The Acer A501 Tablet PC: Useful creative apps and a bespoke protective cover

Handmade bespoke tablet cover for the Acer A501 tablet PC by Textile Deli

I had been debating whether to buy a tablet PC for a while but gave into temptation in November last year. At first I thought tablet PCs were something a bit better than a smart phone but not as good as a laptop. I mainly use my PC and laptop for art and design work so I wanted to be able to do the same with any tablet. I did consider an iPad but I’m not a fan of Apple. There’s no logical or reasonable explanation for my aversion to Apple. I have an iPod touch and it plays music nicely but I just don’t like working with Macs. I have no problem if other people prefer them, they’re just another creative tool after all. Just not my thing.

So after shopping around I bought the Acer Iconia A501 3G Tablet PC with Android (Honeycomb) 3.0 on. Not only is it a great little portfolio for my animations and illustrations, it’s useful for everyday tasks and entertainment. It’s made travelling a lot easier as I don’t need to lug my laptop around. Browsing the internet, emails, social media and playing games is more comfortable with the tablet than my laptop. No weird postures, burning lap or aching touch pad finger like with the laptop.

It’s also a nice little organiser with a calender, note pads, basic MS office, acrobat reader, Dropbox and I can easily transfer things between my PC, Blackberry and tablet.

Sadly it isn’t powerful enough to run Adobe Photoshop, InDesign After Effects and so on. The touch screen isn’t pressure sensitive like a Wacom Cintiq screen so in any paint application the brush size and pressure has to be changed manually. The stylus grip isn’t as natural as a pencil or Wacom Inuos 4. So I don’t use the tablet to produce any final illustration work. However it is great for sketching ideas, doodles and roughs. I find photographing work in progress and emailing it to clients with the tablet is faster than scanning it on my PC.

Useful Creative Android Apps

The apps I use most for my work flow are Adobe Photoshop Touch, Adobe Collage and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. I would not produce a piece of work from start to finish entirely on the tablet. I still need the PC, scanner, large monitor and Wacom Intuos 4 pen tablet, paper, pencils, drawing board and other bulky things found in my home studio.

Overall it is a very useful little thing but I’m still dreaming of a tablet powerful enough to run animation software and have a pressure sensitive screen for perfect digital painting. Doing all my housework would a nice added feature too.

Handmade bespoke tablet cover

Llinos Hobson, artist and textile designer of Textile Deli created this beautiful bespoke tablet cover. I struggled to find a tablet cover to fit my Acer A501 and that I liked the appearance of. I met Llinos at the creative business start up course, Making Creativity Pay, at the Derby Enterprise Centre. She made this cover using handfelted methods with British wools and fabric printing. The design was all by  Llinos who based it on my logo and style of artwork. Not only is it pretty with a lovely soft texture but it’s practical. The lining is scratch resistant, padded and water proof. There is also a zip on the top. Another benefit is it doesn’t look like a conventional tablet cover so is less likely to be plucked from my bag!

If you would like a cover made especially for your tablet, just contact  Llinos at