For quite a while now it has been possible to manifest your creativity on tablets rather than paper. There is special software for those who enjoy drawing, allowing them to create and store their creations directly onto their mobile device. Yet, if you started drawing on paper, you know that there’s a special feeling to that. The way a pencil slides on the surface of the paper feels very different to how a stylus feels moving on the smooth surface of a tablet. There are probably many people out there who would like to feel as though they were drawing on paper but still benefit from the advantages of using a mobile device.
While the desire to offer artists better and more natural working conditions has led to large improvements over the last few years, nothing has yet managed to beat the traditional pencil and paper surface. Companies active in this area are trying to develop a special pencil for tablets that will make people feel as if they are drawing on paper when they use their tablets. Is this even possible? Up until now, a stylus with a rubber or plastic tip has felt hugely different to a pencil when dragged on the glass surface of a tablet. This raises the question of how much drag such an item should offer in order to make the drawing experience feel more realistic. When it comes to such developments, there is always the risk of coming up with something that works well for some, while it can frustrate others. If you have ever tried drawing on a tablet, you will know that its smooth surface can be rather slippery, which can affect and influence the fine details of your drawings. Pushed by the desire to make things better, some have tried to look for solutions. These may include recommendations to cover the tip of the tablet’s pencil in soap or bread soda, to obtain that tactile “rough” experience you get when drawing on paper. This is not recommended as it may damage your tablet’s screen surface! Recently matte screen protectors have appeared, these increase the rough drag on the screen surface as you draw which can make you feel a difference. An example of such a screen protector is PaperLike, a product that, as advertised by its creator, will make your tablet feel like drawing on real paper.
Finally let us talk a little about haptic feedback. This is the effect encountered when a device reacts to inputs by the user, for example, a vibration when touched. This can be seen when the tablet’s pencil or stylus draws on screen in response to the user's movements, however there can be difficulties if the feedback is either too slow or too fast. Our brains know how drawing with a pen on paper should feel like. It is an effect and reaction recorded deep inside our brain, from our earliest days, and reinforced when we used to draw in a more traditional manner. Unfortunately, no tools available today can completely reflect the haptic feedback found when drawing with pencil and paper. We should feel confident that developers are working to find a solution to this. When this happens, technology will certainly shape the world of art and open new doors to artists from around the world.
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