digital. It’s really cool!)

And then suddenly a local friend of mine (and FANTASTIC artist) Rhea Ewing was selling their used model, as they’d upgraded to the latest version of Cintiq.

I dithered about it for a long time, and I talked it over with a particular group of online friends, who all agreed that while it was extremely nice, I probably didn’t ‘need’ it and saving money was a good plan since I was in the middle of a move. So I resigned myself to getting alone with my perfectly fine tablet, and leaving visions of the Cintiq to ‘someday.’

(Bet you weren’t expecting this story to go this direction.)

(Drum roll please…)

And then that group of friends sent me a letter full of very lovely words. And in that letter was money to buy the used Cintiq. I was speechless (and still am, a bit.)

My first act on this fantastic piece of art equipment was to doodle them all a thank you.

Sometimes the universe tells you to do a thing, go a direction, make a choice. Sometimes your friends do. And in that situation, you listen to the damned message. I am still stunned, and humbled, and exceptionally grateful.

But I bet you really just wanted to see a picture of it, didn’t you. 😉 This is it!

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Art space in the new place is my bedroom. Don’t mind the random cat toys!

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Working on the Cintiq is not only super functional, it’s FUN.

I have a lot of learning curve to figure out on this machine, and (sadly) it doesn’t magically transform my art into Michelangelo status. But it’s great to work on, and I feel a lot more connected with the art I make digitally.

Thanks for reading!

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And From the Motherboard Ashes… (An Art Computer is Born!)

You may recall in my last post that my computer decided to give up the ghost.  It is still dead, and did not magically return from beyond the grave.

Remember, too, that pile of boxes containing computer parts…?

(Pictured: a cute case, the motherboard, the CPU, the power supply, a 120 SSD hard drive, 16 gigs of RAM, a box of speakers, and a keyboard and mouse.)

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That turned into this:

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(Pictured: a half-filled computer case, with the motherboard, CPU, and other fiddly bits still outside the case)

Which eventually turned into a computer!

Several friends and youtube videos were consulted as I started putting together a computer for the first time, and I would have been sunk without them. But other than the learning curve, once you get going it’s not bad. It’s shocking (or not, rather, as I went to great lengths to avoid static electricity that might fry the delicate components during this!) that you can put together a computer with nothing more than a screw driver!

Attempt #1 at building a computer… was a failure. Lights and fans were a go, but no life once plugged into a monitor, and I began wondering if I’d made a horrible mistake by undertaking this plan. Computers are fussy little things, and when they don’t work, it’s hard to tell if it’s because something’s unplugged somewhere, or because you fried the CPU!

So I put it away for the day and took it apart and tried again the next day.

Luckily, attempt #2 the following night (during, I might add, a thunderstorm*) was a home run. 🙂

Check it out!

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(Pictured: a computer with the sides and top of the case still pulled off, but fully functional)

That, right there, is a working computer. 🙂

As of this morning, said cute little box of wires and plastic and metal (and cords. So many cords) is running Windows 10 and has my CS6 version of Photoshop installed and running like a dream.

Despite some worries and concerns and a few minor hiccups, operation Build a New Art Computer has (so far) been a total success. I have a computer with 16 gigs of RAM, ready to take on any Photoshop file I throw at it.

I can’t wait to dig in again. I’ve been without an art computer for 2 weeks now, and have missed it.I love drawing by hand and painting with traditional media, but sometimes the answer is to have as many options at your disposal as possible.

PS,

There’s going to be a 3rd installation to this story, very likely in the next week or so, about a very cool piece of technology I’m planning on acquiring…

Curious?

Stay tuned!

PPS,

This entry wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the cat assistance I was rendered during this build. Curious Georgia loves new things to explore with her entire body, and this computer was no different. In addition to my quest to make sure I was safely discharging static electricity before touching any of the components, I also quested– endlessly and fruitlessly– to remove stray cat hairs. 😉

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(Pictured: A cat doing what cats do best: sitting on things you don’t really want them to be sitting on)

Footnote:

* Thunderstorm, new life… is it any surprise I named the computer Frankie? 😉

Bad Luck Comes in Threes (Or, the Saga of the Fried Computer)

Know that saying, that bad luck comes in threes? I’ve decided it’s true. I had two car-related instances of bad luck (a tire needed replacing, and then while waiting to get that fixed, my car was broken into and a window smashed!) and then the real kicker– my trusty iMac of nearly 6 years went to sleep and didn’t wake up.

(If you are on my monthly newsletter, you already got that piece of information.)

Unlucky me, right?

Well, I’m an annoying optimist.

With the sad demise of one machine (and nearly 6 years for a computer isn’t a bad run) brings the opportunity for the birth of another. And because I’d semi-recently backed up my computer, I’m fairly certain I only lost around 2 weeks of work. (I’ll know for sure what the damage is when the new machine is up and running.)

I use a computer for art quite a lot, so I really feel the push to get a solution in place so I don’t fall behind on my commitments to people. In the interim, several extremely kind art friends are helping me format things so I can keep up with CC:Otherworlds.

The options were these: buy a refurbished iMac and be up and running with Photoshop within a few days. This option was tempting, because it was the low-risk solution. I know how to do art on Macs, and they’re the industry “standard” for artists. But they’re also extremely expensive, even refurbished. Yes it would be fast and easy, but sometimes that’s not the right long-term decision.

So I started looking at option #2… building a PC that meets my needs exactly. AKA I don’t need a crazy fancy graphics card, because I don’t play very many PC games (Yes, I know they’re great. Maybe someday when I have more time!) but I do need loads of RAM so I can open and run smoothly my enormous Photoshop files. Luckily I have several delightful friends who have built PCs of their own, and were able to hold my hand through the process of selecting parts.

Meanwhile, I’m about 80% confident I’ll be able to get my version of Photoshop running on a PC, and vaguely hopeful about some other software that might be able to carry over. But there is definitely a level of risk here. Things might not go the way I plan, and it’s not going to be an easy or smooth transition… and the hard part (actually building the computer) is yet to come…

😉

Stay tuned for the exciting next piece of this saga, as I turn this collection of boxes into (fingers crossed) a functioning art PC…

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