IF YOU have spent many hours trying to draw pictures on the Spectrum the Grafpad from British Micro is a godsend. It is possibly the easiest way to design a masterpiece and something the dedicated artist should not be without. The only major drawback is the price, £125 plus VAT.
A graphics pad, or digitising tablet as they are sometimes called, is simply a pad which represents the TV screen. A pen, electrical not ink, is used to draw on its surface and that is reproduced on screen.
It connects to the Spectrum user port by way of a 18cm flexible cable, which excludes the use of any other add-ons other than those with a through port, such as Interface 1. The cable connects to the right hand side of the pad and so it can only be sited to the right of the computer. That is a problem for left-handed people or those with a full size keyboard where the Spectrum PCB tends to be on the left. The cable can not be extended without causing the system to lock.
The pen also plugs into the right hand side, using one of the increasingly popular telephone style jacks, and the software to run the system is supplied on cassette.
To help you draw you can set a window which will limit the area of screen on which you can work, ensuring you do not disturb the rest of the drawing.
Areas of the screen can be magnified for clarity and then reduced and there are two overlay grids, one which simply strips all the colour to show ink and paper and the other which highlights the character squares using Bright.
Once the picture is on screen the whole thing can be inverted, ink to paper, or flipped, left to right and up and down. It can be scrolled in four directions and will wrap around.
If you can afford it then contact British Micro, Penfold Works, Imperial Way, Watford, Hertfordshire.