wacom tablet

Screenprint Artist Toolbox – Wacom Tablet

I’m going to assume you’ve all got your computers and software in place and jump into one of my favorite tools of the trade, the Wacom tablet.

The Wacom is one of my favorite tools when wanting to gain complete control over what I’m doing. Let me show you why.

Gaining Control with a Tablet

The Wacom tablet allows you to draw within your art program while emulating the stroke of a pen or brush. Without it, your lines are a constant width from start to finish.

The pen is pressure sensitive, which means that the harder you push down, the darker and thicker the line. Here’s one way I take advantage of that when creating my seps.

tiger

Separating areas with fine detail is a breeze with a tablet

When I was creating the tiger image above, I knew I wanted to make the whiskers pop off of the tee once we went to press. However, the original image needed to have the whiskers pumped up in order to make them completely white.

In needing to do that, I knew the Wacom tablet was going to be the only way I was going to be able to accomplish this. I started by drawing over the whiskers on a new layer with a bright green color.

tiger-1

Separating the whiskers from the rest of the image

From this layer, I was going to be able to get the selection I need in order to make the image adjustments necessary in that area alone and nowhere else.

Below is a shot of that area with the green layer turned off and the selection I was able to get from it by command clicking on the layer’s thumbnail.

tiger-2

The actual selection using the previous method

From this selection, I was able to go in during the separating process and pump up the white explicitly in that area alone. Here’s is what my white channel looked like.

tiger-3

The resulting white channel

Having the power to control where you put your color down is absolutely key as a color separator. There is really no other way to do it than with a Wacom.

This isn’t the only place I used the tablet on this design though. The entirety of the tiger’s head was cut out of the original image, hair by hair, using the tablet. Yes, I can be a little anal but with the tablet, that process when by rather quickly.

But, Why Wacom?

There are plenty of tablets available on the market but simply put, none of them come close to Wacom. They work right out of the box and interface seamlessly with Adobe’s products.

I’ve used others and there is really no comparison. From the ease of installation of drivers to the fluid tracking of your movements and application of pressure, it is bar none.

What About Price?

There are two different models I would suggest to anyone. The first would be the Wacom Intuos. You can get the smallest one for around $80.

You’re not going to be using it all the time but when you do, you’ll be happy you got it for so little. The writing surface isn’t the largest but you don’t need huge.

If you want pure base model prices, the Wacom One will run about $60.

The next step up is the Intuos Pro. It’s a step above and takes you into professional artist territory but it’s more costly, coming in at around $250 bucks¬†for the small sized tablet.

Either way you choose, you can’t go wrong.

If it’s a money thing, get the smallest Intuos base model. If you want a little better feel from the pen, grab the Intuos Pro. Both would make great additions to any artist’s toolbox.