Using tablet + stylus for type design

I've been wondering if any of you use tablet + stylus for type design, and if so, in what ways.


  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 187
    I just ues a mouse and the keyboard.  I haven't used a stylus yet.

  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,042
    The Intuit screens with touch and stylus input can be nice, because you can use the stylus to precisely pick a point on a contour and move it, instead of the bezier handles, keying into your pencil drawing hand eye coordinaioco skills.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 883
    I often use a tablet for drawing dingbats, symbols and emojis in FontLab Studio. I've never found it useful for drawing letters. Even when I use it for symbols, I always move the drawings to the mask layer and redraw it with a mouse.
  • Ori Ben-DorOri Ben-Dor Posts: 250
    edited May 2018
    @Dave Crossland
    What apps have you been using for that? And what kind of curves, if not Bezier?

    @Ray Larabie
    So you basically use it like you would use real paper for sketches, right?
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 883
    Yes. If I could draw with pixels it would be even better.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,122
    edited May 2018
    I haven't found tablets to be very useful for working in font editors, or vector-based apps in general, but they do work well for pixel-base things like Photoshop.

    I've lobbied off and on about the possibility of adding a pixel-based (background) drawing layer to Glyphs. It think it would be useful. Last I heard, there were some technical reasons that would make it tricky and that some kind of vector-paint style thing would be more feasible.
  • I use a wireless Wacom tablet of the same form factor as my laptop (so it's easy to grab along anywhere), and use it laying next to the computer for all drawing tasks, while using my left hand for UI navigation, modifier keys and inputting numeric values, etc. This is almost exclusively drawing and editing beziers, though, not so much using the actual gestural drawing or painting flow. To me it's just a much more comfortable pointer device. I really enjoy making paper sketches, so I almost never use the tablet to sketch digitally. For metrics or kerning tasks I'll just drop the pen and use the keyboard exclusively.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,042
    I saw Octavio Pardo working this way, with glyphsapp and stock Intuit software. (I don't refer to a different spline but to a standard feature of bezier contour editors where you can click and drag a contour at any point)
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,122
    stock Intuit software

    What are you referring to here? Surely not Quickbooks or Turbotax.
  • Ori Ben-DorOri Ben-Dor Posts: 250
    But isn't it hard to place nodes precisely using a stylus (or tablet in general)?

    Does any of you know of a video where I can see this method in action? It doesn't have to be in the context of type design, of course, but I am interested in the kind of precision typical for type design.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,511
    Somehow I think Dave wrote Intuit when he meant Wacom? Maybe?
  • Marc OxborrowMarc Oxborrow Posts: 127
    There's a tablet line from Wacom called Intuos.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,122
    Ah, of course. I thought maybe it was some libre thing I hadn't heard of. :-)
  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 334
    I once mucked about with a Glyphs plugin for doing broad-nib emulation with a Wacom tablet:

  • I've wondered whether type designers would like using the combination of Surface Studio and Dial, if an app like Fontlab or other app that runs on Windows were to provide custom UI for the Dial.

  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,404
    edited May 2018
    I’ve used a stylus and tablet since 1990, I never touch a mouse or any other cursor control device.

    I “wrote” Handsome (a “handwritten” script face) with a stylus, using Fontographer’s pen tool, but other than that all my type drawing has been done by manipulating selected BCPs, (except for the basic shape drawing tools).
  • Ori Ben-DorOri Ben-Dor Posts: 250
    Thanks for you comments!
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,042
    (Sorry, yes, I meant Intuos, not Intuit, LOL)
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