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Working with a tablet; FABULOUSLY ORANGE cat head

Using a Kindle Fire tablet for drawing reference (Work in Progress pencil sketch). Click on picture to see larger version. (Reference photo is from

I thought I’d write a little bit about a common tool used by artists: A digital tablet.

Many artists report that tablets are superior for displaying reference photos. Tablets are not limited by the resolution of a print on paper. You can zoom in on an image to see far more detail. The colors are often more accurate and with a wider range.

It was recommended to me to get an iPad Air, which I love, love, love! It’s got a larger screen and beautiful color (though the color leans a bit cool). But then I needed a “backup” tablet. I got a Samsung Galaxy 4 Tab (7 inches).  It’s a lot smaller than the iPad, but I found it was okay for my uses. I installed the “I (Heart) Radio” app and listen to the radio as I paint. (The same can be done on the iPad.)

Then I also started using my Kindle Fire tablet (Fire HD 7″) to display reference photos for some drawings. (See image above.)

I highly recommend using a tablet for displaying reference photos. Before you buy one, it’s important to be able to look at the tablet in person to see if the color and resolution are to your liking. The higher the screen’s resolution and screen size, the better. But, get what you can afford.

You will have to adjust the screen’s brightness (I prefer a brighter screen) and also tinker with the display settings so the screen is not dimming or turning off every five minutes! (The iPad can be set so the screen never dims, while the Android Tablet and the Fire will have maximum time limits like one hour or 30 minutes.)

Be sure to buy a screen protector for your tablet, so your paint-smeared hands don’t mess it up!

“Fabulously Orange,” 6×6″ oil on panel. My tablet is seen at the edge of the table (in a purple case).

Here’s a painting I completed tonight. I used the Samsung 7-inch tablet to display my reference photo.

Again, I must emphasize that the Samsung tablet was a bit on the small side. I often had to zoom into some portion of the photo in order to get any decent detail.

“FABULOUSLY ORANGE,” 6×6″ oil on panel.

And here’s the finished painting! I enjoyed painting this cat’s portrait; what a fabulously bodacious kitty! And so very, very orange!

Currently I’m working in a small corner of one room at home. The weather is unpredictable and my life is such right now that I’m not able to sneak away to the studio as much as I’d like. But I must keep painting! So the corner studio it is!

I admit that I’ve been spoiled by having my own personal studio, because it’s away from the demands and distractions at home. I get a lot of work done there. But through most of my life, I worked at home, and that is the norm for most artists.

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