Make Beautiful Art With A Switch Joy-Con

Art skills not included.
March 14, 2017, 6:00pm

Above image courtesy of Nintendo.

Some Nintendo Switch owners are finding alternate uses for the system's bluetooth-enabled Joy-Cons (and no I'm not just talking about what the folks over at Motherboard

have been getting up to


It turns out that it's quite easy to pair a Joy-Con with your computer and use it as an input, so several artists have started using it as a sort of remote with their favorite commands (things like canvas rotation, zooming, and of course the undo function) mapped to the buttons.

Artists kuromelon and redjuice have both recently posted their own respective videos of the Joy-Con in action as an art periphera, and yet another artist, Noxbat, created a helpful tutorial for those looking to try the clever setup out for themselves.

Any command that can be mapped to a Joy-Con can also be executed with a keyboard, but many digital artists work with setups where keyboards aren't as accessible. Drawing inputs like tablets and displays can take up a lot of space on a desk and they also tend to have just a few remappable buttons available at most.

So who wants to fumble for hotkeys on a keyboard stuck off to the side, or navigate menus with a stylus? The Joy-Con's small size makes it easy to keep in whichever hand is free and with the help of JoyToKey can be mapped to suit the user's needs, extending the number of commands immediately at their fingertips and potentially speeding up workflow as a result.

Of course, pairing a Joy-Con to a PC doesn't keep it from working with the Switch. Unpairing it (or turning off Bluetooth temporarily while the Switch is in use) is enough to switch the Joy-Con from work back to play.

While digital artists are the ones running with this idea now, Joy-Con's could also be a boon for video editors, streamers, teachers, and anyone else who doesn't want to have to reach over and peck out the same half dozen commands on their keyboard all the time while they're knee-deep in something else.