Oscraps

Advice on the best Wacom Tablet to purchase

rraustin

Member
I really want to purchase a Wacom Tablet - need advice on the best one to purchase. I have been researching and there are so many mixed reviews and options! Get a Wacom or go with a different brand? I would only use the tablet for scrapping with Photoshop CC, I certainly was not blessed with the gift of drawing. So -please hit with your sage advice and knowledge.
 

faerywings

The Loopy-O
CHEERY O
I have had three Wacoms and one off-brand. I didn't like the off-brand one at all. I don't even know what the brand was, I think I blocked it from my mind. :)

The one I have now is an Intuous and it is ~3-4 years old, maybe more. (Time has no meaning anymore)
I use it only for scrapping too and having the pen makes a huge difference. I don't have any specific advice but if it comes down to the size of the tablet, I would recommend the larger one. I had a small one and I felt like I was always running out of room.
I am sure that you will get better advice but I know you will love using it whichever one you choose
 

LSlycord

Moderator
CHEERY O
So excited to see this thread. I too have decided that I want a Wacom. I had one years ago (10+) and I never really got the hang of it, but I want to try again. I do think that maybe the one that I had was just too small.
 

rraustin

Member
I have had three Wacoms and one off-brand. I didn't like the off-brand one at all. I don't even know what the brand was, I think I blocked it from my mind. :)

The one I have now is an Intuous and it is ~3-4 years old, maybe more. (Time has no meaning anymore)
I use it only for scrapping too and having the pen makes a huge difference. I don't have any specific advice but if it comes down to the size of the tablet, I would recommend the larger one. I had a small one and I felt like I was always running out of room.
I am sure that you will get better advice but I know you will love using it whichever one you choose
Thank you for your advice - much appreciated!
 

rraustin

Member
So excited to see this thread. I too have decided that I want a Wacom. I had one years ago (10+) and I never really got the hang of it, but I want to try again. I do think that maybe the one that I had was just too small.
Yeah, I hope this thread can help us decide. Everyone has so much knowledge on the site. So exciting!
 

Vicki Robinson

Designer + Brush Queen
I’ve been using a Wacom tablet for at least 15 years — I don’t use a mouse at all (I’m not even sure I know where it is). I do have some suggestions for you, but it’s very early in my day and I have a killer headache, so as soon as I can think clearly I’ll be back.
 

bcgal00

Well-Known Member
CHEERY O
I have gone thru 3 Wacom Intuos over the years and will never go without one. I don't need a lot of bells and whistles and don't do a lot of freehand drawing with mine so this cheap one does the job very nicely. I like the small size b/c it doesn't take up a lot of room beside my keyboard.
 

rraustin

Member
I’ve been using a Wacom tablet for at least 15 years — I don’t use a mouse at all (I’m not even sure I know where it is). I do have some suggestions for you, but it’s very early in my day and I have a killer headache, so as soon as I can think clearly I’ll be back.
Please do Vicki and feel better soon.
 

taxed4ever

Administrator Crazy about the "O"
CHEERY O
I have had a Wacom Bamboo tablet and when that one bit the dust I got myself a Wacom Intuos it has a bit bigger surface area. I couldn't live without my tablet and pen. I never use a mouse and like Vicki I wouldn't even know where to find my mouse LOL. The Intuos has many things that I do not use, only because I have been too lazy to learn. One of my New Year's resolution is to learn more about the shortcuts and setting my Wacom up properly.
 

Vicki Robinson

Designer + Brush Queen
My two cent, based on my 15 years experience with Wacom tablets. I am a digi scrap designer, so I use my pen tablet all day long, everyday. As I said, I do have a mouse, kept (somewhere safe, I think) for those rare instances when computer issues force a reboot and the pen isn't recognized by my operating system.

In case you're not quite sure how they work
When you install a tablet, its software is set up so that it's surface is mapped to your screen — meaning for example, that when you move the pen to the upper left of your screen, if you look at the tablet, your hand will be in the upper left. You can think of the tablet itself as an electronic mousepad. You move the pen (like you would a mouse on a mousepad) but the pen is much more precise especially if you do lots of detail work such as "extractions" — isolating objects from their backgrounds, detail photo editing, brush work, and/or drawing and sketching.

In my opinion, two important things to consider are (1) how you want to use the device and (2) how much room you have in your work area. Whether you use PC or Mac doesn't matter and the Wacom tablets work with laptops. I see that some Wacom devices are now supporting Chromebooks, but as far as I know, Wacom tablets don't work with iPads or other brands of tablets, although I see they sell a Pen that does. Also, the tablets can be used whether you’re right or left handed - you can choose either set up.

