post music: trammell starks - light jazz tonight

Okay, so. For a long time, I considered myself a casual artist. I draw, sometimes. Not as often as I used to. But that's going to change now that I have THIS.


This is a Microsoft Surface 3. It was introduced 7 years ago as a lower-cost alternative to the Surface Pro 3, and was a huge step up from the previous Surface Not Pros: boasting a real x86 chip to run real x86 Windows applications, being the first Surface Not Pro to support the Surface Pen, and having the 3:2 display that people love from the Surface Pro. Despite being very underpowered-- only having an Intel Atom x7-z8700 and only having 2 or 4 GB RAM options, the Surface 3 was still available long after its discontinuation in 2016. By long, I mean looooong. Up until very recently-- like last year or two-- I could go down the street to the local general store and pick one up brand new. I live in the middle of nowhere.

So why did I pick one up?

It was stupid cheap and I only wanted it to draw on.

Back in the day, round near high school, my everyday machine was a ThinkPad X200 Tablet. The ones with the swively screen, and man did I love that nugget to death. Literally. I was working at my local Boys and Girls Club and one of the kids knocked it over and the keyboard was cooked. Sad days. I mention that old ThinkPad because it's related to why I picked up the Surface 3 (I swear!).

For about 3 years or so, I had been drawing using a bottom tier graphics tablet: the Huion H420i. It's not that it's a bad draw pad- in fact I could very much recommend this to those just starting out or are very money-conscious. But I've struggled with it, for a reason that I've only been able to rectify recently:

The draw pad is separate from the display.

I can't stand this disconnect. I don't know how other artists do it. I greatly appreciate the visual feedback of putting a pen to the display and seeing the result. I couldn't do that with my existing setup, so things had to change. Despite the recommendation from the friends in tech space to not pick one up, I went with the Surface 3 as the device and a Surface Pen was about a hundge all-in.

And I like it. I like it a lot. I like the instant compatibility. I like that it runs real Windows, and thus can run my drawing application of choice (Krita), and keep the files on my big storage. Despite critics knocking the device for poor battery life, I thought it was quite good; though, for a device whose sole purpose is to run Krita for draws and Microsoft Whiteboard for sketches I shouldn't be too surprised by the battery life. I like it a lot more that I probably would have liked an iPad, anyway.