Preface: Wacom Intuos Draw, Art, Photo, Comic & 3D
The Wacom Intuos comes in five variants and here’s a quick breakdown of the differences between them:
- Intuos Draw – Multitouch N/A, Draw Pack Included
- Intuos Art – Multitouch Available, Art Pack Included
- Intuos Photo – Multitouch Available, Photo Pack Included
- Intuos Comic – Multitouch Available, Comic Pack Included
- Intuos 3D – Multitouch Available, 3D Pack Included
There are some colors that are restricted to the models but it’s a cosmetic matter and shouldn’t affect your drawing abilities.
The five Wacom Intuos drawing tablets are essentially the same.
This specific review is based on the Wacom Intuos Comic (Small), but all the points made applies to the rest of the Intuos lineup.
Wacom Intuos Comic Small Review
The Wacom Intuos is highly recommended as the entry level drawing tablet.
I first chose Wacom Intuos Comic drawing tablet by virtue of its name.
Since I am interested in comic art and draw comics, I thought the name of Wacom Intuos Comic tablet was a clear sign I need it in my collection.
I’m not a professional artist, but it doesn’t mean I’m not picky. I tried to be as critical of the tablet as possible.
Wacom Intuos Comic belongs to the Intuos family of drawing tablets. Intuos line also includes Intuos Draw, Intuos Art, Intuos Photo, and Intuos 3D.
The main difference lies in their available sizes, colors, prices, and software bundles.
As for Wacom Intuos Comic, its biggest draw is its highly affordable price behind the industry-trusted Wacom.
That was one of the main reasons I opted for it in the first place.
Once I got my hands on it, I realized that Wacom Intuos Comics has much more to offer than its low price.
In the end, I thought I was really lucky when I decided to buy this tablet…
…but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Table of Reasons – Wacom Intuos (Small)
Price of Wacom Intuos Small: The same you’d pay for a birthday gift.
Wacom Intuos Comic retails for $99.95.
This is an extremely low barrier to entry.
I bought it at the time when my budget was a little constrained, and I didn’t want to make a big commitment for a hobby.
I was very satisfied with the result. I really think it was one of my better investments.
When you’re buying a drawing tablet, you’re paying not only for the hardware. You also pay for all the features the tablet has to offer.
So, what does Wacom Intuos Comic gives in return for $99.95?
The package includes the tablet itself, a pen, a USB cable, three replacement pen nibs (stored underneath the rear panel), a quick start guide, installation CD, and a software download code.
It’s the latter that I think makes it worth the price alone. When you also consider capabilities of the tablet, the overall value is a bargain.
My takeaway is, Wacom Intuos Comic is the champion in its price range.
It’s ideal for beginners and people on the budget.
Another great budget choice is the Huion H610 Pro, a bigger graphics drawing tablet for about the same price.
Wacom Intuos tablet is easy on the eyes and light on the wallet.
I purchased the small version of the Intuos Comic tablet, but it’s also available in a larger, medium size. Alternatively, you can try out the Huion New 1060 Plus – which is cheaper and bigger with similar hardware specs (and up-to-date firmware!).
This tablet itself is slim and very portable. Its body is made of polycarbonate-ABS alloy, which makes it light and sturdy.
While its design is simple, it’s not without elegance. I think it is a nice compromise between aesthetics and cost of production.
Wacom Intuos Comic comes in two colors: black, and mint blue.
Since I bought a small-sized tablet, I first expected it to be just an experiment – a “try before you buy” sort of deal. I was dead sure I was going to purchase a medium Intuos Comic a couple of weeks later.
But as time passed, the more confident I became in my choice. Had I chosen the medium size, I might have run into some problems – most importantly, a lack of space.
Size and ergonomics of the Wacom Intuos (Small)
As it is now, I enjoy working on my Wacom Intuos and I don’t suffer from any of the drawbacks that I initially expected. I have enough space to draw, and it never feels like I have to keep my hand in an uncomfortable position.
Speaking of space to draw, I first thought that the entire black area that you can see in the photo above is going to be the active area. But if you look closer, you can see a point grid pattern.
Turns out, the portion of the tablet within this grid pattern is the area that corresponds to your screen. The black borders around it are just a buffer zone.
