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  • Writer's pictureCarswell King

Drawing - with a Mouse

Tea with Whistler...

Like so many others right now, I'm spending most of my time at home, but on the upside it's given me the opportunity to spend more time doing what I love to do - drawing. Tea with Whistler is my light-hearted interpretation of the classic 1871 painting by James McNeill Whistler, titled Whistler's Mother. This proved to be a fun exercise for me to while away a few hours and experiment with a few new techniques in the process.

I'm often asked "How do you do that"? Well, instead of pencil, ink, paint or use of a tablet, I use a mouse to create all my illustrations. Every component in Tea with Whistler is vector so I was able to enlarge areas like her earings, feet, teacup etc and draw in all the fine details - and it's the detailing that gives an illustration texture. Once completed, I was able to scale the components down and fit them to the image.

There's a lot of information online about how to draw with a mouse and once you get use to

it you won't want to use anything else. But it does take some practice - drawing with a mouse is kind of like drawing with a bar of soap at first. The program I use is Illustrator but there are many other drawing programs out there - you just have to find the right one for you.

Equally important is the drawing surface. You don't need a large area but just like drawing with

pencil on paper you have to have the right "tooth". Originally I bought a Mosiso mousepad, used primarily among gamers, but it still proved too coarse for my needs. It took some experimenting but I finally found that Strongboard Cricut Sportflex from Michaels provided a perfect drawing surface - and it comes in several colours. Getting started, I covered the mousepad with a thin layer of felt to give it the necessary padding, then I glued the Sportflex onto the felt. Because it's an iron-on product you could try and heat set it to the felt but I had the glue handy and it was a quick solution. You may have to lightly sand the surface of the pad to give it a bit more grip but this will depend on how sensitive your mouse is. Finally, you'll want to invest in a good gel wrist rest to prevent fatigue then you'll be ready to start your first illustration.

It takes time to master this quirky style of drawing but you'll find it can be fun and rewarding too. Give it a try!


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