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Wacom vs Pencil

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Wacom vs Pencil

I have recently been interested in purchasing a Wacom tablet, but don't know if I will like the feel of drawing on a tablet. I guess my main question is whether or not Wacom's can take the place of pencil and paper drawing?
Is it possible to be great at tablet drawing but lack in the paper skills? Or vice versa?
And what would you guys recommend as a good way to judge whether or not I would like drawing on a tablet? I am hesitant to just go buy one only to find out I prefer paper and pencil. Any input is appreciated
Thanks Guys

Personally, I prefer paper. It feels better working close to the material in my opinion. Drawing on a Wacom requires some aclimatization to the fact that where you place your pen isn't where the line shows up. (Unless you're rich enough to invest in a Cintiq.)
Drawing on a Wacom might save you paper and pencils but it doesn't make the process any easier or faster. I use mine for colouring because unlike basic lineart it can save you time and material that way. If you mess up, for example, it usually means starting all over working in oils or acryllics. PhotoShop lets you undo your worst mistakes. It's also easier to experiment with colour or alter the overall look of your picture.
Ultimately the medium doesn't really matter, it all boils down to the same principles. Nobody who isn't any good at drawing on paper will be any better drawing digitally. It can make you more flexible if you know all your program tools and how to use them but learning how to use them can take just as much time as learning how to achieve certain results with pencils, brushes and colours.
I feel my Wacom was a good investment and I like combining good old-fashioned handiwork with digital. All in all it's an option , not a requirement and can be learned like any other art tool and brought to the same mastery if there's some talent and effort behind it.

Let's just say it's better than a mouse but not as immediate as a pencil. I have NEVER mastered it but I do know people who are almost one with it. What has helped me a little bit was sticking it down with two-sided tape and making sure the tablet edge and monitor were parallel.....just weird for me to have moitor and tablet at different angles.

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For me, drawing on a WACOM is more or less the same as drawing on paper. (maybe I'm just insane.) I know a lot of people have difficultly adjusting, but, I'd recommend getting one if you have the money, they're a lot of fun.


I use a big, cheap sketch book, then scan in what I like. I then put it through AfterEffects, rebuild the character, etc. Then go into Photoshop with a Wacom and do touch-up, coloring, and detailing. I believe in adding tools instead of replacing them.

It allows the original sketch to be rough as clean-up and ink and paint are done in the computer. I'm considering getting ToonBoom Studio partially just for the digital animation disc. Being able to rotate the image makes working with a tablet a lot easier.

I think I have the second smallest Wacom-- about 5" corner to corner, and to me this is plenty. You can zoom in and out, and drawing on a large tablet just seems awkward.

I have a graphire tablet.... it's okay. Great for working in Flash. I used to draw a lot with a mouse and would certainly recommend a wacom tablet over that! I find it just a bit awkward to be drawing and looking at something move and draw that is not my pencil. It creates just a little rift in the hand/eye coordination thing. Still...pretty decent. I have used Intuos, but I don't think they're worth the extra money over the graphire. At least for me, the etra sensitivity wasn't that useful or worth what you pay for it.

Now, Cintiqs on the other hand! Those things are amazing! If you can get one, do it. It cuts down on costs for paper, speeds up work flow, and feels so natural that I am constantly embarrassed that I keep trying to blow away dust after erasing. I honestly forget that I'm not using pencil and paper. Of course the texture isn't the same.... nothing can be exactly like working in real media, but Cintiq is close.

I'm wondering if anyone has tried the Cintiq 12WX?? It's like a cintiq but smaller and much lighter... so you can set it on your lap, like a sketch book. Plus... it's about $1500 cheaper. I want one, but am afraid I'll be disappointed after using the 21UX. If anyone has tried this thing, I'd love some opinions. I'd buy one just to try and keep if I like it... but there's a 16% restocking fee. Oy!

I bought a Wacom Graphire about a year ago, and at first I despised the thing.
Hated it.

Was ready to toss the POS.

It was like drawing on glass, a more reviled sensation I cannot think of.
Drawing anything on the tablet was simply too different a sensation, and if its too different I'm not gonna jump into it.

Then I had an epiphany: I cut and taped a sheet of paper to the working area of the tablet.

INSTANT sensory change with the stylus.
Its not 100%, but its closer and now do-able for me because the drag on the stylus is "close" to a pencil.
Its MUCH better now!
I've been using the tablet steadily for the past 4 months now and its growing on me.

