Using a Wacom Intuos to draw with

  • Has anyone ever used a Wacom Intuos?

    I'm thinking of asking for one for xmas to use with my MacBook Pro.

    Is it difficult to draw with, since I'd be looking up at the screen (compared to drawing directly on an iPad)?

    Is the small version okay or do I need to get a larger size?


  • Pro

    Hi! I'm using a Wacom Intuos right now and love it! Personally I adapted to the tablet right away when I first got one over 10 years ago, it clicked right away but I've heard some artists say they had to practice a bit to get the hand-eye coordination right. I can't say for sure how you will react and it depends on your needs as well. I personally don't like working with an iPad or screen tablet like a Cintiq, because I get neck pains and migraines from looking down at the screen for hours every day. I find that using a regular tablet and looking up at the screen is more ergonomic when you draw for long periods of time. But some artists swear by the iPad or Cintiq. Like I said, it depends! I hope that helped..

  • Pro SVS OG

    @mistadrawbalina I had an Intuos 4 for several years and still have an Intuos 5 at the office (though I don’t do much drawing there). It´s fully ok to draw on an Intuos - it may take a while to get used to looking at a screen while your hand is drawing somewhere else. Maybe it doesn’t click immediately as it has for @NessIllustration, but it should work out at some point if you keep at it. In my case it took about a week (drawing every day) to feel comfortable, but then I loved it. I didn’t even want a Cintiq: my husband insisted (he loves gadgets of all types, even when they’re not for him...)

  • I’ve used an intuos pen tablet for years. It didn’t take all that long to become acquainted with the pen and you’ll probably be surprised how quickly you achieve the hand to eye coordination needed for illustration. I have used the medium sized tablet with a mac book but now I have a large pro tablet for a 21.5 iMac. Also, you might look at a certified refurbished tablet at Amazon and save some money. The pro tablet I have is a refurb and it looked brand new when I got it and I’ve had no issues.

  • @mistadrawbalina I use both ipad pro and an intuos 5. I sketch on the ipad then draw it big on the wacom. The surface of the wacom is nicer, as an ipad is still like drawing on glass. Nothing digital quite matches paper or wood.

    I had the little bamboo pad a few years ago but I found it's too small so upgraded to the larger intuos 5 model. Best decision ever. Next upgrade for me will be the new iPad pro. The pen on my model runs out quick and is a pain waiting for it to charge. I find the nibs on the sturdy iPencil last for ages. They are much better quality than the wacom pens. The nibs on the wacom do not last very long, so get a few packs of backup nibs - I use the softer rubber nibs as the scratchy plastic ones go right through me.

  • Thanks for all the great advice!

  • @sigross Best decision I ever made was getting a matte screen protector for my iPad. It gives the screen a toothy texture like paper, and gives you that satisfying scratchy sound of a pencil on paper when you draw on it. Also your hand doesn't stick to the glass, which is another big plus. If you use it in a bright environment it can diffuse the crispness of the screen a little bit, but it's hardly noticeable at all in a darker room.

    @mistadrawbalina I had an Intuos before my iPad, and I know lots of people love them. Drawing on one surface while looking at another is just not for me though! I did really like the multi-touch features and easy access to tools with customizable buttons that made drawing really streamlined. If you do get one and you decide you don't like it, or upgrade to something else later, they have a great resale value (in my experience) if you take good care of it!

  • Use both graphic tablets and monitor tablets... big benefit of an intuos is that you can hook your computer up to a large sized monitor... and get a working area much bigger then an ipad/cintiq for less money.

    Trick to drawing with intuos is shape drawing... instead of line. Theres a real disconnect though compared with regular sketchbook drawing. I like digital for paint... a carefull line drawing makes me frustrated. Theres always the option to sketch on paper, take a picture and use an intuos to flesh it out.

    Currently saving up for a large sized 4k screen... no need to zoom in, just keep lowering brush size.

  • @cgordon That's a top tip. I'm going to get one and try it out. Cheers.