My first Pen/Tablet was a Wacom Bamboo Fun — there may have been others on the market, but Wacom was the only brand getting any press in those days. The Bamboo Fun and the other "Bamboo" products were retired several years ago and what they now call the Bamboo is a different animal altogether. The Fun had a small worksurface footprint — maybe 6 inches of useable surface and a pen with a toggle botton that could be programed (easy to do with the built in driver software) for things like right click, double click, etc. It was perfect beginner tablet for me because it was inexpensive, had a little bit of customization (the buttons on the pen) and did not take up much room on my desk.

Wacom has several product lines: "computers" and "pen displays" in addition to their pen tablets. When you look at their website, you'll see the differences. If you want to use the pen tablet for general scrapbooking (not for acutally draw on a computer or a screen), it's the pen tablet products you'll want.

Right now there are three products in the pen tablet cateory: One by Wacom, which is the lowest level — see below — and the Intuos and the Intuos Pro. The main differences are the size of the tablet, whether or not they are bluetooth capable, the number of customizable buttons and the pen sensitivity levels. All of the products come with pressure sensitive pens (meaning for instance that the stroke you make with the pen will change depending on how much pressure you apply to nib as you move your hand (useful for some brushes in Photoshop/Elements than can respond to pressure). The amount of sensitivty the pen can handle may depend on the product you buy. The pen "nibs" are replaceable. All pens come with several and depending on how much you use the pen, you may need to replace them every so often because they wear down, although not quickly. I always have a spare set of nibs on hand.

The current Wacom tablet most similar to what I started with is called One by Wacomthe smaller one is on sale right now for just under $60 directly from Wacom — normally just under $70. Don't get this product confused with the Wacom One Drawing Tablet with Screen, which is completely different (and crazy that they called it almost the same thing) and much more expensive. The One by Wacom would be my suggestion for someone just starting out because if it turns out you don't like working with it, you haven't made a huge investment. I think for most scrappers, this model — either size — is more than acceptable. If you decide you really love it, you can always get something with more features.

Because of my design work, I now use the Intuos Pro M(edium). The pen has mutliple programming options of which I take full advantage and all the tablet buttons are programmed for a bazillion functions for Photoshop (Save As, Save for Web, Save as Brush, Image Size and ton's of actions, to name just a few). I don't know what I would do without it.

How much space you have in your work area will be a big factor in which size tablet you buy because where you end up placing the table is as important as how big the tablet surface is. As you can see from my picture, I have a very narrow computer table/desk but 27" monitor. I tried several configurations before I ended up with my keyboard on the left, my tablet directly in front of my screen and the pen (mine comes with a holder) to the right. Because of this I have the "touch" feature turn off - that's what allows you to use gestures on the table itself to navigate a web page for instance — none of which I need to do. The Wacom site has pictures of people with the tablet on the right and the keyboard in front of the monitor and even some with both the keyboard and the tablet in front of the monitor. There is no right or wrong way — it's whatever setup works best for you.

A couple of final things:
All of Wacom's products come bundled with other software — sometimes just trial versions. I don't use any of it, but maybe you will find some of it useful.

Wacom products never go on really big sales, so there's no reason to "wait and see." You can also buy them on Amazon, at least here in the States, and that is what I have done in the past because I'm a Prime Member and am too impatient for anything slower than 2-day delivery.

I hope this helps you @rraustin — I'm happy to answer any other questions you might have.

desk.jpg
 

faerywings

The Loopy-O
CHEERY O
What a fab write-up, Vicki! I had a Bamboo to start with, that was the one I felt was too small.

Also- a fab point about the pen pressure. I don't know what your budget is but if you do a lot of brushwork, that is something to take into consideration. IMHO- it makes a difference.
I don't shop but does Best Buy/Staples/wherever these are sold-- have ones out to test? That might be an idea to see if the pen is comfortable to use, see if you like the way it reacts to pressure.
 

faerywings

The Loopy-O
CHEERY O
@Vicki Robinson Do you have any Wacom Tutorials that you recommend? Either on your blog or ones that you have found helpful?
I don't use mine to the fullest extent and I always think I should put away the mouse and get used to it. But I need a bigger kick in the pants to get started.
 

LSlycord

Moderator
CHEERY O
I just went to Amazon (like @Vicki Robinson I have Amazon Prime because I am impatient) and purchased the small Wacom One. It will be here tonight so I am anticipating a late night introduction to my new toy! Thanks @Vicki Robinson for the great write up and thanks @rraustin for starting this thread.

I am really excited. @faerywings I found this YouTube video this morning. It seemed like a good one to get started but, of course, I don't have one yet so I haven't tried it. It is an old video so I'll be looking for more today.
Five Photoshop Tips for Wacom Tablet Beginners.
 

