24 Mar 2022

Praising E-Ink

My relationship with hand-written notes has been spotty. If I have a notepad next to me, I’m very likely to doodle, take notes and write down my thoughts. If I don’t, I’ll just go back to taking notes wherever makes sense on my computer or phone.

Lately, I’ve been using sharpies and watercolor paper for quick sketches for Bleep and it’s been quite enjoyable: the thick lines of a marker feels faster and less serious than drawing. The frustrating part is that watercolor grade stationary and sharpies are bulky and hard to travel with. Also, making sketches really made me miss the tiny journalist-style Moleskine for regular notes, which would mean carrying a different stationary setup and not being able to combine the two. So I decided to purchase a trendy e-ink tablet that allows you to read, write and sketch on the same device.

The marketing will tell you that it helps you focus and maybe there is some truth to that, but my main reason for wanting an e-ink device (vs. iPad) was that I wanted paper, I didn’t want another screen to look at. The way the light blends into the surface of the device feels the most natural and less intrusive (you know, like a piece of paper) yet I have the advantage of organizing my notes and sketches by project or intent without having to carry multiple notebooks, writing or sketching tools.

It’s certainly a luxury, but I really just love the freedom of having a hybrid analog and digital knowledge base without having to think about it. The last time I had an e-ink device was the two times that I bought a Kindle, read a couple of books and then gifted it to someone. Back then, the technology was good enough for reading but I didn’t see myself writing on them. I am now in awe of being able to have a larger device that looks good, feels good and it’s light as hell.

Ironically, I might still get an iPad at some point but mainly for digital art. Until then, praise e-ink!