View Full Version : A question for the artists

23rd July 2008, 01:21 PM
I didn't want to post this in the DeviantArt thread and derail that topic, but I had a question.

I don't draw as much as I would like to, and I've got some ideas I'd like to try illustrating, but I'd like to create (or at least tidy these up) on a computer.

Using a mouse to draw is a pain so I'm thinking of buying a tablet & stylus for this.

Does anyone use these, or could recommend a type/brand?

Some people say that after using one they don't go back to a mouse at all because the pen is so much easier? Anyone found this?

23rd July 2008, 01:45 PM
To be honest, i haven't heard of another brand available in Australia except for Wacom. From the few people i know who have them, they recommend the brand at least. I've used them a few times but my line of work doesn't require so much freehand (or pressure sensitive) drawing as much as it does technical, so the mouse is faster for me.

Here's a perth based shop i know of that stocks a good range (http://www.simline.com.au/Catalogue.asp?catid=7)

23rd July 2008, 02:21 PM
I've been using them for along time, although I haven't tried the Cintiq series that has the LCD screen as the tablet surface.

I just bought a Wacom Intuos3 9X12 (~$560) for digital painting and 3D sculpting. It replaces my previous 15 year old Wacom that needs a serial adapter and various drivers to get going now, it served me well but can't function well under 64 bit systems (apparently).

People who have splashed out on the Wacom Cintiq (~$1700+) series have mixed reviews. Apparently on the plus side it feels amazing and is easy to use. Otherwise there have been reports of shimmering around the edges of the tablet where many artists keep their toolboxes, so I think there are a few bugs to iron out there. Also apparently the minor lag is more noticeable because you actually see the delay.

There are much cheaper alternatives to Wacom but the reviews on those vary greatly.

A stylus can easily replace a mouse for freehand and pressure sensitive drawing but not for accuracy. You might find it to be kinda messy, at least at first.

23rd July 2008, 04:48 PM
My other artist friends generally recommend Wacom as the brand. I don't know enough to know whether this is a good or a bad thing - I guess if it's use by quite a number of people there must be something going for it.

Maybe try reading some online reviews?

23rd July 2008, 06:09 PM
It's difficult for other companies to compete with Wacom.

Wacom tablets and styluses function by having the tablet emit a signal that searches for the proximity of two tiny magnets that are located in the stylus. When the stylus moves near the tablet it generates coordinates based on its position on or slightly above the tablet. When pressure is applied to the stylus on the tablet the position of the two magnets is affected registering as a change in line width (or depth and other options depending on the software settings). That means that the pen is very versatile and light.

Wacom has a patent on this system. Therefore competitors have to use other systems that tend to be more clumsy - such as having a battery located in the stylus to emit a signal or a cord that is attached to the stylus.

23rd July 2008, 06:16 PM
I just bought a Wacom Intuos3 9X12 (~$560) for digital painting and 3D sculpting.

Thats the model I was considering. What is it like to use and how easy is the setup?
Drawing with a mouse is like using a brick for a pencil.

23rd July 2008, 06:50 PM
Thats the model I was considering. What is it like to use and how easy is the setup?
Drawing with a mouse is like using a brick for a pencil.

Setup was simply inserting the CD and installing the driver (Vista 64... please don't ask why). The driver than auto detects the screen resolution.

I prefer the thinner stylus from other previous models to the thicker one included but it's still nice. There are various other nibs included for the stylus that give a different texture feel against the tablet, but I haven't felt any need to try them. Overall I'm very pleased with it.

23rd July 2008, 07:43 PM
Check out ALDI , they're selling one for $69.00. A great way to start to familiarize with the pressure of using tablet pen. For that price.. you can't go wrong

24th July 2008, 01:39 PM
Thanks for the tips. Wacom had a stand at a conference with some on display I went to a couple of months ago which is where I started thinking I wanted one.

The ALDI price is cheap but the lower range Wacom ones aren't much more expensive. Might go check out the computer stores on the weekend.

24th July 2008, 04:49 PM
I've had my eyes on a Wacom but I ended up getting something cheaper.
still does the job though.
I can't for the life of me remember the brand name though.

25th July 2008, 04:14 PM
I've always wanted one of these things, but i'm certainly no artist. Are there any cheapies that a good (i.e not completely unusable) for someone who wants to dabble?

26th July 2008, 08:47 PM
As komikskolektor mentioned, Aldi supermarkets currently have one on sale for around $70. The brand is Medion and a google search for Medion Graphics pad comes up with lukewarm reviews. The 'pen' part requires a battery to work.

I was considering it, but I might go instead with the low end of the Wacom brand and get a Bamboo Fun which is double the price but from the company that's the market leader.

26th July 2008, 10:34 PM
The stylus that requires a battery? sounds clunky. Besides which, I don't think theres an Aldi out west yet :D

I think i'll go for a reliable model, or just forgo the damn thing for the time being. There's a lot of items competing for my desktop real estate.