Vicki Robinson

Designer + Brush Queen
@Vicki Robinson Do you have any Wacom Tutorials that you recommend? Either on your blog or ones that you have found helpful?
I don't use mine to the fullest extent and I always think I should put away the mouse and get used to it. But I need a bigger kick in the pants to get started.
You know, it’s on my list of things to do tutorials for, so if there’s enough interest, I’ll move them up. I haven really found any online that were helpful. Which model do you have?
 

faerywings

The Loopy-O
CHEERY O
I have the regular Intuos. I am so lazy that I tend to use my mouse for most things, but then I switch back and forth with the pen when I scrap. I have a hard time giving up my Scroll wheel on the mouse :D

@LSlycord Congrats!!
 

Nickel

Feeling Owsome at the O!
CHEERY O
I Have a very old Intuos, he worked great with my old Vista computer. It didn´t when I got my W7 computer. I never gave it a thought but I put him in another USB port and He work like a dream (`als een zonnetje` in Dutch, literally a Little sun'

I stil have to get used to it one of my objection, the pen is too thick for my taste.

i love to make masks with it (and another brushwork)
 

faerywings

The Loopy-O
CHEERY O
Vicki, I am going to see about that button/scroll.
Linda- Bwhauhahah!! Although a 53 yo Faery isn't even awake at 9.30 to open the box :)
Cimdy-- LMK if you find out how to do that
 

LSlycord

Moderator
CHEERY O
Ok. I put the mouse away and feel a bit crazy right now! This is hard. But I'm sure it will get easier. The first tip that helped a lot was "This is not a mouse" so I'm busy re-training my brain right now. The second tip that I saw was "Get rid of your mouse". He also recommended that you use the WACOM even for searching the internet. Just so that you really get your brain re-trained. Oh my!
 

Vicki Robinson

Designer + Brush Queen
Ok. I put the mouse away and feel a bit crazy right now! This is hard. But I'm sure it will get easier. The first tip that helped a lot was "This is not a mouse" so I'm busy re-training my brain right now. The second tip that I saw was "Get rid of your mouse". He also recommended that you use the WACOM even for searching the internet. Just so that you really get your brain re-trained. Oh my!
Yes ma'am — as I said I don't know for SURE where my mouse is and that's the best way to get the hang of it.

I'll tell you a secret. I bought the same one and will set it up on the DH's computer so I can do some tuts on that model. It will have to wait a couple of weeks because of design commitments, but have some ideas!
 

faerywings

The Loopy-O
CHEERY O
Yes ma'am — as I said I don't know for SURE where my mouse is and that's the best way to get the hang of it.

I'll tell you a secret. I bought the same one and will set it up on the DH's computer so I can do some tuts on that model. It will have to wait a couple of weeks because of design commitments, but have some ideas!
*happy dancing*
I saw your newsletter this morning and was planning to reply after I made a million sock puppet accounts. Looks like it is a good thing I didn't. LOL!!!
 

faerywings

The Loopy-O
CHEERY O
Ok. I put the mouse away and feel a bit crazy right now! This is hard. But I'm sure it will get easier. The first tip that helped a lot was "This is not a mouse" so I'm busy re-training my brain right now. The second tip that I saw was "Get rid of your mouse". He also recommended that you use the WACOM even for searching the internet. Just so that you really get your brain re-trained. Oh my!
This is what gets me every time. I can't seem to get past this.
 

bcgal00

Well-Known Member
CHEERY O
I continue to use the mouse for internet browsing. The wacom is small enough to be on my desk beside the keyboard and I have room for the mouse too. I like using both.
 

KimPay

Well-Known Member
My two cent, based on my 15 years experience with Wacom tablets. I am a digi scrap designer, so I use my pen tablet all day long, everyday. As I said, I do have a mouse, kept (somewhere safe, I think) for those rare instances when computer issues force a reboot and the pen isn't recognized by my operating system.

In case you're not quite sure how they work
When you install a tablet, its software is set up so that it's surface is mapped to your screen — meaning for example, that when you move the pen to the upper left of your screen, if you look at the tablet, your hand will be in the upper left. You can think of the tablet itself as an electronic mousepad. You move the pen (like you would a mouse on a mousepad) but the pen is much more precise especially if you do lots of detail work such as "extractions" — isolating objects from their backgrounds, detail photo editing, brush work, and/or drawing and sketching.

In my opinion, two important things to consider are (1) how you want to use the device and (2) how much room you have in your work area. Whether you use PC or Mac doesn't matter and the Wacom tablets work with laptops. I see that some Wacom devices are now supporting Chromebooks, but as far as I know, Wacom tablets don't work with iPads or other brands of tablets, although I see they sell a Pen that does. Also, the tablets can be used whether you’re right or left handed - you can choose either set up.

