Wacom. How I love and hate their product(s) at the same time. However love always conquers, right?
Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? I started drawing digitally around 2010 or so. Originally I bought the Wacom Bamboo back then and also had a laptop with Photoshop to work with. Still having the Wacom Bamboo in my closet.
Don’t use it, but can’t throw it away either. And no, I don’t want to sell it either. Don’t even know the reason for that. I guess I still feel that the Bamboo could be useful or something. However, this post is all about the Cintiq I use every day. Trying to give you only the most essential information needed and cutting the rest out. Giving you an absolutely honest review.
Wacom Bamboo experience
First drawings which I made were just plain awful, I mean, in my eyes at least. But it all had to start from something. I also noticed that it was super hard to draw while looking at the monitor and drawing to the tablet and not seeing the results under your hand. It just felt unnatural.
I mean it just feels so much more natural that you see what your hands are doing when drawing. My good friend borrowed his Intuos 4 L (if I remember correctly) drawing tablet. Now that tablet was way better than the bamboo I had at the time. I could feel how the pen sensitivity increased. I could actually draw quite gently and see how the brush produced some nice lines to the canvas.
What an experience, I mean it felt so much closer to what I was experiencing with the bamboo.
This was an improvement to the bamboo and a clear one. Pen pressure and pressure sensitivity did the trick there. The lines weren’t so stiff anymore. Lines also had a much-needed variation to them.
Wacom Cintiq 12WX first impressions
However, the drawing experience was awkward and unnatural, still. With the Bamboo I mean. Even with the Intuos 4 L, it just didn’t feel good. So I searched the web a bit and came across Wacom Cintiq 12WX. This had a screen and all.
Yes, it was expensive and I was lucky I had a job at the time. These things cost some serious money. So prepare yourself to spend some hefty amount of money. I bought the tablet and damn that gave me the exact results I wanted. I could see the lines while I was drawing. It felt natural and a joy to draw. Finally, I could draw like I had drawn in a paper before. Seeing all the lines appear beneath my hand.
This was just awesome and totally what I needed. I was impressed, to say the least. Finally, I got the results I was missing before. Finding that joy in the drawing. It surely wasn’t too much of joy with the bamboo one.
Not all joy and happiness with the drawing tablet
But all wasn’t just happy happy, joy joy. Nope. I remember that installing the tablet to a new computer(s) (after crashing, after buying a new one and so on) was a big pain in the butt. Every time my computer crashed, I had to install everything anew.
It was stressful (to say the least) to see would the tablet work or not. I’ve had lots of headaches with the tablet. The drivers could die suddenly and everything. I have seen it all. Then again, this tablet has been with me a long time. It has shown it’s ups and downs. Many times.
The usual fix was to uninstall everything related to Wacom, all little pieces here and there. Then install the drivers once again and sometimes even multiple times before the tablet was living again. This was and is stressful.
Drivers and tools
You want to draw, or you have to draw and the tools don’t work. It feels like the world is coming down. Hard! So, what I appreciate more than anything is that the tools I have, work everytime I use them. Wacom, mmm. Not the most reliable one in the beginning but when you get it to work. It works wonders.
Wacom products just need quite a stable system and environment to work properly. I haven’t updated my drivers in a long time. I don’t want to. Because there is always that possibility that the tablet won’t work the same way anymore.
So you might want to find the driver that works and stick with it. Never changing it. It might sound superstitious but I like to play it safe when I am dealing with this tablet.
The only grudge against the tablet is that the display size is quite small. That is, however, something I am already used to. Yes, there is shaking effect right at the edges of the tablet, also. That is something I am also used to dealing with. I usually draw in the middle of the screen anyway. So there are some minus points that can’t be fixed with drivers.
The happy times of using Wacom Cintiq 12WX
As said before, when the tablet works, it’s just plain awesome. It is so easy to use and so fast. The side buttons, scroll strips, zooming and changing brush size is easy and pain-free. I mean you can work so fast and efficiently with this tablet. Also getting that other idle hand to work while drawing. I like how you can draw smooth lines with the tablet and how the surface feels just right. Like paper but still presenting that digital feel to it.
My screen still looks as good as new. Although I do admit, I take pretty good care of it. Cleaning it with a microfiber cloth before I start to draw and this is done every single time. You could see it as a huge amount of work but when you have made it as a habit it doesn’t feel like so.
I truly think this tablet is one of the best. Having those side buttons truly speed up the workflow and makes drawing pleasant in every way. Productivity and fast usage are important and this tablet delivers just that.