But........its just another tool in the kit and not the be-all some folks have embraced. At least not for me.
I still prefer to draw in pencil, but I tweak and make adjustments with the tablet.

Old habits die very hard in this case.

If you are unsure, buy something cheap and give it a good try. You won't be out huge $$$ that way.
My Graphire cost about $100 CDN, and its one of the smaller ones.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

I actually use the best of both worlds:

I use pencil and paper for sketches and layouts. I then scan it in (actually, I now take a picture with my phone and send it to my email), import it into my program, and then use the Wacom to "ink" over the photo and draw the subsequent poses. It sounds like a long process, but I think that nothing replaces the feel and control of pencil and paper---and nothing replaces the ease and slickness of the Wacom tablet.

And what would you guys recommend as a good way to judge whether or not I would like drawing on a tablet?

Try drawing with a mouse. Then try drawing with a pen tablet.

Life will never be the same ;)

On the same note, how's bamboo? better than graphire?
I have a crappy old Graphire (from 2001!) and I want a new wacom for my birthday.
The budget is about 100$. Any suggestions?

Two years ago, I paid 175€ for my Wacom Graphire. (About $250 now.) I'm not up to date on current prices. The next best thing back then was an Intous which was twice as pressure sensitive, came with exchangeable tips and registered the pen's tilt which I believe comes in handy if you use a Wacom to work really painterly.
I don't use mine that way but the BG guy who works for the studio where I last animated produced very, very good results with a Wacom that was even smaller than mine and had less gimmicks. Just goes to show that it's about how you use your tools first and foremost, not how many you got.

Ken Davis' idea about taping paper to the Wacom for the tactile experience sounds rather interesting. I'll try that.

Then I had an epiphany: I cut and taped a sheet of paper to the working area of the tablet.

INSTANT sensory change with the stylus.
Its not 100%, but its closer and now do-able for me because the drag on the stylus is "close" to a pencil.

Yes, absolutely ! I had the same experience (the slipping and sliding like drawing on a slick surface) . A piece of paper or something like a frosted cel helps , but I've also taken to using the Wacom "felt tip" pen nibs.

These help by giving more "drag" to the feeling of the surface with or without the trick of taping down a piece of tracing vellum or a frosted cel (the felt nibs work equally well on the regular style tablet or the Cintiq ) .

Would definitely recommend the felt tip nibs.

An interesting observation about tablets

To me, graphics tablets in general and especially the Wacom Cintiq are extremely useful tools. As a professor of animation and multimedia, I was so
enthusiastic about tablets that I persuaded the art department to furnish all 25 of the Macs in our lab with Wacoms at considerable expense. To my surprise and dismay, only students with drawing skill (a minority, even in art schools)
took to the tablets favorably. The others, lacking any particular drawing skills,
preferred to continue using the mouse. Not being able to draw anyway, the fact that drawing with a mouse is like drawing with a brick, made no difference to them. I'm retired now but I went back to the campus recently for a visit and discovered that the tablets have all been stashed in a closet and the students are using their mice.

Nothing is impossible!

Wow guys thanks for all the feedback!
I think i will stick with the pencil and paper for now although when I feel like getting more serious I will deff. check out the tablets.

I would look around for one. I waited and I found a refurbished one. It cost as much as a five inch wacom tablet but it's twelve inches (a monster really). I sit it on my lap because I'm extra lazy and have horrible posture. Keep your eyes open and you can have a good one affordibly.
Good luck.

Don't do nothing because you can't do everything.

Hi there, I own a 21.5" IPS

Hi there, I own a 21.5" IPS Drawing Tablet Monitor XP-PEN Artist 22E Pro. It's a screen tablet like a Cintiq 22 , and it was around 500/600 USD when I got it a year ago. In the time I've owned it, it's been mailed from PA to FL, and then toted multiple times across the Atlantic Ocean in a suitcase. It still works beautifully. It's a durable tablet. It's VESA mountable, and pretty light for what it is. You can also break down the device and the stand so it all lays flat. It's a fantastic device. I use it for 8-10 hours on the regular and it doesn't get too warm unless the room is hot. It works great as a second monitor as well, and everything looks fine on it.

The screen is fantastic. I had a bit of trouble setting it up, but not much. For some reason my computer didn't recognize it at first. I then reinstalled the driver, changed ports and then it worked.

And again, the screen is fantastic. It's big precise ( Have some parallax ) and it responsive (no drag).