Typically I'm not one to impulse buy if it's something that costs real money. If anything I'm the opposite - I'll research fairly thoroughly to make sure what I'm buying is decent, and then I'll shop around and find the best deal I can get for it. That said, I impulse bought a graphics tablet a couple of weeks ago. Emily had impulse bought it on eBay, didn't want it, and I figured why the heck. So I ended up with one of these for £35. My Dad always been moans that I don't have enough technology in my room, so I figured I'd expand my collection a bit.
Now many people will say "But you're an engineer with no artistic talent whatsoever! What on earth would you need a tablet for?!" and to be honest, for most of my life I get by just fine without one. That said, there have been times when I could have really done with a tablet and it's an absolute pain in the ass to not have one. I find the same sort of deal with scissors and multi-tools and a variety of other objects, where I typically take them for granted and then have occasional circumstances where I find myself totally screwed if I don't have them to hand.
There have been so many times when I've been typesetting something that's meant to be hand-written, and I've wasted hours trying to find a font that looks fairly hand-written and is in the right style when if I'd had a tablet I could have just written it myself with my own hand. Or design projects where all my concept sketches have to be done on paper and scanned in (and therefore look like ass) when it would have been so much easier to just draw them on my PC. Not to mention that you can't as easily Ctrl+Z stuff when you're drawing on paper.
The other use I'd quite like one for, besides work-related things, is for this blog. There are only so many images I can find on the internet, and it's nice to draw things myself. I've long followed Hyperbole & A Half, and while I probably won't borrow the text-and-lulzy-cartoons format quite as much as other people I know who blog (mostly because drawings take effort and I'm lazy), it'd be nice insert daft sketches from time to time.
I could have done this before, but I didn't really have the tools to make anything that wasn't completely terrible. Drawing on paper requires either a scanner or a camera that isn't total shit to convert the drawings into an electronic format, and I have neither. Drawing with a mouse was always an option, but not really, because I can't draw with a mouse. To take an example:
That took about five attempts until I got something I was remotely satisfied with, and it still looks like it might as well have been drawn with a crayon by a pre-schooler. I had so little confidence in my drawing I clearly even thought it necessary to write "SHEEP" above the drawing so people couldn't get confused over what it actually was.
On the other hand, this was my first attempt with the tablet:
That picture makes it painfully clear that even with a proper pen I'm still far from some sort of Picasso (though tablets are a bit weird to use, and in my defence I'm still getting used to it), but I'd say it's a considerably better effort and it took me a fraction of the time. Hell, I even got the Gurren Lagann sunglasses in there.
So yeah, when I can be bothered expect some crappy cartoons on this thing, because I'll probably feel a bit guilty if I don't actually use the thing.