I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy drawing on the iPad, but it’s not a totally perfect experience. The display is the main problem, in more ways than one. First, I find it to be a bit too small to draw from the shoulder. This forces me into laying down shorter strokes drawn with less speed, which translates to lines that aren’t as fluid and smooth as they are when I draw on my Wacom Tablet tethered to my desktop computer. Although annoying, it’s not a complete deal breaker. It would be nice if the drawing area were a bit larger, but I think the biggest problem for my particular drawing style is the fact that the screen isn’t pressure sensitive and it’s not easy to draw lines with varied line weight. I’ve tried lots of different techniques over the years to simulate the effect within the software (with less than ideal results), so I was pretty darn excited when Wacom announced the Intuos Creative Stylus.
In a nutshell, this stylus allows artists to draw on the iPad in a variety of existing applications (such as SketchBook Pro, Photoshop, and more) with full pressure sensitivity. The nib of the stylus is made of a soft capacitive rubber material that senses how much pressure you are applying as you draw, and transmits that data to the iPad via Bluetooth connectivity. The result is the ability to lay down strokes, lines, and airbrush fills with much more control compared to using a normal stylus or your finger.
I’ve been using the Creative Stylus on and off for the past year, and I feel like I’ve got a pretty good sense of what it can and cannot do well. It’s not the perfect drawing tool by any means, but it brings an entirely new drawing experience to the iPad that I had been craving since Apple released the first version back in 2010. Rather than type paragraphs of text describing each point, I’ll just cut right to the chase and list out the pros and cons of this device:
So, looking back on this purchase, do I have any regrets? Not really. Despite the awkward (huge) tip, the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus has greatly elevated my enthusiasm for drawing on my iPad. It definitely isn’t good enough to be considered one of my go-to drawing tools when I am at home and have better options available (like my full size Wacom tablet connected to a desktop computer), but it does offer the best option for satisfying my craving for drawing while I am traveling or away from my desk. And it’s certainly good enough for me to want to try the second generation model, which I hope to get my hands on soon. Once I do, I’ll be sure to report my findings here.
I was lucky enough this past week to be able to try out a Wacom Cintiq 21UX pen display at work. A coworker of mine has one, and he was generous enough to let me borrow it for a few days while he was out on vacation. Score!
My personal Wacom drawing tablet is an old Graphire 4 from 2005 (or 2006 – I can’t remember). It literally took me years to get used to drawing on that thing, because the drawing surface and display are separated – it’s really tough to draw on one object, and have the results display on your computer monitor! The mental disconnect is huge, and I struggled with that quite a bit in the beginning.
But this is where the Cintiq shines. You can draw directly on the display, so it’s a more natural experience. WYSWIG (what you see is what you get) at it’s finest! Within minutes of drawing on the 21UX, I was already starting to loathe my beat-up ‘ol Graphire. The Cintiq is light years beyond any other drawing tablet out there, and the “I gotta have it” factor” is huge. Here are some more specific pros and cons that I have thought of after a few days of using it:
Conclusion: I want one. Bad.
By the way – that half-complete car rendering you see on the screen is a preview of my latest piece. I just finished it last night, and I’m very happy with the way it turned out. I’ll post up a full size version of it tomorrow.