Wacom Intuos3 Review

wacom doodlingMore than a decade ago, I used to reach out to the world through little home-made publications we called zines. Apparently, it was a movement, although in retrospect it seems fairly minute as movements go.

For the younger people: Making zines was a way to self-publish and share your thoughts and creativity with other people like you. You basically produced a compilation of drawings, comics, writing, etc. and bundled it together with a cover. Then you xeroxed the whole thing to make a few tens or hundreds of copies you could sell to cover the costs or give away. It was very limited and the community was pretty insular, but that is what made it fun.

This was before the Internet incorporated all culture. With the Internet, you no longer have to work to find like-minded people. I’m not complaining. Just sayin’. That was the whole point of zines, after all. For me anyway.

I enjoyed drawing comics and making the zine. I even enjoyed motivating my friends to participate and trying to manage the whole production side of it, so we could push out a new issue every so often. In some ways, it was a precursor to what I do now in web design and development. Funny how that works.

Anyway, the point is, as most of my hobbies have migrated to involving the computer, I’ve found it difficult to pick up a pen and paper. No more drawing, no more hand-written letters, no more mix tapes, no more zines. As special as it was, it just doesn’t make sense anymore. It’s like asking people to ride horses to get from place to place.

But, I miss drawing. I miss seeing pictures emerge from my brain that don’t look like I leaned on a computer to get them. It was always a surprise to see something good come out, almost as if something was working through you not as a result of anything you did. When you sat back and looked down at the page it was very satisfying. It felt creative in the sense of CREATING something.

Normally when I get the jones to draw, I go drop some money on fresh art supplies, which I mess with then ultimately abandon. This time I thought I would stop trying to fight the tide and buy something I could use on the computer. So, I broke down and bought a Wacom Intuos3 6×8 graphics tablet. Here’s my review in a nut shell: it’s harder to use than I expected. If you’re drawing every day, it might be a good tool to get familiar with. For me, I’ve used it 2-3 times in the two weeks I’ve had it. I plan on giving it more attention, but it wasn’t the computer drawing revelation I expected. For illustration, it might work better as a good way to color your work. The effect is definitely more fluid than controlled, in my experience. That being said, you have a lot more control than you do with the mouse.

Above is something I drew with the tablet. I’m going to keep at it.

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