Unique Uses

Unique Use for Wacom Tablets

Handwriting, like film, the stick shift and Myspace is a dying art form. We are a keyboard-driven society, fueled by emails, texts, tweets and posts. Yet ironically, typing classes are a thing of the past as well! We are so accustomed to tapping out messages, that when we do encounter hand-written text is almost a novelty. It grabs our attention, and in the right moments it can be absolutely endearing.

Designer, Cristina Vanko took the art form to a whole new level when she picked up her father’s old calligraphy pen. She set out on a little project; handwriting texts to her friends as opposed to typing them. A novel mix of old skool and new skool communications you could say.

Loose Leaf Note“Digital handwriting” is a natural for tablet users. With a pressure sensitive pen and any drawing or painting application, you essentially have a digital version of a piece of paper and pen, pencil, crayon, you name it! Consider scribbling a note and sending it to a friend to let them know you care. In this case, I created a piece of loose leaf paper and wrote over the top of it with a simple drawing tool.

On a similar note, (pun intended) your signature is one of the most important things that you will ever sign. And sign you must, countless documents in a lifetime. Many of these documents are in PDF form today. Don’t print them out only to sign, mail, fax or (gasp) scan them back into the computer to email to someone. Using Adobe Acrobat, you can easily sign your documents and send them off in seconds. Check out the video, "Using a Pen with Adobe Acrobat Pro" to see just how easy it is.

Or maybe you don’t need to actually “sign” a document, rather just add a signature to one--similar to an image--such as a cover letter. For example, using Photoshop I created a blank document roughly the size of a signature field and signed my professional name (just kidding) on a transparent layer. Discarding the background layer, I saved this image as a .png (which supports transparency) so that I can add it to any document such as Word, Excel and Outlook as an image.


In these examples above, I’ve basically referred to everyday “hand-written” tasks… Here are a few more. Chances are you’ve had to make a presentation in your day. If you use PowerPoint you can use the pen tool to annotate and mark up slides to stress points within a presentation. Next time you are pitching that kick-ass idea, or gearing up for a riveting TED talk, don’t put your audience to sleep with boring transitions, make the screen come alive by getting to the point with your pen! Ok, the puns are getting bad. I’m through.

Finally, on the subject of presentations, think about education and instruction. Complex ideas and even a few easy ones are best explained in visual form. The award winning educational website, Kahn Academy, founded by Salman Kahn a graduate of MIT and Harvard Business School uses a Wacom pen on a digital “blackboard” (also a dying artform) to write out math equations during lessons.

Cehck out his lesson below on Scientific Notation. Ok, you don't have to watch the whole thing, but advance a minute or two and you'll get the idea.

Want to create a similar scenario to Kahn Academy’s blackboard concept. Open a drawing application such as Corel Painter, Sketchbook Pro or even Photoshop. Create a new document and fill it with the color black. Next, select a drawing tool of choice and set it’s color to a bright color, enter full-screen mode and draw away!

Outside of drawing (pictures) and retouching photos, a pen and tablet simply bring familiar “writing” tasks to a digital form. By the way, this concept is not limited to the computer alone. Consider the same concepts with mobile pens and tablets, such as the Bamboo Stylus, or the Intuos Creative Stylus.

Whether you create a digital pen and paper with your tablet and a computer or a stylus and an iPad, make a mark with a personal touch. Your motivation will be fueled by the smile that you put on the recipient’s face.


Weston Maggio Follow Wes Maggio on Twitter @westonmaggio and/or Google+


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