Sunday, February 19, 2017

Having Fun with Graphic Tablet

The first time I tried illustrating my own ESL worksheet, I used the free software that came with my computer (Paint or something similar) and my finger on the trackpad. With these two tools, I was able to create rudimentary line drawings for my activity pack for Mo Stays Warm.

But as I bounced from application to application, joining user forums while going through tutorials multiple times, I continued to struggle with concepts like layers, smoothing, etc. My fantasy was that someone would just GIVE me Photoshop and send a digital native to my house for my personal tutoring sessions each evening.

Then by some serendipitous miracle, I learned of the existence of an affordable ($99 CAD) graphic tablet. I watched a few online demos of a lovely woman creating impressive oils, pastels and watercolours using nothing but her little stylus and some free (with the purchase of the tablet) software. After that, there was no hope for me. I had to have it.

I'm pleased to report that this little tool is my new best friend when it comes to creating my own settlement English materials. The software (ArtRage Lite) is super intuitive. Within hours I had succeeded in replicating the pastel in the tutorial.

I experimented with tracing a photo using the felt tips and some watercolour.

Some features stumped me at first, but I relied on user forums for help, though trial and error is more fun.
And now, several weeks later, I am using the Intuos Draw and ArtRage Lite whenever I need graphics for my classroom materials.

And that's my happy joy joy post for this week. How about you? What floats your boat as an English language teacher?

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