Stylus VS Mouse

Now I know there will be two ends of the spectrum when it comes to designing and illustrating with a Wacom or mouse. There are many talented designers that cringe at the thought of a Wacom and visa versa.

This is solely my experience with the mouse and stylus and how it’s changed my workflow dramatically.

Looking back now in college, I never once touched a pen tablet. Everything was taught via a mouse! All those illustration and art classes with a mouse; It kind of makes me cringe. Although my degree is Interactive Media Design, so more web based, but still! I’m not sure how I went another two years without using a stylus. This was back in the day when my design career was just budding. I was still getting the “Eye” and trying not to bevel emboss everything I made and put a drop shadow on it. Thankfully that trend ended quickly after reading about design and seeing what the design community was doing.

Most all of my work that you see is with a mouse. Up until a month ago. I’m not saying I’m some kind of design guru, but I’ll tell you what. My design skills and pace has dramatically improved when I started using a Wacom full time. Instead of the mouse feeling like it was an object to use to navigate, the stylus felt like another part of my hand. I now effortlessly flip through layers, use shortcuts galore and feel like I zoom across the screen with my stylus faster than I ever could with a mouse. Anchor points in illustrator are a breeze and even the slightest movement of my hand is detected! MAGIC! Almost as magical as rainbows and unicorns…but not quite!

It took me about two weeks to get used to the stylus. My hand was cramping up terribly and I was holding the pen way too tight. I’ve learned to take breaks often and to loosely hold the pen. I also put it down or hold it in my lap when I’m reading or studying my work. That way my hand gets some rest.  I feel like my stylus has become my little buddy. My latest and greatest design tool!
I’m so glad I’ve finally come to the other side. I know it took awhile but I was so afraid of being hindered and slow! This all happened one day because I forgot my magic mouse at home when I went into work. Which forced me to use my Wacom all day. After that day decided I’d keep using it to see what would happen. I haven’t gone back since.

Maybe it’s worth a try for you. Like I said it’s not for everyone!
I am a lefty so I inverted my Wacom board, flipped it around and have my keyboard on my right side. It works really well for me. I’ve also found a way to hold both my stylus and pencil in one hand. So awesome! Be careful not to get your stylus confused with a pen. You can mark up your board if you’re not paying attention. ;)

Oh, I work on an Intuos 4, great size and very comfortable pen!

Happy designing!