Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

What should I look for in a drawing tablet for drawing webcomics?
Lonnehart at 9:58PM, May 5, 2011
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My tablet just decided to stop working. I don't know why. The thing doesn't light up at all. And I'm not going to open up the thing to find out as any fooling around with the circuitry inside might mess up my computer (a risk I won't take since I currently can't afford to replace anything inside the machine). Would a cheap tablet be all I need? Or should I find something with more resolution?

I'm aware there are tablets available locally for as low as $50, but I don't want to find out that what I bought is a very low quality tablet when I finally hook it up. I don't trust expensive stuff either thanks to experience.

As for the last tablet, it was a gift from my brother. Now it's just a piece of junk… *sigh*…
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:39PM
Faliat at 1:49AM, May 6, 2011
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I would recommend the same one I use for drawing in flash and colouring. Haven't been using it recently mind you since I lost the pen again, but I've suggested it to anyone I know that's looking for an inexpensive but good quality tablet.

Wacom Bamboo Fun Small.

I've had four tablets in my lifetime. Two of them were WBF. And I only got a new one because one of the dogs chewed the pen on the older one. If that hadn't happened I'd probably still be using that one.

I especially like the portability since I'm doing a lot of switching from computer to computer for college and personal projects alike. Hell, sometimes I just use it as a regular mouse input for my laptop since using the built in touch pad and buttons on it requires two hands instead of one and it just time costly.

The price is good, too. Both of the ones I had cost around £40.

One downside is the lack of online support for buying replacement pens and recently there have been a lot of similarly named additions to the line that are more expensive and have touch sensitivity. But I have seen the one I've got in stores. I think Best Buy sell them but probably not as cheap as other places.

Go have a look at some online reviews and see if it might work for you. The size might put some people off but I see it as a bonus. Especially compared to my second ever tablet back in 2005. Clunky as all hell and it broke after just over a year.

Call that jumped up metal rod a knife?
Watch mine go straight through a kevlar table, and if it dunt do the same to a certain gaixan's skull in my immediate vicinity after, I GET A F*****G REFUND! BUKKO, AH?!

- Rekkiy (NerveWire)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:25PM
semiflex at 4:54PM, May 6, 2011
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I agree with what Faliat said. You can find used and/or older models on eBay if you want to cut the price down some.

I think Wacom really is the main and most reliable brand when it comes to tablets. As far as I know, any other brand of tablets are really just rebranded products. (Medion, Aiptek, Trust, etc.) I could be wrong. It's just that for every non-Wacom tablet I've seen, I've always been able to find the exact same tablet under a different name.

I can honestly say that the Medion SlimTablet I owned worked fine for at least 6 months of frequent use. (Switched over to a Wacom Intuos3 at that point.) It had a working area size close to a medium Wacom Intuos tablet. The Medion customer service was pretty nice; there was a ‘skippy’ area on the tablet after a couple months of use and they sent me a new one after a few prompt emails and a phone call. I'm not sure how any of the other brands handle customer service.

If you can't get a Wacom, the cheap ones will work, on a basic level. Their pens take batteries and are clunky; their durability is iffy. Just take extra special care of it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:27PM
Salsa at 6:55PM, May 10, 2011
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http://fox-orian.deviantart.com/art/Wacom-Starter-s-Guide-2011-189976186

The above link goes to something you might be interested in.

As far as tablets go, I've only had a 6X8 Intous3. I've had it for almost five years and it's still chugging. That said. I'd recommend either an Intous or a Cintiq if you can swing it. The Intous has better accuracy when it comes to pressure than the Bamboo. The Cintiq allows you to look at where your pen is while you draw. When I get the money I'm springing for a Cintiq.
RAGE!
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:19PM
cartoonprofessor at 6:18PM, May 19, 2011
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Gday,
For ‘serious’ art, definitely go Intuos4 if you can afford it. The pressure sensitivity is amazing at 2048 levels, angle recognition for airbrushing, calligraphy, etc.
The rotate/zoom/switch layers/change brush size wheel is worth its weight in gold.
I am far more productive on an Intuos4 than a Bamboo (Wacom's hobby tablet)…
But then again, I am three times more productive on my Cintiq : )

My ‘side-business’ to my art is supplying Wacom tablets to schools, colleges, and individuals here in Australia.

While I can only sell to Aussies, if you go to my website, cartoonprofessor.com you will get a good idea on which tablet will suit you best, then shop around.

If budget is very tight, look for a second-hand one, they go fairly cheaply, but forget the Bamboo Pen and Touch models. Canvas rotation is vital when using a tablet, (if you are not using it you are not as efficient as you could be) and with rotation available using your fingers on the Bamboo Pen and Touch, you have to leave one of only four express keys set to ‘touch on/off’, leaving you with only three!

I hope this helps.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
Lonnehart at 6:51AM, May 23, 2011
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What about Digipro tablets? I found one in a computer shop (not a Chinese knockoff shop) for around $60. It apparently needs batteries in the pen though (one AAA, but then again I have a few rechargable AAA batteries)…
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:39PM
dustowl at 2:50PM, June 3, 2011
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Faliat
I've had four tablets in my lifetime. Two of them were WBF. And I only got a new one because one of the dogs chewed the pen on the older one. If that hadn't happened I'd probably still be using that one.

If you need to buy a new laptop, you may wish to consider a laptop with a touchscreen / pen. That's not a professional drawing equipment, but it's nice to actually ‘see’ wath you are drawing.
Read the Standard now. Perhaps the second best gender parody on the Internet.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:18PM
Meechi at 8:24PM, June 3, 2011
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Personally, I feel like pens that require a battery in them are really unbalanced weight-wise for drawing. DO NOT WANT
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:58PM
RainbowAurora at 2:55AM, June 25, 2011
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Would it be worthwhile to buy a tablet even if you have to download the drivers for it off of the Wacom website?
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:00PM
Meechi at 12:03PM, June 25, 2011
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It's always ideal to stay up to date on drivers for a tablet, so it's a good idea to download from Wacom's site. In fact they recommend it versus using the packaged drivers.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:58PM

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