An Inkling of the Future for Illustrators
It all starts with an idea – your idea! How many times have you wished you could sketch anywhere on any paper and then be able to transfer all that back on to your PC to tweak and twiddle with at your own leisure? We all love our moleskines and can not bear to be detached from them at any cost, yet the trouble of scanning those pages into a digital format seems a rather daunting task and transforms the carefree joy of sketching in to a monotonous repetitious chore. All great ideas originate in the mind and take shape on paper with the help of the mighty pen. We all wish the ideas in our heads that grow into sketches and scribbles in our notebooks, on paper napkins, etc. would go straight into the software that we use to weave our magic, but sadly the work is stuck on paper until we get to a desk and scan the image.
Enter the Inkling! This digital sketch pen allows you to sketch with a real ballpoint pen on any paper. While drawing, all strokes are recorded electronically and can then be imported as raster or vector artwork in to a preferred graphics application for further editing. So no need to scan and redraw your sketches and with just one button click one can record layers, in order to separate preparatory and final drawings which are even retained after import.
No learning curve or new tricks to tango with, just switch on the Inkling, attach the receiver to the paper and start sketching – in a sketchbook, on napkins, loose sheets of paper, anything! Yes, the Inkling doesn’t require dedicated paper with special coating or pattern. You would only need to attach the Inkling receiver to one edge and it will track the Inkling pen on any sheet up to A4 (21 x 29.7 cm or 8 x 11”) size.
Like a stylus but the Inkling will allow designers to begin work in the traditional manner, with a real pen on paper, rather than a graphics tablet staring at a computer screen, while also ousting the tedious step of scanning and vectorizing. Wacom claims that the Inkling will bridge the gap between traditional sketching and drawing digital solution with a combination of both. Like other electronic styluses, the Inkling consists of one stylus, which is sensitive to 1024 interchangeable pressure levels and also a receiver, to pinch and place at the top of a sheet or a notebook, which transcribes the movement in vector graphics, using ultrasound, and stores them in it’s internal memory. In addition to the power button, a second button is used to structure the various phases of design, which then will be divided into digital layers.
The unit then connects via USB to a computer to transfer your work to the Inkling Sketch Manager from where you can export to Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and Autodesk Sketchbook Designer, or a plain vector file (PDF/SVG) or raster (PNG/JPEG). The receiver covers an area equivalent to an A4 page and provides an accuracy of ±2.5 mm. While this may be a relatively small area, I think it’s perfect as a handy and portable sketching tool that can be used just about everywhere. The battery lasts 8 hours and it takes 3 hours to charge.
Here’s to the simple joys of sketching with the dubious digital pleasures of editing and illustrating. Thanks to technology and it’s radical advances, we can stay true to our basic skills that define our art and enhance them with the digital tools that define our trade today.