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Thread: recommendations for drawing pad and styli

  1. #1
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    Wink recommendations for drawing pad and styli

    My apologies if there is already a thread for this:
    I am looking for recommendations for a drawing pad and stylus for use with my Macbook. Perhaps one that will also be compatible with Windows (shudder) should I decide to also work on that platform at some point. I haven't worked with a graphics program in years and am learning the software practically from scratch. The idea of actual tool(s) other than mouse/touchpad is sooo refreshing. But I haven't a clue where to start other than the usual tech references. So the actual users' experience might be of help? Suggestions? thanks, everyone. ~ Denise

  2. #2
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    Hello Denise and welcome to the ArtRage forums
    Ask half a dozen digital artists this and you will likely get as many different answers!
    Myself I’m a Wacom fan and have been for a long time. More particularly their Pro line of tablets as they are what have superseded the old Intuos line, which I still use, and share the same tablet Driver still.
    Yes, they are at the expensive end of the market but if your budget can stretch to one then why not treat yourself! If something disastrous were to happen to mine I would replace it with another Wacom without hesitation!

    In truth I'm not sure there is much difference these days between tablet makes when it comes to the actual hardware, pressure sensitivity, response times, etc…
    The only thing in respect to the physical tablet that I couldn't work without is the 'Touch Wheel' on my Wacom, perfect for zooming & rotating the canvas on the fly as I work.
    The pen also has Tilt sensitivity, i.e it knows how far over it is leaning as you draw and that it needs no batteries.
    But what I really like about the Wacom Pro line are the drivers.
    Wacom drivers tend to be the first a graphics app developer will consider when doing their coding.
    All the Wacom tablets keys, the pen buttons and the touch wheel can be given unique functions that are specific to the app you are using at the time. Switch to another app and you can set different functions for the same keys. And it will remember for the next time. Do not underestimate how tiresome it can get if you always have to rest hot keys just because you switched apps!
    Also all your custom hot keys can be saved as a backup file, so should disaster strike its really easy to get everything back just the way you had it.

    As for size, I'm very happy with the Medium. I did considered the Large but the larger "footprint" of it on my work area (and yes the extra money) tipped me towards the Medium.
    If you are coming from traditional painting/drawing and are used to using broad arm movements as you work, then the Large may feel a bit more natural.

    Wacoms also work well with multiple monitors and mapping what area of the tablet works with which monitor. Or you can just assign the tablet to one monitor.

    But anyway whatever make you go for take your time, look at what’s out there and consider what your needs are likely to be and your budget.
    Maker Of Replica Macoys

    Techie Stuff:
    ArtRage Vitae 7.1.3 ~ 15" Macbook Pro
    ~ macOS 10.14.6 ~ 4 Core i7 3.1GHz CPU ~ 16GB RAM ~ Wacom Intuos4 M

  3. #3
    mark pretty much took the words out of my mouth. I have the Wacom intuos pro m. Love the driver functionality. Also something that I'm looking forward to down the road is getting the airbrush pen from wacom (which Artrage supports!).

    I'll also add to mark's comment that wacom tablets can tell which pen you are using and you can have different settings for that.
    Artrage will remember the last tool I had a given pen set to even which I change pens. I can have my pro pen 2 for primary brush work and my slim pen for fine lines and details, and ArtRage just switches right around as I do.
    The Wacom driver can store different pressure profiles and buttons settings for each pen too.
    This works in combination with individual app settings as each pen will have its own set of app settings. My one gripe is that I can't just copy a set of settings over from one pen to another. I have to build each app list for each pen.

    If you're on more of a budget, however, Huion also makes some very respectable budget tablets. One of the best for being on a budget is the "Huion Inspiroy H640P", which can be found on amazon for $40 USD, or the "Huion HS610" which has more buttons, a larger drawing area, a touch ring, and tilt support and can also be found on amazon for $70 USD (I am referencing the Huion amazon store, no doubt there are other listings too). Both feature battery free pens with 8k levels of pressure and are compatible with Windows, MacOS, and Android.
    Last edited by Krigen813; 02-02-2021 at 06:24 PM.

