Stoo’s Picks

Here’s a few of the things I use in the process of doing what I do accompanied by a few words and links (some as affiliated links).

Over time I’ll be dropping more in here as short and concise review snippets, just enough to voice my opinion but not to send you off to sleep. Only a few to start off with but will be add more as I find the time. Cheers!” – Stoo

Rotring Tikky Mechanical Pencil

Since my school days, I’ve always liked mechanical pencils, the immediacy of the lead and precision of the line just worked for me. So I guess it comes as no surprise I draw more with these types of pencils than more traditional ones. Don’t get me wrong I do use normal pencil but prefer these for line work.

I discovered this brand of pencil after Shoo Rayner recommended them in one of his videos – he has a fantastic YouTube channel by the way. I find them comfortable to hold, and they deliver the lead without hassle. Having said that, re-filling them needs some getting used to as the mechanism is a bit tricky  to get the lead to appear after a new one has been inserted.

I think they’re pretty good value overall and are of a decent enough quality to feel comfortable in the hand, the little eraser inside the end cap comes in hand too.

Droid Star Rating:
4.5/5

* Affilite link *

Veikk A15 Tablet

June 2019, my old Wacom tablet was showing signs of failing – erratic pen detection and random straight lines which alas signalled the end for it. No matter what I tried I had no choice but to bin it and look for a replacement.

Initially I was going to go for another Wacom but by chance I’d seen a tablet advertised from a company called VEIKK. I hadn’t heard of  Veikk before let alone know about their products. This A15 model I really liked the look of, so I watched a few review videos and read a selection of comments on its Amazon(UK) page. It was on offer for £40, so I took the plunge and ordered one.

Over a year on, it still works, it’s pen is battery free which until recently was one of the big selling points of Wacom tablets. The drivers, once I’d uninstalled the Wacom once, worked great. There is an occasional screen mapping problem with dual screen setups, where it forgets the mapping after an awaken but it’s so minor it hasn’t hindered the use – doesn’t seem to be doing it so much after the last update.

So would I recommend this tablet?  I would for Windows 10, no idea what it’s like for Mac and I can say that under Linux Mint it behaves like a normal pointer device, so no pressure sensitivity being picked up, which is a shame as I wish more manufacturers supported Linux. One day?

Worth a look I’d say.

Droid Star Rating:
4.5/5

Krita Digital Art Software

A few years back I was looking at videos on YouTube for digital painting software that wasn’t Photoshop. I’d had some experience of MyPaint on Linux which is brilliant for sketching but wanted something with more advanced features. Krita popped up in my search along with a video by the excellent David Revoy. I was immediately impressed by the features it offered especially the brush engine , it looked brilliant! I took the plunge which in the case of Krita is no more than a click and an install and started to use it.

I don’t proclaim to be an expert using it but when I do use it the software doesn’t get in the way of being creative, it just does the job well, more so if like me you use keyboard shortcuts, this software sits comfortably with mouse/tablet and keyboard use. It has a fantastic brush engine with plenty of customisation so you can tweak the brush presets to exactly what you want. I could go on, I won’t. Take a look and try it out for yourself if you’re on the look out for something to get into digital art. Did I mention it’s free!

Droid Star Rating:
5/5

A4 LED Lightbox

Lightboxes used to be quite chunky – a light bulb inside a box with an opaque  panel to work on,  simple but effective. The one I used to use generated quite a bit of heat due to the incandescent bulb and had only one light setting, how things have changed looking at these new style models.

I bought this one for a project I was working on which required me to do a bit of tracing. It has 3 light settings, 4 if you include off which is great when working with different grades of paper and it uses a USB connector so you can power it from a USB battery pack, a charging cable or as I do from one of those power sockets with built in USB ports. The light diffusion is great with nice even coverage and the unit can be stored away without taking up lots of room – this A4 model is just under 4mm deep. 

There is a slightly longer review over at my portfolio site  stoocambridge.com with a couple of extra photos too.

Droid Star Rating:
5/5