Like singing, many people consider drawing as a you-have-it or you-don’t sort of talent.
One of our colleagues, Vicky, feels that exact way. When questioned if the ability to draw was an inborn talent or a developed skill, he unhesitatingly answered that it was innate.
So we decided to put it to the test.
The new Samsung Galaxy Tab A (we got the 8.0″, LTE variant) comes in two colours—black and gray—with an S Pen and 32GB of storage It has a 1920 x 1200 resolution, and is small enough to slip into a medium sized handbag, clearly meant for quick sketches, designing or note taking, or even watching videos on the go.
The branding and feel of the tablet seems to be portability and ease of use, but what we got excited about was a little feature on one of the pre-installed apps, PENUP.
PENUP’s Live Drawing feature allows you to follow along as a pre-recorded artist draws, and with it, it looked like you were able to create art, or some semblance of it.
An example of the live drawing:
We put our colleagues (including Vicky) on the spot to try drawing on this tablet.
Our colleagues have varying skill levels, but the procedure was similar:
- They choose what image to attempt.
- We give them simple instructions (e.g. the video will play, then pause it any time to follow along; the thickness of the line drawn is also affected by the amount of pressure put onto it).
- They draw and we take note of the time taken.
Without further ado, we present the budding artists of our company (original designs on the left, drawings on the right).
Venxhin, Artist Self-Ranking: 3.5/10
Venxhin said that she’s never been able to draw human eyes or hair, so she went straight to a challenge that made her draw both.
“It was really easy drawing on the tablet. The S Pen is nice, it was easy to use, and it responded well the the pressure. If you look at the varying thickness of the hair, part of it came from adjusting the brush thickness, but some of it was done by adjusting the pressure as I drew.”
However, since she’s left-handed, she spent a bit of time trying to figure out how to move the palette and the menu to the right side, but gave up.
Note: We tried Googling for left-handed usage with the S Pen and found that usually, individual apps may choose to offer left-handed support instead.
Aside from that minor quibble, she gave herself a 4.5 as an artist when assisted by the programme.
Fud, Artist Self-Ranking: 5/10
Fud had a go at drawing a 3D watermelon. She enjoyed drawing a simple shape while watching the video guide.
“The video guide was helpful as it had step-by-step details on outlining, filling, shading, highlights and colors,” she said.
She ranked herself as an intermediate artist, with the help from the video guide.
“Sometimes I am not good at shading and highlighting (by direction and placement), but following the guide helped,” she added.
Vicky, Artist Self-Ranking: 2/10
Vicky picked a landscape because he thought it’d be easy, but boy, was he wrong. He realised that he needed a lot of patience to paint something similar to the original one.
He described the process itself as easy-to-follow, but it was getting the details right and the amount of time it took that got him slightly riled up.
“It’s mediocre at best but I’m really proud of what I did especially for someone who’s impatient in this kind of things,” he said.
Anna, Artist Self-Ranking: 3/10
Anna admitted that she is not good at drawing animals. Still she picked a red panda to see if she could do better when drawing on the tablet.
“The S Pen was surprisingly smooth. It was really easy to perform strokes and colour the red panda’s entire body without putting a lot of effort,” she said.
Although the video guide is lengthy, she felt that the tablet and S Pen are good tools for beginners.
“It is a lot more fun than a physical colouring book because you don’t get punished for your mistakes,” she added.
With the help of the tablet, she gave herself at least a 6.5 as an artist.
Matt, Artist Self-Ranking: 6/10
A seasoned sketcher and doodlist, Matt skipped the video tutorial section and chose to interpret the drawing in his own way.
Trying to get more comfortable, he put his palm on the screen while drawing but it didn’t turn out the way he wanted.
“I wanted to get better curve or angle lines but the tablet detected my palms and made the paper zoom,” he said.
Note: This is due to PENUP’s touch to zoom settings, which got triggered by Matt’s movements.
The S Pen was really the star of the day, and we found that its sensitivity was on point, particularly when we were trying for fine or coarse lines.
Besides that, even though some of the artists chose to hold the tablet while drawing (as opposed to laying it flat on a table like a piece of paper), they agreed that it’s easy to hold the tablet for quite a while. Samsung is also marketing the tablet as kid-friendly, which makes sense because of its size and weight.
For anyone hoping to unleash your inner artist, the PENUP app is not exclusive to Samsung (though it was built by them). However, it has been optimised for Samsung’s S Pen, so your drawing experience might be affected if you try it on other devices.