  4. #4
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    I'm seriously considering the Wacom Pro from Amazon. (looked at a couple of other suppliers but price and shipping were so close, Amazon's prime rate seemed best.) Do you recommend multiple pens, then and the glove when working with the tablet? Another thing I discovered was there appears to be a "paper" (version) which if I understand the discussion, allows a scan of hand drawings to digital on the tablet directly into the ptg/jpg format? So I could transfer a pastel work directly to digital? Also, I found texture sheets. What exactly are those, and how might they be used? It has changed from the CorelDraw/PhotoShop I worked with in the '90s, let me tell you. The little bit I've worked with ArtRage (using the trackpad and finger) I love it, and can't wait to get into real "toys." Thanks, guys.

  5. #5
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    I personally donít use multiple pens but I know some artists do and find it useful.
    I would say try for a while with the pen that comes with it and take a view latter as to the cost v benefit of having multiple pens.
    The glove can be useful at times, especially in hot conditions & sweaty hands! But again can easily be bought at a later date if you feel the need.
    My Intuos4 came with a textured surface which gives a bit more of a ďpaperĒ feel using the pen. But eventually the surface will start to become smooth over time from use. But again, itís something you can buy latter as the need arises.

    Not sure what you mean by ďa paper oneĒ Are you referring perhaps to the Bamboo Slate
    Looks like that might be good for sketching on the move, but Iíve never used one.
    And you wonít be able to paint in ArtRage on it!!!

    I think at this point it might be helpful if you can tell us which Wacom model/s you are actually looking at?
    Maker Of Replica Macoys

    Techie Stuff:
    ArtRage Vitae 7.1.3 ~ 15" Macbook Pro
    ~ macOS 10.14.6 ~ 4 Core i7 3.1GHz CPU ~ 16GB RAM ~ Wacom Intuos4 M

  6. #6
    I don't "recommend" multiple pens, per se. I want the airbrush pen for the ergonomics and extra functionality it comes with that help relate real world airbrushing to the computer. As for my already having 2 pens, my intuos pro came with the pro pen 2 and I bought a slim pen just to have it. I've since found myself generally using the pro pen 2 and not so much the slim pen, but I wanted to inform of the capabilities.

    If by "paper" you are referring to the intuos paper editions, those let you clip paper to the tablet and use the specialized (proprietary) pen to draw on the paper. Using that pen, the tablet will also record what you draw and you can later upload it to your computer. It's not perfect, but not bad. Check some youtube reviews of intuos paper edition. This does not allow the tablet to "scan" an existing image. It just has a pen that works like a wacom stylus, but also writes on the paper. You can also take off the paper and use a wacom pen for digital art. My intuos pro m can be upgraded to paper edition.

  7. #7
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    What is your budget for all the equipment?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RiokiGun View Post
    What is your budget for all the equipment?
    between $300 and $500 all told. So looking at the Wacom 660/860 Pro probably medium. Yes, I was talking about the paper edition when I asked about the paper one. thanks, guys.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for letting us know which models you are looking at
    Just had a look on Wacomís site and the ďpaper oneĒ dose look interestingÖ
    All I can say is that itís not a feature Iíve always thought I lacked.
    I think only you can really say if the extra cost for the paper option is worth it for you. Sorry but youíre on your own with that decision!

    If you do get a Wacom Pro, I made a post some time back about how Iíve setup my Wacom preferences when using ArtRage.
    Iím not saying itís the best way for all but it might give you a starting point or ideas for when you come to setup yours. (Click on the image a couple of times to see the large version)
    Link: https://forums.artrage.com/showthrea...d-With-ArtRage
    Maker Of Replica Macoys

    Techie Stuff:
    ArtRage Vitae 7.1.3 ~ 15" Macbook Pro
    ~ macOS 10.14.6 ~ 4 Core i7 3.1GHz CPU ~ 16GB RAM ~ Wacom Intuos4 M

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