Using your Pen for Embroidery

If you have been following the blog, yesterday’s topic was all about tablets – what they are and what they can do.  Today’s subject is following up with more details about using the pen and tablet for embroidery.

So you have your pen and tablet set up, now what?


It takes a little bit of getting used to, but once you master the skills with a little bit of practice and patience, there is no turning back.   Lets work with the pen first.  The pen is essentially a mouse, only in a different form – the pen will not work without the tablet.  There are a few ways that you can customize the pen, right out of the box.  For the Wacom pen, there are two buttons that you can customize – they are right on the pen – and you can change them to be just about anything.  You do not need to program a left click, however –  tapping on the tablet usually works very well as a left click.  You are left with quite a few options – right click, double click or even a modifier (modifiers are shift, control and alt keys).  To get you started, I would suggest making them both a right click – its a bit fiddly at first to make a right click, and I often missed the button, so if you make them both right click, you are sure to hit your mark!!  This will also make it easier to practice.  One of the other options you have is how to use the pen with the tablet for right clicking – you can either hover and press the button, or you can press the button and tap on the tablet.  Either way works, so try them both.  Now, I found the hover annoying because apparently I sometimes stop and think, and hover the pen without realizing it – so that was too annoying for me.  I prefer to click the button and tap – it all seems to flow – tap for a left click and button-click for a right click.  Once you play around with the settings, then you can start to practice!


PRACTICE SOME MORE.  If you get frustrated, then try something easier!  You don’t want to jump right in with a difficult digitizing project right from the beginning!  You can grab the freehand tool in Hatch and draw a picture!  You can practice the left/right clicks in plotting a funny looking random design – keep going until you get the right clicks down and make the curved points properly.  You can practice pulling out circles or squares by dragging/drawing with the pen, keeping contact with the tablet.

Aside from getting right into the embroidery aspect (again there is no turning back once you get it) you can even open up an art program and practice drawing or doodle some fun designs.  The Wacom pro tablets are touch sensitive, pressure sensitive and tilt sensitive.  So if you open up an art program (try something like sketchbook, or even Paint on the PC, or a doodle  program that you can find in the google store that has some different pens and colors) and play a little bit.  The pressure sensitive means that if you press harder, your line will be thicker.  Tilt sensitive means that if you tilt the pen, the line will change, too.  Of course touch sensitive speaks for itself – you can use gestures to zoom and pan and rotate items – try it out!

Those are my suggestions for getting used to the pen on your Wacom Intuos system – doodle with an art program, experiment with the pen, get used to it, have fun with it, and then work it into your embroidery program!  Save yourself some frustration, and don’t jump right into a complicated digitizing project before you are completely comfortable with the pen.  Doodle – and then doodle some more.  Its actually quite a bit of fun – I am pretty sure that I could doodle all day, LOL.  It will help you get the feel and the use of the pen and then you can get into embroidery.


If you are comfortable with the pen from the get-go, then by all means dive right into the digitizing and get to work!  You can always pause later for some doodles, right?  And if you make a really cool doodle or just something fun, you can always save or take a screenshot and bring that picture into your digitizing software to make an embroidery doodle.

Oh, the possibilities are endless!

Get to know your pen, your “writing style” and have some fun!


One response to “Using your Pen for Embroidery”

  1. WolfChild Designs Avatar

    This is really basic but just what I needed to read. It’s been frustrating trying to use my wacom intuos with my bernina software. I’m quick with a mouse but I want to use the pen tablet. I think I’ll try what you said and just use it! 😀

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