Hi there! This baby right here was my big splurge of 2016. A monitor I could draw directly on. It’s a 22″ Cintiq Creative Display, made by Wacom. It’s been life-changing. Seriously.
I have a 27″ Apple monitor that I love, but I can’t draw on it. Since 2010, I’d been using a Wacom drawing pad. I started with the Bamboo model, then upgraded to the Intuous. I’d connect it to my laptop and, with Photoshop open on my Apple monitor, I’d draw on the little pad. But here’s the thing about that: you have to keep the pad to the side of your computer for it to work right. There’s always a disconnect between your hand doing its drawing thing over there and your image materializing on your screen straight ahead of you. Kinda weird, right?
But I got used to that. In fact, I loved using the pad. I did, after all, start out years ago drawing with a clunky mouse before graduating to using my finger on the trackpad. So the pad and pen was a real step up. The pen doubles as a mouse, and all in all I found it quite useful. Occasionally a graphic designer or an art student would visit my studio and ask if I used the Cintiq to make my art. Noooooooooo, I’d answer wistfully. I just didn’t want to spend the money.
I began thinking about it a lot more last year. My commissions can take a long time, so I finally started clocking them. I was horrified to see what my hourly rate came to when I divided my fee into the hours. I’m too embarrassed to even tell you. There were two things that needed to happen: 1) I needed to raise my commissions fee, and 2) I needed to be able to work faster. It was then that I began seriously looking at the Cintiq. I felt fairly certain that a more natural drawing experience would be faster. I read reviews and watched video comparisons of it to the iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface Pro. In the end, it was the one that was going to best fit my specific work style and needs.
Was it faster? Absolutely! Not just that, but it is a natural drawing experience compared to the experience of drawing on the little side tablet. With the side tablet, it’s all happening from your wrist. When you can draw right on the screen, however, you can use your whole arm. Imagine being tethered by the wrist to a tiny spot for nearly seven years and then suddenly getting to move your arm and shoulder.
So, my plan had been to use the Cintiq in the studio and continue using the Intuous pad at home. Well, guess what? Once you get a taste of drawing on the monitor, you can not go back. Nope. I ended up gritting my teeth and buying the portable 13″ Cintiq to use at home. Ha!
If I had it to do over again — and money was no object — I’d get the 27″ model. I was used to working with a 27″ monitor, so now my images feel a bit shrunken to me when I make them fit the screen. Also, I gotta say that even though the Cintiq has good resolution, there’s just no comparison with the Apple Thunderbolt monitor’s resolution. That’s a trade-off, but I still use the Apple monitor for everything else I do, including checking my images closely before having them printed. Two work tables, two monitors.
I have not yet figured out how to program the Cintiq’s left side panel buttons. I’ve been busy, okay? I’ll get to them. One last thing, and this is pretty great actually, is that the Cintiq not only tilts, but rotates, on its stand. I find this really helpful when I’m drawing a slanted line and I have to get my arm into just the right position. Having a standing desk has also helped with tweaking my positions. Drawing has become a much more physically engaging activity for me, and I like that.
Thanks for reading!
Only 28 days ’til Spring,