So you’re an artist, illustrator or designer. You’ve been drawing on paper with a pen or pencil and are considering switching to digital to switch things up. But where and how do you start? What do you use? Those are questions I asked myself when I was thinking of trying out digital. And those questions led me to find the ISKN Slate 2+.
What Is The ISKN Slate 2+?
The Slate is a tablet that digitizes your drawings on paper. It works by using 32 low-power 3-axis magnetometers that track the movement of the magnetic ring that is attached to a pen or pencil of your choice thus creating a digital replica of your drawing onto its native app, Imagink, which works for iPads, PCs, and Macs. With the Slate, draw with your pencils on real paper, and your drawings come to life instantly on your screen like magic. The Slate is for that artist who wants to keep the natural sensations of drawing on paper while benefitting from what digital has to offer.
At just 13 ounces (380 g) and a thickness of 0.28 inches (0.7 cm), the Slate is light and compact with a textured back. I’ve traveled with the Slate, its fights nicely in my backpack and you barely notice it’s there. If you’re used to creating larger pieces, the surface may feel quite small as it only fits A5 sized paper. The feel of the Slate is solid with a decent build quality even with its plastic material. Light, but not a fragile product and won’t be breaking on you.
Features & Functionality
The Slate works with a Mac or Windows device via USB cable, or you can connect it to an iOS or Android device via Bluetooth. One thing that bugs me out is if you have a Windows laptop, that has a USB-C port, the Slate will not work with a dongle. It only works with USB-C Macbooks and the dongle that comes with that, so that’s annoying and hopefully will be fixed.
Since it can’t work on my laptop, I’ve been testing it on my iPhone, and it works great. Once you download the Imagink app, getting to work on the Slate is a simple process.
It Can Also Be a Graphic Tablet
With the Slate, you can use it as a graphic tablet creating art on Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. But you’ll need a stand-alone stylus called “the tip” to do that. The tip offers a genuine feel of a pencil gliding over the paper in terms of sensation. While I couldn’t test it as a graphic tablet on photoshop and illustrator on my laptop, I did try it out on my iPhone and stuck with it.
I found myself barely using the Slate with paper and pencils. But that’s the beauty of the Slate, the freedom to choose. Traditionalists will be able to sketch on paper and have the sketch replicated into a digital version. Digitalists will be able to use the Slate 2+ in graphic tablet mode to work exclusively with their favorite software like photoshop or illustrator. Both art styles win in the end.
Let’s start with the negatives. Like I mentioned above, it’s frustrating how you can’t use the Slate on a windows laptop that has only USB-C ports. Secondly, the Slate isn’t pressure-sensitive, so whether you’re drawing hard with the pencil or the tip (if in graphic tablet mode) for a specific part of your piece it won’t react to it. And if you ever draw on a pressure-sensitive tablet like an iPad, you’ll know how great of a feature it is.
One great thing is the screen-less mode. When you’re out and about, and cant connect to your device. You can draw on the paper attached to the tablet, and once connected to a device; the digital version will be stored. If you’re thinking about battery life, Live and Screenless modes last up to 7 hours of continuous use. If you’re wondering about the memory, the Slate has a 4 GB integrated flash memory approximately 400,000 sheets. Another thing I like is how you can export a video of how your piece was created and share it. It’s a nice touch.
The Slate is a great first step to testing the waters of digital art while still doing stuff the old fashioned way. The device has its nuisances at times; it isn’t perfect, but it does get the job done and does what its made to do. With the new Slate Repaper around the corner with pressure sensitivity features and more. We’ll try and get our hands on that and see how it compares with the Slate 2+. But all in all the ISKN Slate 2+ is a great product worth trying out if you’re an artist eager to go into digital art but still wanting to keep that ability to draw on paper.
Where to buy: iskn.co
The Slate 2+