All in all, Intuos Comic’s active area is about the size of an A6 paper.
The official Wacom website puts it at 6.0 x 3.7 inches.
The grid pattern makes it easy to understand the scale and where you are on the screen.
The surface itself looks glossy but it’s also rougher than what you may be used to…
…to simulate the feeling of real paper.
It gives a very nice feedback when I move my pen across it.
Within the first few hours, some scratches appeared on the drawing area. Don’t worry. This is normal for all drawing tablets.
The scratches don’t affect the tablet in any way and are only visible in direct light.
The only way to keep your tablet looking pristine is to never use it, much like how your car will stay clean if you never drive it.
The tablet’s back is textured, with a rubber foot in each corner. These feet offer good stability and don’t scratch the table. I myself use it on a glass table and have yet to see any smudges, much less scratches.
ExpressKeys on the Wacom Intuos save time. Use them!
There are four ExpressKeys (shortcut buttons) located above the drawing area of the tablet, two in each top corner. By default, they act as Shift, Alt, Ctrl and the Windows key.
You can freely customize them in the tablet properties.
My other hand almost always rests on the mouse, but I was surprised at how often I ended up using the ExpressKeys.
I’m right-handed and the drawing tablet usually lies to my right, so when I need to press a button, my hand naturally gravitates toward the leftmost ExpressKeys. However, this means that I rarely use two ExpressKeys on the right side of the tablet.
Of course, this is purely subjective, and you may find that your experience is different from mine.
By default, the tablet connects to your computer via USB. Its Micro-B plug is non-reversible, which means it connects in only one specific way, with the cord going to the left.
Since, again, I usually put the tablet to my right, when I need to connect it to the rightmost USB-port on my laptop, I have to twist the cord in a slightly unnatural way.
This is far from a deal breaker, but I feel like this could have been implemented better.
This issue can be fixed if you go wireless. The tablet doesn’t come with a wireless kit, but you can order it separately.
Wireless kit includes a wireless module, wireless receiver, quick start guide, and a rechargeable battery.
Wacom Intuos Pen: Well-stabilized, nicely designed and performs reliably. Money very well spent.
The pen is well-stabilized, and the pin doesn’t swerve much. There is no tilt sensitivity, but if you’re more interested in the basics rather than advanced techniques, this should not be a problem.
In fact, a number of professional artists are churning out great images without this feature enabled.
The pen offers 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, which may seem too few to pros but more than you’d expect from an entry-level tablet. Needless to say, if you’re on a budget or a beginner, this is an optimal choice.
I’ve been using this pen in a number of programs, chiefly in Manga Studio and Photoshop, but I also sometimes use it instead of a mouse.
I even tried to play some FPS games using the pen, and with enough hours put into it, I think you can become very dangerous with it.
As I’ve said before, there’s a nice feel to the nib as it glides on the working area. There’s no lag to speak of, either.
Strokes appear as soon as you move the pen across the tablet’s active area. Quick strokes are smooth and have no jitter.
The pen is very easy to use, and its textured grip is suited to holding for long periods of time. It also has two buttons, which by default act as right and left mouse clicks.
You can customize the buttons however you want under Wacom Tablet Properties.
One small problem with the buttons, though, is a lack of good tactile feedback. I would prefer a bit more “push” to it.
Also, when I need to use the buttons, my finger sometimes slips past them. Since the pen’s shape is unified, you can’t tell if you’re holding it “the right way” without looking at it.
The upside of this kind of shape is that it works equally well for left-handed and right-handed artists. Naturally, I only speak from my experience as a right-handed person, but some of the left-handed artists I know found it really easy to work with.
The pen doesn’t have an eraser tip, but it wasn’t a feature I was looking for anyway since I think flipping the pen to erase something is counter-intuitive.
Plus, most drawing programs have a designated eraser tool which you can easily access via ExpressKeys.
After a long use, you can see that the nib becomes slightly deformed.
Thankfully, Wacom Intuos comes with spare nibs with a special nib removal tool.
Replacing the nib is easy. Find three replacement nibs underneath the rear panel if you need to replace an old nib.
Do the following to replace the nib:
- Put the nib into a removal tool (a metal ring).
- Pinch the nib out by slightly angling the pen.
- Take a new nib and slide it inside the pen.
