Drawing Tools and Software

On the C64 there was really only one drawing tool of choice - The Koala Pad, which was a small touch tablet, packaged with a plastic stylus and the Koala Painter software. It's cost was about 100 (A lot of money back in 1985), but I bought mine second hand for 50. I made the money back twice over with the payment from my first piece of commercial art.

The Koala Pad

There were other programs, but to use them you had to use a digital joystick. Drawing with a digital joystick was very hard. I tried it a few times, but didn't have any success until I got hold of a Koala Pad.

The touch-tablet wasn't that accurate, as it emulated the C64 analogue paddles, but it did allow tracing (which I never did) and free-hand drawing and shading.

The Atari Touch Tablet (designed for their XL range of computers), was bigger, more accurate, and better designed than the Koala Pad.  It included a stylus with a button on the end, so you didn't have to press a button on the tablet to draw. Unfortunately the tablet didn't work on the C64, but I did later wire the Atari stylus to my Koala Pad, so I could use the stylus button, which made drawing even easier.

Koala Painter Menu

The Koala Painter software, bundled with the Koala Pad, was outstanding for its time. It had two separate 'screens' that could be swapped, copying and flipping of areas, and lots of different brush styles. The flood fill mode was appallingly slow, but the zoom mode was excellent; with both a zoomed in view and zoomed out view on-screen simultaneously.

Next Section: How I Drew My C64 Pictures