My first Pen/Tablet was a Wacom Bamboo Fun — there may have been others on the market, but Wacom was the only brand getting any press in those days. The Bamboo Fun and the other "Bamboo" products were retired several years ago and what they now call the Bamboo is a different animal altogether. The Fun had a small worksurface footprint — maybe 6 inches of useable surface and a pen with a toggle botton that could be programed (easy to do with the built in driver software) for things like right click, double click, etc. It was perfect beginner tablet for me because it was inexpensive, had a little bit of customization (the buttons on the pen) and did not take up much room on my desk.

Wacom has several product lines: "computers" and "pen displays" in addition to their pen tablets. When you look at their website, you'll see the differences. If you want to use the pen tablet for general scrapbooking (not for acutally draw on a computer or a screen), it's the pen tablet products you'll want.

Right now there are three products in the pen tablet cateory: One by Wacom, which is the lowest level — see below — and the Intuos and the Intuos Pro. The main differences are the size of the tablet, whether or not they are bluetooth capable, the number of customizable buttons and the pen sensitivity levels. All of the products come with pressure sensitive pens (meaning for instance that the stroke you make with the pen will change depending on how much pressure you apply to nib as you move your hand (useful for some brushes in Photoshop/Elements than can respond to pressure). The amount of sensitivty the pen can handle may depend on the product you buy. The pen "nibs" are replaceable. All pens come with several and depending on how much you use the pen, you may need to replace them every so often because they wear down, although not quickly. I always have a spare set of nibs on hand.

The current Wacom tablet most similar to what I started with is called One by Wacomthe smaller one is on sale right now for just under $60 directly from Wacom — normally just under $70. Don't get this product confused with the Wacom One Drawing Tablet with Screen, which is completely different (and crazy that they called it almost the same thing) and much more expensive. The One by Wacom would be my suggestion for someone just starting out because if it turns out you don't like working with it, you haven't made a huge investment. I think for most scrappers, this model — either size — is more than acceptable. If you decide you really love it, you can always get something with more features.

Because of my design work, I now use the Intuos Pro M(edium). The pen has mutliple programming options of which I take full advantage and all the tablet buttons are programmed for a bazillion functions for Photoshop (Save As, Save for Web, Save as Brush, Image Size and ton's of actions, to name just a few). I don't know what I would do without it.

How much space you have in your work area will be a big factor in which size tablet you buy because where you end up placing the table is as important as how big the tablet surface is. As you can see from my picture, I have a very narrow computer table/desk but 27" monitor. I tried several configurations before I ended up with my keyboard on the left, my tablet directly in front of my screen and the pen (mine comes with a holder) to the right. Because of this I have the "touch" feature turn off - that's what allows you to use gestures on the table itself to navigate a web page for instance — none of which I need to do. The Wacom site has pictures of people with the tablet on the right and the keyboard in front of the monitor and even some with both the keyboard and the tablet in front of the monitor. There is no right or wrong way — it's whatever setup works best for you.

A couple of final things:
All of Wacom's products come bundled with other software — sometimes just trial versions. I don't use any of it, but maybe you will find some of it useful.

Wacom products never go on really big sales, so there's no reason to "wait and see." You can also buy them on Amazon, at least here in the States, and that is what I have done in the past because I'm a Prime Member and am too impatient for anything slower than 2-day delivery.

I hope this helps you @rraustin — I'm happy to answer any other questions you might have.

View attachment 364180
Lots of great info here. It has me wondering if I need to be using a Wacom tablet...hmmm? I actually have a Bamboo Create that I bought about 12 years ago & never really used that much. It's a medium sized tablet (8.5" x 5.5"). Just dusted it off & plugged it in - it still works. I made a commitment to self that I'd be more intentional about my digital scrapping in 2022 and use more of the resources available to me (that's how I came to be on the forums today). I'll give the Wacom a bit of a try over the weekend. All that being said I would be interested in any future tutorials, etc. on why & how to use a pen tablet.
 

Vicki Robinson

Designer + Brush Queen
Lots of great info here. It has me wondering if I need to be using a Wacom tablet...hmmm? I actually have a Bamboo Create that I bought about 12 years ago & never really used that much. It's a medium sized tablet (8.5" x 5.5"). Just dusted it off & plugged it in - it still works. I made a commitment to self that I'd be more intentional about my digital scrapping in 2022 and use more of the resources available to me (that's how I came to be on the forums today). I'll give the Wacom a bit of a try over the weekend. All that being said I would be interested in any future tutorials, etc. on why & how to use a pen tablet.

Hi Kim! Welcome back to the O!

The Bamboo Create is basically the same as the Fun I mentioned I started with — Wacom got way too clever with their model names and it confused the heck out of people. I think the differences were only the software that they bundled with. If what you have can connect with your computer, it is just perfect. You'll probably need a new driver for it tho - you can find that on the Wacom site in their support area.
 
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