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Graphic tablets

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Any thoughts on graphic tablets? I played around with my daughter's this weekend and it seems pretty awesome, but thought I'd ask around before I invest in one myself. Pros and cons? Which ones do you like? What program do you use it with?

 :thankyou
#1 - January 13, 2013, 01:19 PM

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I purchased the Wacom Intuos 4 (medium sized) tablet about 2 yrs ago for about $500.00.  It took me a while to get used to working with a stylus. I've illustrated with a mouse for nearly 10 yrs... but it was time for a change. Once I got it, I started to experiment. It lead to my art style for Penguin and Pinecone,... which I developed on Photoshop rather easily. I do very basic things with it, but LOVE the stylus now. It opened up a whole new art style that I didn't realize I had.

I still use the mouse for regular computer usage. I use the stylus for more of an organic drawing experience. I'll use the mouse for illustrating more graphic work... like the art for my KALEIDOSCOPE.

I don't see any cons to having a new tool!

(BTW... the medium size is PLENTY big. I realize now that I probably could have gotten the small size... but fine with the larger tablet for my hand to rest on.)
#2 - January 13, 2013, 01:35 PM
« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 08:39 PM by SYoon »

Thanks, SYoon. Great info. It all sounds pretty positive. I love your illustrations for Penguin and Pinecone. I need to get a copy ASAP.  :goldstar
#3 - January 13, 2013, 02:22 PM

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I also have the Wacom Intuos 5. I only use it when I'm in Photoshop, the mouse it came with drove me batty, so I use a regular mouse for regular computer work too.

Every once in a while I try to be lazy and do a quick swipe with the mouse and I flat can't do it anymore. The pen is amazing and now I'm totally hooked.
#4 - January 13, 2013, 02:44 PM
Author of iPad apps, MG books, and women's fiction


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Thanks, SYoon. Great info. It all sounds pretty positive. I love your illustrations for Penguin and Pinecone. I need to get a copy ASAP.  :goldstar

Thanks, Aldersmith!  You'll have so much fun playing with this! (And there are all kinds of free tutorials on youtube, if you get stuck or want to see what it can do!)
#6 - January 13, 2013, 03:57 PM

SYoon, I just realized I bought Old MacDonald Had a Farm for my granddaughter for Christmas. She loves it.
#7 - January 13, 2013, 04:06 PM

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Wow... what a neat coincidence!  Thank you so much! So... I illustrated the art on that book using a mouse on Illustrator, by the way. I don't think I could have done that one any quicker using a stylus. For me, some things are just easier with a mouse.

I agree with TexasGirl about the Intuos mouse. It's awful. Keep your mouse! :mouse
#8 - January 13, 2013, 04:29 PM

Thanks, again. I will keep my  :mouse.

One more coincidence, when I scrolled down on Amazon I noticed your book is "frequently purchased" with my daughter's book: Five Little Speckled Frogs! Small world for sure.
#9 - January 13, 2013, 06:01 PM

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Wait. What do you mean your daughter's book? Is she an author??? Or illustrator? Do tell!
#10 - January 13, 2013, 06:12 PM


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Oh, how fun! Thanks for sharing that link!

P.S. I *still* don't identify as an "author." Most of my books... like nearly 90% of them, has about 50 words or less. And I've done a few books with as little as 5-10 words. And a few public domain stories.... like Old Mac.  So I know the feeling. :-)  Good for her!

Mods... you can delete our conversation that is off topic from graphic tablets. Sorry to carry on a convo w/ Aldersmith online!
#12 - January 13, 2013, 07:10 PM

Oh, my bad. Sorry mods about getting off topic, but it was fun to make this connection.
#13 - January 13, 2013, 07:20 PM

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 :hug  yay for new connections!  :flower
#14 - January 13, 2013, 07:27 PM

I'm still using a wacom intuos 3.  It's been in heavy use for years now an is a still a champ.  I use it
not only for drawing and painting with the computer but for everythng else as well.  In fact the visual effects studio I work at has about 25 employees, all on tablets full time.  It's actually much healthier for your wrist and fingers, it reduces a lot of the twistig strain you get when dragging with a mouse button held down (that's a pretty unattural movement).
#15 - January 14, 2013, 08:15 AM

Thanks, Michael. So that must be the small one? I can't wait to get to Best Buy to get one. Unless someone knows a better place to get one.
#16 - January 14, 2013, 08:30 AM

As with Michael, I've been using my Wacom Intuos 3 for years. They put out a great tablet. I agree with TexasGirl: forget the dumb little mouse that comes with it.
The other recurring problem I have is that its driver will go wonky on occasion and I will have to hunt around on their website to download a functioning driver. When a company is designing a product like this, it has to adapt to many kinds of software and encounters incompatibilities often. New drivers are common.
That aside, a wonderful and versatile tool. I can't go back now.
#17 - January 14, 2013, 09:13 AM

Thanks, Michael. So that must be the small one? I can't wait to get to Best Buy to get one. Unless someone knows a better place to get one.

