Madoka Magica fan-art

This time while I was digital painting, I was broadcasting most of it on Pictaro on my channel, here:


I've sped the recording up and you can watch it below! :D

Madoka Speed Paint from Vanessa Hill on Vimeo.

And here is the final piece:



Surface Pro 3 review

The most recent addition to my drawing accessories is none other than a Microsoft Surface Pro 3.

And, it's one beautiful piece of kit.

The stats I went for are as follows:

256GB, intel i7 core processor and 8GB ram. Currently running windows 8.1.

Microsoft were running a bundle at the time of my purchase, so for the price of £1,129 I also had a HP stream 7 signature tablet thrown in with a discount of £310. As I wasn't overly bothered about the HP stream, I gifted it to a friend so unfortunately I can't give you a rundown on that.

So, first I'm going to point out the negative, as there really is so few I'm going to get them out of the way.


The stylus - it's a little bit too thin for my liking - but it's possible I'm just used to the chunkier pens of drawing tablets. I heard somewhere that you can get different pens however, so it's not so much of a problem.

The operating system/market - There is hardly anything on the Windows app store. If you're looking for it as a way to entertain the brothers kids when they're bored, I'd look more towards an android or Apple tablet. However, there is more options than about five years ago when I had my first Windows phone - but it's still not on par with other tablet markets. Plus, if you are running a game, expect the battery to last two hours max, not even using it on the minimum brightness will help.

Keyboard - Okay, so from a drawing point of view, don't go with the Microsoft keyboard. It requires to be plugged in at the bottom, and when you're using the tablet it doesn't fold back out of the way, it just pops out. I wish I'd spent the money on a bluetooth one instead, but at least it looks pretty for all the typing I don't do.... The on screen keyboard works fine, but it doesn't have a swipe input, and with nothing on the market it makes for slow progress.

noisy fan - So the thing has a fan on the top left, which get's extremely grumpy if my case is covering it, or not covering it as the 'case' may be. My friends and relatives take every opportunity to remind me that it sounds like someone is mowing the lawn outside. More than ten minutes watching a video? Yep, it's going to start.

and overheating - I decided to take it on holiday to Palma earlier this year where the temperatures reached about 30 degrees. Apart from it being almost impossible to work in the bright light as I couldn't see the screen, it regularly just cuts out and replaces with a temperature icon. I can understand this, but with no prior warning its a bit of a hazard when I'm in the middle of drawing.

battery life -  So the battery when I'm just using photoshop (it runs the full adobe master suite package, and will most likely run CC to) I can get around 5 hours out of it with the max brightness, which really isn't that bad considering a Macbook pro laptop battery, and from experience I know you can only stretch that out to four. However, compared to the Wacom Cintiq portable you get a lot less hours, and the Pro will last you longer.

no shortcut buttons - As it's not a specialist drawing tablet I'm not really surprised. Having a bluetooth keyboard would really help with this.


So onto all the things I do really love about the Surface Pro;

Size - it's 13"- that's the size of my Macbook Pro. Compared to the Cintiq 13" it also doesn't have a huge rim around it for the buttons. I can slot it in all of my bags, and it's not too heavy that my hand gets heavy when I'm carrying it

Sensitivity - It claims to only have 540 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is far less than the Cintiq Companion. However, after using a Bamboo, Huion and Yiynova 22HD I really can't tell the difference at all. I experience absolutely no lag on my more custom brushes on Photoshop, and the pen is just as responsive as any of its Tablet counterparts.

Writing on screen - As well as boasting an on-screen keyboard, it also has a writing to text input, which is almost spot on. My writing is truly terrible, but it works great, and is compatible with anything which requires a text input.

Price over wacom - Compared to the Reviews I've seen for the Wacom for £1,599 (intel core i7, 256GB) the Surface pro seems like a much better value for money. Apart from running the whole Adobe master suite with no problems, I can also use it as a laptop. It's so light that it's no problem to carry around on my longer journeys, and especially onto a plane.

The add ons - as the Surface Pro is a Microsoft tablet, it is advertised to a much wider audience. This means that there are much cheaper replacement items, including keyboards, cases and styluses. As the Wacom is a specialist market, it's much harder to replace things. It's also much easier to insure too!

