Heya, guys, and welcome to Teen Fiction Girl! I have a bit of news before we get on with the article, so hang tight.
My friend Amber (the one who hated Screwy Thing with a burning passion) has decided to get back into blogging. It took me a while to find her blog – she said she changed the name to Amber’s Life, but actually she only changed the header – but at last I found it. It’s called Amber’s Gaming Hat (although she hates the name, so that might change at some point) and you can check it out here.
Anyway, onto the review.
This is a review like the other ones I do on this blog, except it’s neither a book review nor a movie review. It’s a review of a Wacom tablet, which, for those of you who don’t know, is a graphics/digital drawing tablet. This one is called the Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch.
Now, you might be inclined to imagine a tablet like an iPad, but that’s the Wacom Cintiq – this one is more like a tricked-up mousepad. You plug it into your computer with a little USB cord and whatever you draw on the tablet appears on the screen.
It’s what I’ve been using to draw my most recent digital art, including my Planet Minecraft avatar.
Not too shabby, as you can see. The biggest attraction of this tablet is the pressure-sensitive lines. When you push down lightly with the pen, it makes a fine line; when you push down harder, it makes a thicker one. This can be used to create elegant tapered lines, which look a lot nicer than the blocky, uniform ones you’d draw on a program on an iPad.
For what it is, this piece of technology is incredibly inexpensive. “$90 isn’t inexpensive!” you might say. “That’s ten dollars short of a Benjamin!”
Well, yes, but if you think that’s expensive, click on that Wacom Cintiq link up there. Drawing tablets that work about the same can be nearly $2000. The Cintiq might be a little slicker and a little more portable, but unless you’re a graphic designer for a gaming company or something, this one’s the better choice. It’s five percent of the cost and a hundred percent of the performance.
A lot of the negative reviews on Amazon were about relatively stupid things. “I don’t like the texture, the pen doesn’t slide easily enough!” “There are only 1024 pressure sensitivity levels instead of 2048!” “It feels too light!”
I promise, unless you were raised in a mansion, you won’t care. The pen feels rather like drawing with a marker; if it were too smooth, it would slip all over the place and your lines wouldn’t be as smooth. Seriously, more than a thousand pressure sensitivity levels is enough. You won’t miss that second 1024. And anyway, you aren’t going to be picking it up off the table and weighing it. You don’t want it to feel like a 1980’s computer console, do you?
I, personally, am not a great fan of the software included with the tablet; the AutoDesk doesn’t have enough tools to do the kind of things I need, and while the ArtRage Studio is a great tool for other kinds of art (maybe the kind of art you purchased a tablet for) it doesn’t do the kind of simplistic, digitized art that I like to do. It’s more for a digital form of traditional painting and/or pencil drawing. I’m not terrible at the latter, but in the case of the former, I couldn’t be worse. Of course, the software has nothing to do with the tablet itself; just get yourself a somewhat recent version of Photoshop. It has better opacity control, anyway.
I find that the stylus is the perfect size for your hand. It’s thicker than a pencil, so your fingers don’t get tired from gripping such a teeny little stick, but it’s thinner than, say, a Crayola marker, so it’s not awkward and hard to maneuver. The one problem I’ve had with the stylus is with the little clicker on the side; before I knew what it was used for, I kept accidentally pressing it and accidentally dragging my canvas all over the place when I was trying to draw. That was user error, though, and doesn’t affect the final rating for this product.
The Wacom Intuos Pen & Touch version makes it so that you can use your fingers to zoom in and out, which I think is a pretty great addition when you’re trying to draw details. It functions pretty much as a mouse that’s better for drawing. Hold your stylus’s tip just above the tablet to move around the mouse, and press on it with varying degrees of pressure to make lovely, tapered lines. Tap once to click, click and hold to right-click. (As far as I know, that last one doesn’t work in Photoshop, so when changing tools or something else that requires right-clicking, make sure you have a mouse, touchpad, or trackball handy.) It also has an awesome palm-rejection feature, meaning that even though it will respond to touches from fingertips, it won’t accidentally misinterpret the side of your hand as a click when you’re resting it on the tablet as you draw.
I’ve had problems with my tablet freaking out when it gets too close to my keyboard. It’s supposed to communicate only with the stylus, but apparently there are components in my keyboard that set it off, too. If I move the stylus too far away for too long, it starts randomly making contact and clicking on things, which once resulted in three strokes of art being undone and deleted. The solution to this: scoot your keyboard far back when you’re drawing, just in case.
Overall, the tablet is an excellent product, and it’s well worth the $90-or-so price tag (the price can flex a little from $70 – $100 depending on where you’re buying it). You can get it, or at least look at it, here. I’d recommend this to anyone who wants to develop their casual digital art skills – it’s professional enough to work well, but simple enough to be easy to use for anyone.
I hope this review was helpful to you. I’d appreciate it if you’d leave a rating or comment to tell me what you thought. If you really loved it (and you have a WordPress account), you can leave a like. And remember, follow Teen Fiction Girl if you want to read more reviews like this in the future!
Thanks for reading!