Cons and Pros of Cintiq 12WX
Have to start from the cons. Kind of getting those out of the way.
- Shaky at the edges (shakyyy)
- Low resolution (1280 x 720p)
- Small Screen (12 inches)
- Color representation quite poor
- On tablet buttons!!!
- Smooth lineart!
- Excellent drawing surface!!
From this, we could say that the cons outweigh the pros. More cons than pros. But no. Don’t see it that way. Yes, the cons are quite major ones. However, the impact of those three pros is greater than the cons. Think about it. Drawing smooth lines is much more important than mentioned cons. Yes, the edge does create shaking but you mostly don’t draw at the very edge anyway. The small resolution and screen. Yes, that is sometimes annoying. But then again, when drawing accurate lineart you zoom in any way. Right?
So is this the perfect tablet? No, but it definitely is perfect in every way for me. I can do accurate lineart and cel shading effortlessly and by now, you can get this at quite a low price point. And yes, the driver support is there for Windows 10. It even worked right for the first time! Which was more than surprising, relieving and pure awesomeness.
The color accuracy of this tablet is very poor but you most likely do the color corrections through proper monitor anyway. Or you should do. I mean, monitors still have an upper edge compared even to the latest of drawing tablets.
Did I mention the excellent paper like drawing surface? Yes, I did. I just had to mention it again. This tablet is the best for me because it gives me the results I am looking for. No, this not the latest tech available but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you get the results you are looking for.
Wacom Cintiq 12WX Grip Pen
What I do like to mention about the pen, is that the weighting is just correct. Not too light and not too heavy. It is nice to hold it and use it. The pen has excellent button quality and the buttons are nicely placed. Making them easy to use.
I use the buttons to zoom in and out. Very effective and fast to use. I have tried other pen (one that came with Cintiq 27QHD) and have to say Cintiq 12WX grip pen is better. Nothing bad to say about the pen. It does what it is meant to.
The latest pro pen that comes with Wacom’s latest tablet is slightly too light for my hand. The buttons are also a bit weaker/lighter in the latest pen. I guess I could get used to it. It’s all about how you approach things.
So what drawing tablet should you buy?
From my own experience, Cintiq 12 WX is an excellent choice. I did actually once bought the Cintiq 27QHD when it came to the markets. To make a long story short. I would hesitate with it. At least read about it first, before you buy it. I bought it 3 times (2 x pixels errors) and never got it to work even after spending more time with it than is even healthy.
Yes, it has a big screen and yes it is awesome but still. It just didn’t do the work for me.
I think the main reason was that the remote control that came with it, didn’t work. I have read someone getting it to work properly but still. Do read more about the tablet and think what would be suitable for your use. Big screen, medium-sized or could even a small screen do the trick for you.
Might sound weird but also think about the space and desk you are using and how the tablet fits into it. Take different aspects into account and truly think it through. It would be a shame to buy an expensive tablet only to notice that it won’t fit to your desk or that it lacks features you need.
My recommendation for a new drawing tablet
If I were to buy a new drawing tablet, I would most likely buy the new Cintiq 16 Pro or Cintiq 13HD. I think those two do offer nice value and might get you the results you are after. I might even go for the Cintiq 13HD more than the 16 Pro. Even 13HD being older technology and all. When something works, then it works. I also like to have those side buttons for maximum efficiency. I mean, think about it. You either draw with your left or right hand.
I don’t believe you if you say you draw with both hands holding one pen. So in any case, the other hand is free to do some productive working, right? I draw with my right hand and change brush size on the fly with my left hand for example. Cintiq 12WX is working, and giving me the results I need.
I don’t have to change it, even though buying a new tablet is sometimes very tempting. Very tempting indeed. New bigger screen, color accuracy, screen brightness. Would be nice to have but you also have to remember. Don’t fix what ain’t broken. Also, use what is working for you and truly think if the new tablet could lift your art to the next level or not. Usually, the quality of the art is produced by the artist him/herself not by the tools you have. Tools do provide the way to awesome art but it is you who does the work in the end.
I truly hope this honest review gave you some new thoughts and ideas for your drawing tablet decisions. Yes, it was intentional that I left other products mentioned, like Huion and XP-Pen. That is because I think Wacom is the leader in the drawing tablet market.
They create quality products even though I have to admit drivers do give some serious issues every now and then. Wacom is my drawing tablet choice and wouldn’t change it to anything. Do leave a comment below and tell what tablet you use and is it good or not.
Do also mention if you use like iPad Pro or others, would be nice to hear experiences from those.