Testing out the Wacom Cintiq Pen Display

I made a pandemic purchase: a 13” Wacom Cintiq pen display. It’s used, I couldn’t afford it new. I mostly still use my iPad to make drawings, but I did use a tablet whenever I worked on my desktop.

In the history of tablets I’ve owned, they have been mostly basic. The one above was the type I had for FIFTEEN YEARS, from high school to waaaaaay past college. But I wasn’t doing digital art to the extent that I do now.

When my Mac OS finally updated to the point that I could no longer update the driver, I upgraded to another economy version of Wacom tablets. It did the job as well, I would probably still use today if I wasn’t spoiled by my iPad. Unfortunately, the iPad was starting to mess with hand/eye coordination and I was getting worse at drawing with the Wacom Intuos. This became more of a problem when I had to do re-drawing of panels for my comic.

Enter the Cintiq

Having used the Cintiq on a few projects now, here are my observations:

-I miss touch capability like my iPad. If I buy a new one in the future, I will probably get one with touch features. Being able to zoom and rotate more seamlessly is a must for me if I have to use a smaller screen.

+I do love Wacom’s pen eraser, which is always intuitive. My one peeve about Apple Pencil.

– I still dislike the clicker on Wacom pens, but that’s more of a personal preference.

+ I do like having a dual screen even for non art reasons.

+ETA: I like the tablet even more now that I figured out how to change the settings from dual screens to mirror instead. Now my mouse arrow doesn’t disappear offscreen and I get to keep my hot corners.

-ETA: There is no proper way to flip the tablet for left handed use. I tried and it messes up the pen calibration. I have to get use to my express keys being on the left side and just use my keyboard short cuts whenever.

-I did not enjoy the stand that came with my tablet, which is the default stand that they offer on their site. I actually switched it out for the one I used for my iPad.

+Good pressure sensitivity and easy to customize the pressure.

+It’s nice to have the use of my keyboard for all the shortcuts. Also, the advantage of using my desktop means bigger files that my iPad can’t handle.

-Being stuck at my desktop. Still prefer to use my iPad for flexibility of working anywhere. If I had a laptop, I suppose that would be a different argument, but the Cintiq is pretty heavy, at least compared to an iPad. I can’t imagine taking the Cintiq to a coffee shop (RIP coffee shops due to pandemic, tear).

If I had to choose between the iPad or the 13in Cintiq, I would still pick the iPad, even with its file size limitations. I’m just too fidgety to stick to one place for working. However, if I was using one of those 22in or larger Cintiqs, I would make the tradeoff to work at my desktop for that larger screen space. Being able to test out the Cintiq waters with the 13in version gives me insight on whether I want to make that investment in the distant future.

ETA: I do think as I progress more with digital painting, I will need to rely more on creating art on my desktop over my tablet. Size restrictions on the iPad aren’t a big deal for me now, but it does limit me and I will need to consider using my iPad more for prep work and less for the majority of the painting.


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