Saturday, May 19, 2012

Genius Fail

I have been using a graphic tablet device for many years. The Wacom tablet has always been out of my price range and as such the first tablet I bought myslef was a Genius. Years later I got to try out someone's Wacom and it responded a little differently to what I was used to so I decided to stick with the Genius products and continue to use them. However, yesterday my G-Pen 450 stopped working. I have replaced the battery, replaced the pen tip, re-installed the CD, and downloaded the driver off the internet. Still not working. I have tried it on 3 different machines, all of which it worked on just days ago. I have tried it in different USB ports.

Another sad G-pen, being ignored by it's tablet.
The problem is, the tablet is being recognised - I get a message saying the device is installed and ready to use when I plug it in, and the little tablet icon appears at the bottom of my screen as normal, but I get no response of any sort when I tap the pen to it. In total I have bought 4 Genius tablets in the last 7 years and each time they get to this point - the pen just stops working. For no good reason. And each time I go out and buy another one, because there never seems to be any solutions to the problem, and because I have yet to actually see another brand of tablet in any shop in South Africa. Even if I could afford a Wacom (the Oscar winner of tablets), I would apparently have to go overseas to get it. Yes, it's a little out of my price range.

So my question is this: Is the Genius tablet just a really shoddy product, or is this fail that inevitably happens at all avoidable or fixable? It is worth noting that I do not use my tablet on a daily basis, but once in a blue moon for a few days and then again a few weeks later, so it can hardly be a wear and tear issue.I have had it for under two years. I know people who are still using their Wacom's ten years on.

I have Googled my problem endlessly today and all I find are a bunch of other unhappy souls with the same problem... and no solution. If anyone out there has an answer, or would like to send me a decent tablet, I would be ecstatic to hear from you. After years of using this make of product and encouraging others to buy it even though EVERY TIME it fails me, I must deduce that I am not all that clever, and neither is Genius.

Update: I have found somewhere to buy a Wacom tablet in South Africa! The on-line store: Loot.co.za. Don't know why I didn't think of them. I discovered them a few years back when I was looking for a particular art book and they were the only place that had it. I also discovered that they were R200 cheaper on another art book I had been looking at at Exclusive Books so I bought it straight away! Their priced are fantastic, cheaper every time, and their service is great, delivering to your door, and usually ahead of schedule. So now I just need to decide which Wacom I want from this lovely selection... and wait for my next pay cheque... :) Yay Loot!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Have sketchbook, will sketch.

It's been a really, really, long time since I last posted anything. It's also been a really, really, long time since I've done anything arty or creative to post about. Not counting work, which is a bit creative I suppose, since it's web and graphic design (a real office job  *shudder*) or counting painting furniture (I've been doing a little house makeover.)

Anyway, I suddenly got the urge a few weeks back to do some personal artwork again. Don't really know what triggered it, but it's great and I'm getting a little addicted.

I hadn't put actual pencil to real paper in probably two or three years now(!), with all the digital stuff I've been doing for work, but I really wanted to get back to it. I also desperately wanted to start a sketchbook/ visual journal project - like these:
http://www.oliverjeffers.com/illustrations/sketch-book-2
http://crookiesblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/trip.html
http://laramellon.blogspot.com/2012/01/sketchbook-project-2012.html

Every time I see one  (and there are loads of these beauties on-line) I feel pangs of envy and guilt that I haven't managed to make one yet myself. And I've always wanted to. For some reason I never get past the first few pages before losing interest. Nonetheless, a few weeks back I headed out with Pinterest-inspired high hopes and bought myself a shiny new (pink) sketch book. And promptly sat down to try to remember how to draw. With a pencil. On paper.

And it wasn't easy. The biggest challenge was not being able to Ctrl+z after I erased a huge portion of detail (the eyes), redrew, and then decided I preferred the first version and wanted to go back. Bugger. No undo. But here it is, my first, rather tentative, pencil sketch that I did in March, of my beautiful niece Hadas. It's drawn from a photograph.




Since then, I have only managed to fill two or three more pages of my sketchbook (hopeless, I know), but it did kick start me into working on some projects I have had in mind for a while, mostly to do with digital illustration, and large pieces I want to do for my home. I also received a phone call last week from a lady who bought one of my paintings a while back and has now commissioned me to do something new for her. Her timing is perfect and I am quite excited to get cracking on that. There is plenty going on to post about now, so watch this space, I will be back.