If you do any type a graphic design, digital design, digital art and marketing graphics there will come a time that you will need some new equipment to take your skills and abilities up a notch. I highly recommend Wacom products. My 14 year old daughter loves to do digital painting and art and is also very talented at it. She knows how to program with Python, use Linux and is part of a Google Plus community group dedicated to digital art called Istebrak’s Art Class and Critique Community.
I am very pleased to have her participating in this blog post today. She wrote this review on the Wacom Intuos Pro Medium. All artwork featured in this post was done by my daughter as well.
Wacom Intuos Pro Medium
The Wacom Intuos Pro Medium is a 13.2″ x 8.5″ graphics tablet, and it’s drivers are compatible with Mac and Windows. For Linux users, you can get the drivers needed from linuxwacom.sourceforge.net/. When the tablet arrives, it will come in a beautiful box, which includes the Intuos Pro Tablet, Wacom Pro Pen 2, a pen holder, colored rings for the pen, a USB connecting cable, and a small booklet containing information on the tablet.
The tablet has 8192 pen pressure levels, 8 customizable ExpressKeys, and a Touch Ring. The ExpressKeys are buttons located on the side of the tablet, and can be programmed to activate keyboard shortcuts when pressed. The touch ring acts similarly to a mouse’s scroll wheel, allowing the user to zoom in and out of their work. To connect your tablet to your computer you have the option of using either the USB connecting cable or Bluetooth. You can also turn on and off the multi-touch features. I keep these features off, because a kept accidentally clicking and moving stuff when they were on.
The Wacom Pro Pen 2 is a very useful tool, with an eraser at one end, the nib at the other, 2 side switches, great pressure sensitivity, tilt support, lack of lag, and no batteries or recharging. The pen is very comfortable to hold due to its width, length, and grip. The two side switches can be programmed similarly to the ExpressKeys.
The pen holder is a useful thing to have, as it doesn’t just hold your pen, it also holds 10 replacement nibs and includes a nib remover for ease of replacement. The nibs wear out rather quickly, so you will be replacing them frequently. The holding part of the pen holder can hold your pen vertically or horizontally. The colored rings that come with the tablet can be put on the pen, allowing for easy differentiation between pens, a useful feature when working in an office or studio with other people and their pens. The Pro Pen comes with a silver ring already on it, but it can be switched out for a black, red, green, or blue ring.
The little booklet that contains information on the tablet also contains a link where you can download the drivers. But if you’re a Linux user, like me, you’ll have to get your drivers elsewhere. A quick Google search of ‘Linux Wacom driver’ will get you the site linuxwacom.sourceforge.net/ which has the necessary Linux drivers for the Wacom Intuos Pro. Click on the ‘Get the Drivers’ link on the first page, and figure out which driver you need. If you have an older system, you will need the Kernel Driver.
I installed the Kernel Driver on my system, and was able to get my tablet working. When downloading the driver for your own system make sure you download the correct one, as I had initially downloaded the X Driver and became very confused as to why the Kernel Driver wasn’t working. It took me around an hour to get it working and it would have saved me a lot of time if I had just double checked which driver I was downloading in the first place.
I use the Wacom Intuos Pro for digital painting and digital art. I have been doing digital art for the past 4 years, give or take, and getting the Intuos Pro was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Although using the mouse was good enough for me, the lack of pen pressure was becoming problematic, as well as the difficulty using the smudge tool, which is a very important tool in digital art as it allows for clean and realistic blending in a way similar to traditional mediums.
I also felt a limitation of learning when using solely a mouse for digital art. I tend to learn concepts and techniques better when implementing them traditionally, but I love the clean and precise look that digital art can have. Since I am an student of art, the hybridization that a graphics tablet offers is very beneficial to both my learning process, and the final look of my work. When using the mouse, I just couldn’t remember techniques and guidelines, especially when drawing eyes and mouths.
Using the Wacom Intuos Pro has also helped me with speed, allowing me to draw with better accuracy and greater speed. After I got used to using the tablet, which didn’t take nearly as long as I expected, I was able to complete pieces in half the time it would have taken me if I had used only a mouse.
Some tips for transitioning more smoothly to a tablet:
- Don’t expect anything. If you believe that using a Wacom Intuos Pro will feel exactly like using pens and pencils on a sheet of paper, know that it doesn’t. People who believe that using a tablet should feel a certain way (like using pen and paper), may have a harder and longer time transitioning to using a graphics tablet as it feels different than what they were expecting.
- Increase your hand-eye coordination. It can be a bit difficult to get used to looking at the screen and not at your hand, but good hand-eye coordination will help. A few fun ways to increase hand-eye coordination are coloring/drawing, playing video-games, and playing sports such as tennis and baseball.
- Practice, practice, practice! Try to do at least an hour of art each day with the tablet. After all practice makes perfect.
There are still somethings that I’m not 100% used to when using the Wacom Intuos Pro. Those things are the side switches on the pen, and the Touch Ring. Every once in a while I will press the side switches and end up moving my canvas around. It can be annoying at times, but it isn’t too problematic. I am still adjusting to it as well.
I also have issues with the Touch Ring, specifically when naming layers. I frequently end up brushing the ring with my arm while reaching for the keyboard, so I will sometimes have layers with names like ‘++Eye Ske+tch 01’, since the keyboard shortcut to zoom in on the program I use is ‘+’. It’s not too difficult to correct, as every keyboard has a backspace button, but it can still be a bit annoying.
If you need help with your Wacom Intuos Pro, for creative ideas, or tutorials Wacom has a place on their site where you can get help from some of their featured artists. Check out the link here. There are also Wacom communities online that are there to help too!
Overall a Wacom Intuos Pro is a great tool to have, and I would recommend it to anyone who is serious about digital art. It works wonderfully, and has greatly improved my line confidence, my speed, and my accuracy when doing digital art.
All images and digital at in this post are the copyright of Take It Personel-ly and cannot be used and re-posted without prior consent.