Wacom Intuos Pro | $200 | Amazon
A few months ago, in my quarantine daze, I made a proclamation: “I must draw again!” This proclamation was very much influenced by the fact that the Wacom Intuos Pro was on sale at the time, and I was in a period of “quarantine feels” in which buying random stuff made me feel happy. Besides, I really wanted to get back into drawing, something I was good at in high school but have since dropped in the 15 or so years after. Surely, with my art being digital I’d be more inclined to make a habit out of things and get to it again.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t quite the case. Maybe applying for some online courses was a better idea.
Granted, I did have a bit more justification to grab the Wacom tablet. A few years ago, I wanted to read more books, but couldn’t seem to make myself do it with physical books. I promised myself to buy a Kindle if “I read more books”, but I didn’t … and bought the Kindle anyway. Sometimes you need to treat yourself. Turns out that buying the Kindle encouraged me to read more, because picking up a Kindle and swiping is effortless, unlike turning the pages of a paperback book. (Plus, you completely sidestep the risk of cutting your thumb.)
So, I applied the same logic for drawing. If I have the Wacom tablet, it should be easier to turn it on, grab the pen, and get to creating. And, in practice, it was! The Wacom Intuos Pro was super easy to set up, and after a little bit of tinkering, I was able to adjust everything for easy left-handed drawing. I had a bit of an issue at first with the touch features and dragging my hand along the tablet, but the settings made it easy to make it so that only the Wacom’s pen was recognized and I was good to go.
With the gusto of someone desperately grasping at something while the world is falling apart, I opened up Paint.net and got to “drawing”. Of course, the art of drawing something on a tablet and it appearing on a computer screen you’re not directly staring at is a bit of an adjustment. Thankfully, the Wacom Intuos Pro allows you to hover your pen directly above the tablet to see where your strokes will land, helping a ton with visualization.
After a few hours’ use, I was able to get the pen strokes pretty much where I wanted it to. I could write sentences and they looked mostly like my handwriting on paper (honestly, it looked better than my normal handwriting, which was a little depressing). The Wacom tablet held a charge for a long time, so it was easy to turn it on, pick up the pen, and give a try at a sketch. I kept this up for a few days, randomly sketching hands and stuff on my desk.
There was just one problem, though—I really sucked at drawing. It may be shocking, but it turns out that when you don’t practice a skill for 15 years, you kind of aren’t as good at it as you used to be. I was rusty. Really rusty. And my frustration mounted quickly. It was no fault of the tablet, of course—annoyingly so, as the pen perfectly tracks every mistake I made. I assigned the undo command to one of the buttons on the Wacom tablet just because I needed to fix things so much.
My daily sketching quickly turning to every-other-day sketching, to weekly sketching, and eventually, I stopped entirely. A hobby like drawing is way more active than reading a book, and I simply didn’t have the mental bandwidth to practice an artistic skill. I mean … hell, I didn’t even have the mental bandwidth to read at the time. Despite the Intuos Pro’s myriad helpful features, I couldn’t overcome the biggest hurdle of creating art: myself.
But I really have to say, the Intuos Pro is great. You can even use it as an accessible replacement for a mouse, provided you tweak the settings a bit. I can’t say it’s been the best purchase of the year 2020 for me (that would, of course, go to the motorized cat toy I bought to entertain my very loud and needy boy while I’m working early morning shifts). But there’s no denying it’s a solid piece of technology.
Maybe in a few months, I’ll pull it out again and give drawing another go. At least the money I spent is some good motivation!