Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wacom Inkling Review

Howdy folks

Now this is not something I usually do, a lil' ol review on the site, but felt compelled to share my experience of this new device afte reading some crazy reviews that I feel completely misinform other artists out there.  


The 'Wacom Inkling'  is a new device made by - yup - Wacom.  You probably saw the youtube video a few months back, which was quickly shared between most artists I know and rapidly shared over the internet like a skateboarding dog singing don't stop believin.....the video was full of magic, wonder and promise.  Ooooh....aaah. check it out here....

Wacom Inkling Trailer

Basically, the device allows you to attach a small device to your sketchpad and draw with it's specific pen which will capture every line so u can easily usb the artwork into your computer and thus cutout the need to go and scan every page of your sketchbook.  What also looked exciting was that your captured artwork could be imported as Vectors, and potentially tweaked in Illustrator and give u sweet crisp artwork.

So when I got the chance to try one of these new gadgets out at my new job, I thought 'heck yeah!'  

Skip to the end - Massive Dissapointment.

I attached the wireless device to my A4 sketchbook, and tried it in a few diferent ways - one the train whilst commuting, scribbling ideas was my first test - that didn't go to well, so I thought 'give it another chance'.  So last night I got it all set up at home, comfy seat at the table, and used it to clean up a rough on my layout pad. The pen has a sensor light that should flash as you use it if it's picking up the signal ok, so I kept checking that this was working fine, and was concious of being careful and neat.  But when I imported the images this morning - bad dates Indy.  Bad dates.

Here's the comparison pics - on the left is the scanned artwork, the right is the Inklings...'interpretation'.  

You can see that although sometimes it's not too far wrong the fact that it's not right just isn't good enough.  And as for vectors - well when we tried to use this function it gave the image so many points in Illustrator that any manipulation would be a nightmare, plus it wasn't exactly the smoothest result.  You'd still be much better tracing the artwork in Illustrator itself.

On the plus does bring artwork into Photoshop on a seperate layer from the background, and u can use even more layers within the picture itself by hitting a button whilst u draw - but again, this is mute if the drawing isn't gonna come through correctly anyway. Plus I'm gonna stick up a tutorial very shortly on an easy technique for seperating out your line art in Photoshop.

So in summary my main problem is this - when I want to take my artwork into Photoshop or Illustrator or whatever and give it the digital treatment - or just have the image on my computer - I want it to be pretty much perfect.  And that's what any old scanner out there will do.  For not too much cash either.
It doesn't matter how much time this might save you by cutting out scanning - if the image doesn't match up there's literally no point whatsoever.  Plus you're restricted to using the Biro pen thing that comes with the device.  Which is ok, the pen feels quite nice, a little thick, but good if u like drawing with biro pens....but not all the time.

My advice to any artists out there thinking of picking this up - DON'T.  

Go get a scanner for half the price, and draw with whatever medium you like - your favourite pens, pencils, potato shapes....go nuts.  Or save the money towards a Wacom pad/Intuous drawing tablet thing and draw with the light pen.  Or...if you're feeling flush, get a nice Cintique!   

Just don't waste your time or money with an Inkling.  

Oooft.  I've never written so much!

Next week  - a thesis on why The Dark Knight is the best film of the last gazillion years.

Not really.

But it is.


Ross ( I'm not wearing hockey pads )
I'm not wearing hockey pads


hawthornearts said...

Hmmm, and ImagineFX sung its praises big time.
If every inkling really produces terrible results like you just showed us, then thats a serious case of misleading on Wacom, ImagineFX, and all the other reviewers parts.

Ah well, I have to stick to my scanner since I don't have enough money either way.

---------Marcos-------- said...

SalBa Combé said...

WTF! It seemed too good to be true. Thanks for the advice
See you!

Ben Greene said...

Stumbled across your review while trying to find more info from actual artists. Thanks for this breakdown! I'll stick to the scanner for now :P

Laara said...

I agree 100%! I got the wacom inkling for christmas and was extremely excited about it. It is a literal piece of crap. Every single sketch I have put in has come out completely mashed, squiggly, and off when I upload. VERY misleading advertising.

Anonymous said...

Great review, thanks for the comparison images. You really made it clear how off it seems to be. Any idea when you'll have a chance to put your scanning technique tutorial together? I'd love to read that.

embedded design said...

good and superb sketch ya....

Wacom Inkling said...

Thanks for posting! Love the Wacom Inkling.

Anonymous said...

nice review!

It's so hard to get honest independent and professional feedback noways!
I was wondering to go for one as a present to my girlfriend- she's architectural sketching a lot as well as comics..(quality is not as one for commercial illustrations) but now I think that would be rather a mistake!
Furthermore I'm disappointed from Intuos4 as running out of pins for the pen! (and I work very gentle with it retouching in photoshop)

So I'm paying wacom this time :)

cheers and keep on doing great job here!

Anonymous said...


I'm not paying wacom this time :)

Feks said...

Agree.. Wacom Inkling makes my sketches look like it was drawn by dog with plastic eye.

Anonymous said...

i got the inkling as a gift for my birthday. indeed, the system is not perfect. but the mistakes that you showed in the picture are ones that you can prevent. like when a line has disappeared, that's just the result of something (your finger) that was blocking the sensor. and when the whole drawing is mixed up, then that's problably because you turned the page. and it's not weird that the inkling can't see that you turned the page. but indeed, it isn't working perfect, but with a little practice it can be handy for quick sketches and ideas.
(sorry for my horrible english)