Tag Archives: Ergonomics

Writer-Artist Ergonomics

Keys
Here I am at the the letter E and it’s not difficult to choose a topic: ergonomics.

I’m not going to go on about the (not enough) options out there, despite my daily battle with wrist/arm pain. One of my dearest friends in the multiverse, Natania Barron, has already written what I think is the best post on the subject, and since she writes for Wired’s Geekmom, you can trust her thoughts on the matter.

Like Natania, I write for a good part of my day. The other part of the day, I paint on an older Wacom Intuos. I’m always at my desk.

My desk was a hand-me-down from a local friend. It’s an IKEA Galant and as much as I think it’s attractive in my office—and matches my Billy shelf—it wasn’t made for writer-artists. Even after installing IKEA’s Summera keyboard tray, I was miserable. It’s a short tray and doesn’t quite hold everything I need.

But: FREE DESK. So!

For my tablet, I keep a laptop desk nearby. Seriously: just for the tablet. Hey, it’s adjustable! And forty bucks is a lot better for an adjustable art table than the high cost of other, more easel-like, options.

I have a Macbook, but it’s always attached to a ginormous monitor, so it pretends to be a desktop. I also have a G4 tower on the floor I can swap out when the need arises; it’s old, but it has all of my STUFF on it. And there’s the first-generation iPad… which I use with Corel’s Cinco for Painter.

I currently have two Apple keyboards—and I hate them both. Until it died on me a few months ago, I relied on an ancient split Nu-Form keyboard. I miss that thing like whoa, so I finally ordered Adesso’s Tru-Form. I chose it over the Goldtouch because of my fond, comfortable memories of that old split-key.

But neither the Adesso nor the Goldtouch offered a USB for the mouse. I know what you’re thinking: who uses anything but wireless now? Me. Sometimes.

I own a lot of mice. Really: a lot of input devices. Trackpad, trackball, wireless, and wired… and that’s not even counting the four-button mouse and pen that the tablet came with. Yet, the only thing my hand really likes is the low-profile, adorably round, single-button, often-slighted puck mouse.

Ooh. Someone at Low End Mac who feels like I do!

I have a collection of puck mice from my days working in a computer lab. I love the things so much that, when I ordered my Macbook, my customer note to Apple said: “This Macbook will be used with a puck mouse.” —because I knew, having once worked for Apple myself, that it would give someone over there a laugh. That feature-free little puck hurts my wrist the least. Maybe it’s because I end up using the keyboard shortcuts more with a one-button mouse.

Right now, I’m hoping the new keyboard will help. Plus, I’ve got a little clamp-on mouse shelf for whatever input device I choose to use with it. I also have a selection of gel-filled wrist rests and even microfiber covering my desk chair armrests. Next thing will either be a new desk or at least a better keyboard tray. But ergonomics—man, what a pain in the wrists!

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Technology for Artists

Technology for the artist: at your fingertips

‘C’ is a letter that I can make a long list for, but I might go around again with alphabetical posting, so today I’ve chosen the subject of technology and artists.

And each geeky-artist thing will conveniently start with ‘C’.

First, I put my portfolio back online. It’s got a page at the top of this blog, but it’s hosted by a portfolio service called Crevado. It’s a sharp way to showcase your work, and it’s free for a basic account.

Now, I just have add more to it. Bit at a time…

Second ‘C’ is for Corel’s iPad app: Cinco. This app has done wonders for my ergonomically challenged workflow. I have a first-generation iPad and this app hasn’t crashed on me yet. Rare, that. Cinco syncs with Painter and allows quick Minority Report-style access to your favorite Painter tools. Cinco adds to the functionality of my (old but lovable) art tablet and keeps my hands off the (usually pain-inducing) keyboard.

Less pain = WIN. Bonus that it’s also fun.

Best way to see what Cinco does is to watch the video on Corel’s site. Right now the app is free, but they’ll eventually charge for it.

Entirely my opinions and no one paid/bribed me to review anything.

Ooh, wait. I have one last ‘C’—a wishlist entry: the Cintiq by Wacom. Interactive pen displays. Draw right on the screen. Gorgeous things. *swoon*

As I mentioned, I have an older tablet. 12″ x 12″ Intuos. Yep, the first version. This tablet has been my friend for the last decade and I’ll be crushed when it finally dies. Hopefully, it won’t; maybe not ever. But if I need a new tablet, I’ll be eyeing the Cintiq. Eyeing for sure—affording?—not so much!

If you’re an artist: what are your favorite tools when you work digitally?
What invention do you wish for?

Silly invention wish:
I’d like a desk-hologram model similar to Princess Leia’s hologram message in Star Wars, only not her but whatever figure I need for life drawing. In color, and not just human models, but everything else—from cats to dragons! Yeah.

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