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Wacom Starter's Guide 2011

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By fox-orian   |   Watch
Published: December 18, 2010
© 2010 - 2019 fox-orian
UPDATE SUMMER 2012: This tutorial is obviously a little bit out of date. My how the technology landscape changes over time! We now have a vastly different lineup of Cintiq tablets, all new Intuos 5's, and tablet PC's are going the ways of the dinosaur! Windows 8 tablets are going to be having real digitizer pen input! This is going to be some exiting times for the future of a digital artist! So please take what information I provide here as BASE value -- it can be applied to newer products as well!

Check out this journal post for a little more info:

--------------- EXTENSION OF "GRAYSCALE UNDERPAINTING" -----------------
I know the last section about grayscale underpainting is a little short. I had to suddenly end the tutorial a little early because I didn't realize I had reached the end of my 18,000 pixel max allotment. (DA can't take more than 18,000 pixels at a time.) I might fiddle with that section a little bit to squeeze slightly more relevant information, and make it feel less "cut-off."

There's not a lot I can add to it, anyway, though. Painting the grayscale layer is no different than just using the technique explained above it. This is also not exactly relevant to the actual use of the tablet, but more of a technique of Photoshop or another program. I only mention trying grayscale painting because it's easier than straight-up color painting, and can provide good practice on blending shades together. (Grayscale is like drawing something in 2D. It's easier because you're only concerned about two aspects of the process. Color is like 3D. It's harder because there's more to consider along the way.)

However, I will touch lightly upon adding color to the grayscale layer is a matter of either painting over it intuitively with appropriate values, or use a layer above the grayscale set to something like "Overlay" or "Multiply" and paint flat colors on it. You'll find that the layer will blend the color with the grayscale, combining all the appropriate values automatically. You shouldn't use this as a method to finish a piece, however. Touch-up work will have to be done on additional layers or your work will appear somewhat lifeless and "paint-by-numbers-esque."

*Omar-Dogan has a great tutorial speaking more about coloring grayscale art here: [link]

------------------------------ Original Description --------------------------------

I know, it's not P&C part 3 -- but I really wanted to put this one out. My old 2008 wacom tutorial is my most viewed, and I felt it really needed a massive rewrite talking about all kinds of aspects about things to CONSIDER, rather than things you should just "do" in a normal tutorial skill-building sense. I mean, the old 2008 tutorial doesn't even have any mention of the bamboo or intuos 4 or latest model cintiq, so yeah, it was time to update.

Man, another article 18,000 pixels tall.

It's a lot to read, I realize that, which is why I call this an "article" more than a tutorial. I also state more opinion in this than my previous tutorials, also lending to that "article" name.

Give it a read if you think it will benefit you. I want to try to help as many people as possible learn about those scary unusual things called Graphic Tablets.

Anyway, this is only like version 0.5 of this tutorial. There will be edits made to certain parts to better clarify, and some parts potentially rewritten because of the sudden lack of space to continue writing. I haven't fully proofread it yet, so there are some spelling and syntax errors. Bear with that for now :)
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CKdailyplanet's avatar
CKdailyplanetStudent General Artist
Apostle-of-Dawn's avatar
You don't know how much helpful your articles are for a newbie like me... thanks a lot.. :)
PrettySkitty16's avatar
PrettySkitty16Student Digital Artist
I just got a tablet to replace my older one, but now I have an issue where I cannot get the strokes smoothe again and no one really is answering the issue I have. I have the intuos pro medium .
SyazzzOneniy's avatar
Thank you sir, this is very obliging!
Amacdesigns's avatar
Amacdesigns General Artist
awesome! great tutorial
Mayeru's avatar
MayeruHobbyist Digital Artist
Wait, in that case, which tablet PCs do you recomend now?
Corgbyte's avatar
CorgbyteHobbyist Digital Artist
I'm moving from a Bamboo to Intuos pro at X-mas :D My bamboo only costed 40 GBP and getting a 150 GBP tablet 
SAR500's avatar
SAR500Hobbyist General Artist
Thankyou for a very informative and useful tutorial, this has enlightened me thankyou very much :) (Smile) =P (Razz) 
Origamimacaron's avatar
OrigamimacaronHobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the tutorial! I've been thinking about buying a wacom for a while, and this is the perfect guide! 
LucidKitsune's avatar
LucidKitsune Traditional Artist
While outdated, I think this still contains a lot of useful information! I'm about to purchase my first Cintiq after using the regular ol' Intuos for years. There is a lot of useful information in here that I did not know I didn't know. Thanks for this, even if technology has outgrown it now! :D
OmarArRTs's avatar
OmarArRTsStudent Digital Artist
What program should I use?
Laugh-Butts's avatar
Laugh-ButtsProfessional Digital Artist
drion4's avatar
drion4Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you. I've been struggling with these till now. Please continue making such helpful infographics.
AffinityShy's avatar
AffinityShy Filmographer
Thanks for making such a detailed, in-depth tutorial! This will help me streamline my workflow so I can focus on drawing and painting - the fun stuff - rather than doing everything the painstakingly slow and difficult way that I'm, unfortunately, used to.
sweetlacie's avatar
sweetlacieHobbyist General Artist
yes it's out of date but still is useful! :DDDD thank you!
Flightx's avatar
Flightx Digital Artist
Thank you!
Anadia-Chan's avatar
Anadia-Chan General Artist
This is great, thank you.  I made the first mistake you listed, about buying a professional tablet with no experience whatsoever.  I ended up spending my entire summer's pay on a cintiq (the 22hd one . . .).  I felt like a complete idiot at first, but luckily I'm serious enough about art and I LOVE using it.  Still learning, but it's going great and this is very helpful. :)
xobybr's avatar
xobybrStudent Photographer
i love you for making this guide. i got an intuos pro small for my birthday and i have used tablets a little bit in the past but this guide has been so helpful. thank you so so much!!!
NADreamer's avatar
NADreamerHobbyist General Artist
I had a really hard time getting my head around layers but I think I finally understand their importance and how to use them to my advantage so thank you. Also I will keep your advice on drawing and painting in mind when I get my tablet soon.

Thanks again for this guide. :thanks:
AzaSket's avatar
Thanks for sharing!
Iskander1989's avatar
Iskander1989Professional Digital Artist
BlackFlyBird's avatar
Thank's so much!!
Really helpful 
anonymous's avatar
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