So there you have it - I'm totally in love with my Surface Pro 3, and I'm happy to be using it for the next few years to come. A lot of the problems I've found are things which are currently dragging down most of the similar products. The case seems to be which set of problems you prefer. However, with the release soon of the Surface Pro 4, a lot of changes seem to have been made, including different nibs for your stylus.

Anything else you want to know about the Surface Pro 3? Drop me a comment below!

Yiynova 22HD review


Key shortcuts not working in photoshop?

Recently I updated to Yosemite on my macbook pro. 

When using Adobe Photoshop CS6 That I noticed my keyboard shortcuts Seemed to Have Become a temperamental little, or sometimes not responding at all. Of course, drawing in full screen This was a bit of a disaster. I May Have gotten stuck in it a few times ...

However it turns out this is a really quick fix so I'm going to share it with you guys. All you need to do is install the plugin found on this page.


After downloading and running the white window work around, my shortcuts Came back, yay!

Happy drawing everyone!


I'm selling my artwork!

If you're looking for a commission, or just one of my pieces I've already created, you can now head here:


And, until the end of October you can enjoy free delivery on all printed items, just enter the below code at the checkout!



How is the Yiynova 22HD holding up?

I've had the Yiynova for around a year or so now, meaning I think it's time to do a review on how it's holding up. I'm happy to say, even admid all of my other new drawing gadgets, this one is still my favourite.

The battery life in the main pen (I've been using duracell AAA) is still fantastic, I think I've only replaced it three times, and one of those was due to a leaking battery, which was entirely my own fault! I use my screen at least ten hours a week minimum, and I don't take the battery out when not in use. And, as a bonus, the nib still looks brand new. I haven't needed to change it at all!

However - a small point about the pen - I had a few issues with the design of the pen. While it is lightweight, and a comfy shape, the rubbed tends to rotate over the button. But you know what, I found a small dab of superglue did just the trick and I haven't had any problems since. Although, if you try it yourself I'd make sure you'll still be able to open the pen to change the battery. Also it's entirely on you (I'm not recommending it, I'm just saying what worked for me). Who knows, they may have changed the design by now?!

Since last year, I also invested in an extra screen, and I now have it set up on windows 7 with three screens. If you choose to do it yourself, check your graphics card supports it, as windows 7 only supports a maximum of two. When using three I use the Yiynova monitor with the VGA to mini USB adapter, one screen through HDMI and another through DVI. The pen works absolutely fine, as well as the touch and calibration.

However, I do seem to be getting a recurring problem. The VGA is a delicate connection, and I find running it through the adapter only makes the problem worse.  I'd also like to point out that I find this problem a lot on a VGA connections, not just Yiynova. The pins don't fit in the adapter to secure it correctly, meaning the connection routinely needs plugging pack in straight. I did buy a new, more expensive adapter, which only improved the matter a little. If the VGA isn't exactly plugged into the adapter straight I get a horrible diagonal wavy line down the middle. Also, I think I may have caused permanent damage, as now there is always a faint wavy line, which annoyingly, I can't capture on camera to show you. It doesn't affect the calibration at all, but it is very distracting. A VGA plugged straight into your computer is best, but again I find the connection still works it's way loose after a while. I'm thinking I may have to get the tape out! I'm also sure that this is probably covered under the two year warranty Yiynova provides, so I'm not really too concerned.

Also, I knew this when I purchased the original, and as a student at the time it was a sacrifice I was willing to take, but I do really miss the ability to use tilt. According to Yiynova they are working on that now, so who knows, I may invest in another one! Compared to the Cintiq, I do really love the smaller frame, and eight buttons is perfect for me. After all, with three screens I really wouldn't have room with the giant cintiq frame! So even over the small problems, I still love everything about my Yiynova as when I first brought it. The colours on the screen are still a strong match (if not a little better) than my Mac Book Pro, and the large screen is amazingly fast to draw on. At around a £600 difference (if I remember correctly) between the Yiynova 22HD and the cintiq, it seems more than a reasonable price difference to accommodate.

Compared to a smaller tablet you can really go all out on brush strokes, and really get into the small detailed parts.

Feel free to ask me questions if there's anything I've missed! and make sure you take a look at my first review of my Yiynova 22HD which can be found here: Yiynova 22HD review

Surface Pro 3 review