I prefer the medium size ones.  My personal one is a 6x11
#18 - January 14, 2013, 10:39 AM


Jacqueline Buffinet

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I knew next to nothing about tablets when I got mine, so I went for the Wacom Intuos 4 which is the large one. Afterwards I heard a lot of artists say they were perfectly happy with the small or medium size. You know, you try to get it right when you are first venturing into these things and I didn't have this group to go to at the time. I love my large tablet though. I worked out the logistics to having it on my desk and still be able to access the keyboard for shortcuts (you REALLY want to learn the shortcuts) and got used to it. I might even guess that having to work over such a large surface to render the art might create less repetitive stress. I do have a little in my elbow once in a while but when I worked exclusively with the mouse the repetitive stress was terrible. I'm looking forward to the day I can buy the Cintique, though I worry a little about having to get used to the new logistics for using my keyboard. Photoshop is my choice of painting software. I've never tried the Corel products though. I love digital painting which came as a surprise to me. I don't think you'll be sorry if you learn to art with a tablet.

I do have a confession concerning this though, when I first started I couldn't draw the simplest lines without a wobble. I also thought all the lines were supposed to be Vector anyway so I learned how to be very proficient with the pen tool. After a while I finally learned better of it and have finally gotten to the place where I rarely use the pen tool unless I need the perfect circle or square or for an occasional difficult line.

Have fun with it :paint
#20 - January 14, 2013, 05:54 PM

Jacqueline: you should try artrage.  It's a very messy natural painting app where your wobbly lines would find a home.  All the paintings and some of the pencils on my blog are done with artrage and tablet:

www.cindercast.com
#21 - January 14, 2013, 07:49 PM

Jacqueline, I'm glad to hear you say you knew next to nothing when you got yours. It's a little intimidating to say the least.

Michael, artrage sounds intriguing. I'll have to look into that. I'm sure my lines will be super wobbly to start.  :knotted
#22 - January 14, 2013, 07:57 PM

The active surface area of the Intuos 3 I have is only 4.5" X 6.5", so I think that's the small one. From the surface abuse I would say I use mostly an area of less than 2 X 2.5 in the middle. I sure don't need a larger one.
#23 - January 14, 2013, 08:08 PM

I'm really torn, but think as long as I'm making the investment I should lop out for the medium.
#24 - January 14, 2013, 08:18 PM

Jacqueline Buffinet

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Michael: I have Art Rage on my pc and from time to time work with it just to see if I will warm up to it. I love the way the colors mesh like real paint but when I have my mind set on my "real" work, I always go back to Photoshop(CS5). I'll keep playing around with AR and maybe it'll grow on with me sooner or later. I think my lines are coming along these days though, so its no longer an issue for deciding what to work with.  :yup

Aldersmith: Good luck with your decision. Truth is once you get your tablet you'll acclimate to whatever you have chosen. There is not really a wrong choice. Just what you think will work for you. :)
#25 - January 14, 2013, 09:38 PM

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Oooh, I am glad someone brought up the problem with the driver, as it's a big one. About every 10 reboots, I get the message "The tablet driver is not running."

I used to have to do an internet search for the driver, download it again, install it again, and was SO ANNOYED.

Now I have copied the driver to my desktop and every time it happens, I just double click, and I am back.

Slightly *less* annoying.
#26 - January 15, 2013, 10:07 AM
Author of iPad apps, MG books, and women's fiction

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ACK, TexasGirl! Now I'm scared! I owned my tablet for about 2 yrs... and that's never happened. I have no idea what a driver is. Well... I've heard of it... but I wouldn't know what to do!  Well... I have a tech person I could call if it happens. I'm glad to be warned of this though. What programs are you running that causes this you think?
#27 - January 15, 2013, 10:23 AM

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I am on a PC running Windows 7. Since it happens on reboot, it can't be any particular program doing it. It's a system problem.

It's a VERY COMMON problem. And not hard to fix. But I would have to Google Intuos driver, find mine, download it, and follow the instructions every time. NOT convenient when you're in a hurry to get a job out.

Google "tablet driver not found". You'll see. I get the newest driver when one comes out, and I always think that will fix it. But it doesn't.
#28 - January 15, 2013, 04:16 PM
Author of iPad apps, MG books, and women's fiction

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Thanks for the info, TXGirl! I'm on an iMac. I wonder if that makes a difference. Good to know about what to do, should I encounter this problem!

Eric H: Are you on a Mac or PC? Wondering if this problem is universal or specific to PC's.

#29 - January 15, 2013, 04:21 PM

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I have a Wacom and love it too. It's my second one (first one worked with old computer, but didn't when I got a new one). Don't know what version it is, but I think Intuos 4 maybe. The surface to draw on is probably 8x10, but the tablet itself is MUCH larger. Wish it didn't have so much of a border, but I love the large drawing size (bought the smallest one for travel a while back and never got used to it).

I've never had the driver problem and I'm on a Mac.

Good luck whichever one you get!
#30 - January 15, 2013, 07:48 PM
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