  • @jacksaurusrex For a large screen I'd recommend checking out a 21:9 ultra-wide (3840 x 1600 px). I bought an ACER 38 in. I prefer using it to a 4K monitor, as you get so much more screen space and you don't have to upscale text like on a 4K monitor. Now I've dropped my 2 monitor setup and just using the 1 screen. Downside is the colour isn't quite 100% sRGB, I got it calibrated to 96% (using Spyder 5 Elite monitor calibration).

  • SVS OG

    @mistadrawbalina i’ve used a wacom intuos small just earlier this year. Then, I shifted to an ipad. I can say that drawing on a wacom intuos is almost impossible and requires a lot of effort. My wrist would ache every time I use it. It’s alright for painting though... line work? not so much. Using an ipad is leagues better. I no longer feel pain when I draw and it is way easier. Aside from that there is also a lot more benefits with an ipad. If you can, I suggest going with an ipad instead.

  • @nyrrylcadiz I agree with this! I have an Intuos 5 medium that collects dust because it is too painful for me to use. I already have hand issues, but they flared up massively when I tried to use it because of the small repetitive motions. When I switched to a Cintiq 13HD, I had such an easier time since it mirrored traditional media and was less stressful on my hand and arm. I also noticed I worked faster.

    But it's essentially a giant trackpad with a pen, and doesn't have too much of a barrier of entry. Even after the initial hurdle of getting used to it, you might find that you are slower if you are used to drawing directly on the surface. Detailed drawing and finer work is easier too. I honestly wouldn't get a smaller size, because it is not a long-term good idea to draw with small repetitive movements. If a larger Wacom is too expensive, try getting one used or trying a different brand like Huion, Monoprice, etc. Many people use those tablets and like them, though, so you might really end up liking it.

  • Pro

    @teju-abiola I had some issues of wrist pain with the small Bamboo, but now I have an Intuos 5 medium and I've never had any pain at all with it! The Cintiq and iPad though, cause me a lot of neck pain and migraines because of looking down at it all day... I guess it really depends on the person and individual needs! The bummer is that even if you're trying a product in store, you won't know how you do with it when drawing over long periods of time until you buy it... It's almost impossible to know in advance!

  • @nessillustration I totally understand the neck pain and migraines. I had to get a blue filter coating on my glasses to assist with something similar because long hours would mess with my eyes and I'd start to get headaches.

    I think it's absolutely wonderful that the Intuos tablet is the best solution for you because it allows you to work in a healthy way! I wish it had worked for me; then I wouldn't feel guilty about it sitting in a drawer collecting dust. I had a really bad spell with carpal tunnel syndrome many years ago and now regularly deal with repetitive use syndrome as a result. I can't draw or write without a compression glove. While not originally caused by drawing, it's made me a really strong advocate for healthy art-making practices. We might not need to run fast or scale walls or display amazing athleticism, but it's important to protect our bodies to enable ourselves to work well 🙂 If something gets in the way of our ability to create art, it's important to change it!

    I think some of these preferences must come down to individual physiology. The Intuos caused me pain, but switching to the Cintiq solved most of that, and the vice versa is true for you. Because I hold my pencils weirdly, whenI tested a friend's older iPad Pro a few times, I found the Apple pencil so heavy and awkward to hold that I could not use it properly. (And it makes me kinda sad because so many people love it and it's a cool machine.) I changed from the typical Wacom pen to the skinny, lighter classic version because it is about the same size and weight of a graphite pencil or paintbrush. When working digitally, I sit in a very comfortable, almost slouchy way that goes against all rules of posture because it allows me to work with less pain, but on the flip side, when working traditionally, sitting 'normal' and higher up works better for me. It's all a toss up, really.

    Making art is weird.

  • Pro

    It really is weird! I got tendonitis from making art... but not in the wrists, in the shoulder blade! So odd...

  • I think having a graphics tablet for your laptop would be a great investment. It's better than using a mouse,or track pad, even when not your drawing. I use a Wacom intuos pro medium, love it. I had a 21" cintiq, but its back home in Ireland 😞 The disconnect from drawing on tablet while looking at the screen wasn't a big change for me, but I understand this could be different for some. You may find it uncomfortable if the size difference between your screen and tablet are very different.

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