I carried my 13" MacBook Pro to work with me every day. And since I kept everything open and just closed the lid when packing up to go home, I often found myself taking it out of my bag at home as well. Sure, I’m surrounded by big displays, powerful desktop hardware, comfortable mechanical keyboards… …but the MacBook already had all the right pages open in all the right apps. And all I had to do was open the lid.
The MacBook was very much a daily driver, and I was looking forward to using my V in similar fashion. Thing is… working from home for Eve, I don’t really need a mobile device nearly as much as I did when I spent half my days out of the house. I can start my projects from the comfort of my desktop, with all the processing power and comfortable peripherals that come with it, and finish them there as well. My V, in the end, became more a plaything than a tool. And that’s not a bad thing, because it makes for an amazing plaything!
So, what’s with all the exposition and backstory? What it comes down to, is that I don’t use my V much if at all for office-like tasks. I call on it when I want to read things from my comfortable chair (and it sure is nicer for that than my Mac was), or… …when I need the pen. I used to have a 12" Wacom Cintiq mounted alongside my monitor. Though it offered tilt (which I do feel is a good feature to have for artsy purposes), I’ve happily traded that one benefit in for a much better screen and all that portability.
So in short, my V, my V Pen, and I, are the best of friends. And that’s led me to look deeper into what Windows will allow me to do with my pen: enter last year’s Windows 10 Anniversary Update and Windows Ink Workspace.
So, what is this thing I’m talking about? For about a year or so now, pen-enabled Windows devices have had a little pen icon in their system tray that opens up into Windows Ink Workspace.
It’s a quick menu that offers access to Sticky Notes, Sketchpad and Screen Sketch. I’ve never been a bit paper Post-It user, so using them digitally never really caught on with me. But Sketchpad makes my face happy!
It’s simple, yes, and the tools are limited. And that’s one of the reasons I gave it a try: Without layers and all the fancy adjustment options that Photoshop has to offer, I can’t fiddle around as much with the things I’m drawing. It puts me closer to a pencil and paper sketching experience. I still have my beloved Undo-button, of course. Wouldn’t want to be without that!
I’ve taken to using Windows Sketchpad for my daily figure drawing practice, where I do model drawings in a few minutes each. I’ve played around with the various tools a bit, and found the pencil to be remarkably detailed (including simulation of using the side of a pencil tip on my Cintiq which supports tilt, though that doesn’t weigh up against the ability to sketch anywhere I want with the V).
figure drawing practice - potentially NSFW
Of course the tools are also detailed enough to quickly jot down ideas when explaining them with words just doesn’t do the trick:
using it for work
And sometimes you really don’t need any advanced tools, when you’re just playing around…
after a conversation that involved X-Ray machines and SnapChat...
Then there is Screen Sketch. Which really is just a combination of taking a screenshot, and using it as a background in Sketchpad. It offers some convenience when making annotations, though!
This is also very similar to the Windows Ink feature built into the default Windows 10 image viewer, which allows you to use some of the Sketchpad tools on images.
when family members are curious about where that meeting took place
It has its uses, though. I recently re-arranged a bunch of furniture, and having a good think about it beforehand (as well as a blueprint of the house) allowed me to try some stuff without having to lug heavy things around.
I still ended up half a centimeter short along one wall...
That turned into a longer piece than I thought it would… So, that’s my little story for today. Half the times I grab my V it starts and ends with using Windows Ink Workspace. Do you use it? Did I miss any useful tricks? Are you an avid Sticky Notes user? Discuss!