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How can I determine which drawing tablet is right for me?


Question

I do some caricature, cartoons and illustrations, as hobby. I believe that I am okay'ish with pen and paper, but recently decided to go digital.

Given my budget, and a quick assessment of needs and reviews of various graphic tablets, I am thinking of ordering the Wacom Bamboo One CTE 660 Pen Tablet which as per specs is a wide-format 8.5"x5.5" entry-level tablet.

During my research I've found that I could potentially use it with Inkscape, since I am not in a position to make an investment in professional software. Although I am not aware of the real potential of Inkscape for my purpose. I think I can mostly make-do with vector-graphics, and occasionally embed bit-maps (s.a. for scene background).

My question is -

  1. Since the table is of a particular size, which is roughly half or sometimes even a quarter of the paper size I use normally, would the experience be very different ?

  2. Given that I'd be using vector graphics, can I assume that "free-hand drawn" images will scale-up nicely?

  3. What are the other "free" (as in beer) alternatives for my purpose/use-case? Ideally, I'd prefer something that is not very resource hungry, as my PC isn't very powerful (yeah, living with a lot of constraints!).

Edit:

Finally I went ahead and got myself a Wacom Bamboo One 'Medium' (6x9) tablet. It is the entry-level product, but based on my first day experience, I think it is quite nice. I wasn't expecting anything pro-grade, but it seems to be pretty adequate. Build quality seems reassuring (i.e. not cheap, flaky plastic), is quite sleek, and pretty responsive. It worked out of the box. Without drivers, on Win 7, it worked as a mouse right-away. Worked in MS-Paint as expected (as a pen). On installing drivers and software, I got pressure-sensitivity and something called Bamboo-dock. It seems like a Widget-container, i.e. you can download applications online... pretty much the same crop that you see on Firefox, Opera, Chrome -- but seemingly hand-picked, and pretty relevant to usage with a pen. I like SumoPaint, which I've used before, and is not bad for decent drawings / illustrations.

Getting used to Pen, as a navigation / desktop-pointer tool, takes some getting used to. I think touch-phones and touch-pads have already mentally tuned us to direct pointing, but those devices have the display and touch-sensor aligned. When you are using the display and touch disjointed, it feels a bit odd, but not bad.

Thanks all for your comments.

2013/08/14
1
7
8/14/2013 3:21:00 PM

Accepted Answer

  1. In my opinion, the best size for drawing tablet is one that at least covers the area that you are used to in traditional drawing.

    It is important to take into consideration the actual size of the area that you use per drawing usually because you may draw into A4 size paper, but you might not draw one drawing per one A4. Digitally you can always use bigger document and pan all around it if you want to make another drawing.

    Though.. Since you work digitally with drawing tablet, you can use things like Zooming and Panning which can be used to kinda make up for size, but it takes less getting used to drawing with a drawing tablet the less you have to change your habits.

    Since you are on a tight budget, you might want to consider Trust drawing tablets Which are nowadays a bit more expensive than what they used to be I believe, but still quite cheap.

    When it comes to Wacom you can't really make a wrong decision as long as you consider what it is that you need from the tablet. Of course newer ones are better than the older ones :) I would however like to add that other companies like trust may give you more or less the same features with bigger drawing area and cheaper price. ( Meaning that you don't necessarily have to buy older or cheaper model of Wacom drawing tablet )

  2. As long as you scale vector by preserving the aspect ratio, then yes, it will scale up and down nicely.

  3. If this was about other free vector drawing programs.. DrawPlus starter edition is one of those.

2012/02/02
5
2/2/2012 2:54:00 PM