Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Technology Improves Teaching - Cintiq Monitor

When I was in school in the Mesolithic Age we actually drew on this thing called paper with devices known as pencils. Now days art students often draw on electric tablets or monitors even though we encourage our students to stick with the paper and pencils for a while longer. But all of this technology has not only sped up the illustration process and made it much easier to make corrections - it's also made it much easier to teach!

The Cintiq monitor by Wacom or other pressure sensitive graphics monitors have enabled teachers to perform "draw overs". I just started doing draw overs last year for both my online and UVU students. In the past I had to do a little drawing off to the side of my students work - it was good but really doesn't compare to actually drawing on top of their drawing to show what decisions I would have made. If I had done that on an original drawing on paper it wouldn't allow for seeing the students drawing without my "drawover" - in other words the original drawing would be altered forever with my crappy drawover on top. The student would have had no way to continue working on their drawing after my critique.

It is amazing for teaching online because we're only dealing with sketches that have been scanned and emailed to us. We have to be able to show our students what we're talking about - so this technology has actually been a key factor in us being able to teach online. Above you can see some of my UVU students work (draw a polar bear / Viking) and my rough little drawover which doesn't go into detail but focuses on general construction. It makes teaching so much more satisfying and  - fun!...Thank you Wacom!


  1. I agree and disagree. Agree that it is making teaching easier for the reasons you mentioned.

    My caveman mind say that drawing is easier to learn and better with a stick and sand or paper and pencil ..... Anyone who has drawn on a tablet knows that there is just not the same feel ..... it is slippery. Slippery surfaces make learning things more difficult because of the lack of control (ice skating, drawing). Eventually you will learn to adapt to the surface since it is really only a different tool.

    I think the other problem when drawing on a computer is the ability to "zoom" in. With a paper and pencil you only have so much ability to noodle the detail. Drawing on a computer is a different beast and I see students zoomed in way too much... like anything over 100% .... and, really, on many screens 100% is almost 3 times as large as if you were working on paper. I know, screens are becoming higher res but the zoom drug is more enticing with higher res screens.

    There is an awful lot of nasty "tracing" that happens too. Nothing worse that taking bits and pieces from different images, cobbling them together, and tracing the result. No matter what anyone thinks...that has nothing to do with drawing.

    I have seen too many drawings done on a computer where the perspective is awful and round objects (wheels, etc) are anything but. There is no excuse when using a tool where you can draw prefect elipses and perspective grids to have basic things horribly wrong unless you don't know how to draw anyway. Then the computer just makes you look stupid and unskilled.

    You should learn to make things look good traditionally first and then switch to digital when you have the chops to bend the tool to your will.

    So much for the rant. It does make artists faster...those that know what they are doing...and it does make teaching easier. IMHO

    1. Great rant - couldn't agree more... It's made my life easier but I've also had to resist a lot of the "goodies" digital lures me with...knowing when and when not to is the key...which you must learn through the traditional.

  2. I wonder if the technology that students are growing up with is hampering their patience learning a craft or skill. They're seeing the end results of years of progress and process on Pinterest with a few clicks, then get frustrated when they are unable to create at the same level of skill. I love tech, and love that I can take classes online, but even for myself I have to dial it back when it comes to my expectations regarding my improvement. I also agree with the detail aspect. Digital really enables you to overwork something. I had a friend tell me that in order to really be skill in illustration, you have to be willing to ruin your drawing, e.g. to try something at a new level. With digital, there isn't as much risk, so the discovery aspect of a happy accident is muffled a bit too...


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