The whole process takes two seconds, and you don’t have to use excessive force or twist the pen.
Another feature I’m grateful for is a battery-free use. The pen on my previous tablet required AAA batteries, and it was a real chore to change them all the time.
For some reason, the pen kept draining them even when I wasn’t working on the tablet, so I had to manually take the battery out every time I turned the tablet off. It really took the fun out of drawing.
Thankfully, this is largely a moot point now since most, if not all, brands offer pens that don’t require batteries.
If I was to point out cons, the tablet doesn’t have a pen stand. This means you either have to be careful about where you put the pen, or use a special loop holder at the top of your Wacom tablet.
The loop is very tight, and your pen will never slip through.
Wacom Intuos Features: It’s all about that extra comfort.
When the tablet is connected, you can see the LED lamp turn on.
Its size and light intensity are well-adjusted, and even though I often work in a very dimly lit room, the light is unobtrusive and doesn’t hurt my eyes.
Wacom Intuos also supports multiple monitor setups.
If you are working with dual monitors, and this seems like a normal setup these days, there is an issue of screen separation.
By default, the tablet is mapped to both screens, with the drawing area divided in exactly two halves, one for each screen. This makes it a bit difficult to navigate between them.
Furthermore, since the pen is tracking across both screens, this means tablet-to-screen ratio is skewed, and pen control gets less precise.
Thankfully, this issue is easily fixed by tinkering with the tablet settings.
Go to Wacom Tablet Properties, select Mapping tab, then choose a preferred option in the Screen Area. You can choose between monitors and even limit the output area.
If you click on the Portion, you can decide on a particular area of the screen where the tablet would be active. A finer mapping will allow you better control.
You can also restrict the active area of the tablet itself.
I think that if you want to use your tablet on both screens at the same time, you should consider a medium-sized Wacom Intuos Comic. Its drawing area is 8.5 x 5.3 inches, which is almost 1.5 times larger than the drawing area of a small-sized Wacom Intuos.
While we’re on the topic of the tablet properties, here’s another function called multi-touch. It is turned on by default, with the switch located on the top side of the tablet.
Multi-touch allows you to use special gestures with your free hand, such as pinch to zoom in or pinch out to zoom out. You can also move and rotate your canvas this way.
The software doesn’t register your finger swipes as strokes, so you won’t be drawing by accident.
The gestures are preset, but you can change them in the settings. You can also modify pen settings there, such as tip feel, double-click time, and shortcut buttons.
I prefer to use the ExpressKeys over the multi-touch gestures, but I do fiddle with them quite a bit.
I’m grateful that they included this feature in.
Now it’s time to look inside Wacom Intuos Comic.
If you slide open the rear panel, you can also see ports for Wacom’s wireless accessories, such as USB wireless dongle, wireless kit battery, or wireless module. There are instructions carved into the surface, with arrows pointing to individual slots, so you will know exactly what goes where.
There’s even a Kensington lock for added security. It’s not a 100% insurance in itself as it can still be bypassed, but having a deterrent to theft is a nice addition.
Just like other tablets from the Intuos family, Wacom Intuos Comic comes with a great software bundle.
There is a software code on the package, and if you redeem it on the official Wacom website, you can download the respective programs for the tablets.
For the Wacom Comic you’ll receive codes to Clip Studio Paint Pro and Anime Studio Debut 10.
Clip Studio Paint Pro has a two-year limited use license, and you get a discount if you decide to upgrade it after the two-year period.
These programs are a pretty good choice for comic artists. In my personal rating, Clip Studio Paint (which I still like to call Manga Studio) is more versatile and user-friendly than Photoshop.
Manga Studio is heavily focused on the creation of comics, offering speech balloon tools, 3D reference materials, and screentones. It comes with a great range of customizable pens, brushes, textures, layers, and much more.
Then, you consider a price difference, and Manga Studio really comes out on top.
Wacom also offers online training and video tutorials, ranging from software lessons to drawing basics, which beginners may find useful.
Wacom Intuos Draw/Art/Photo/Comic/3D technical specs
Here are the official specifications for Wacom Intuos Comic tablet, directly from Wacom Co., Ltd.:
- Type: Pressure-sensitive, cordless, battery-free
- Active area (Small): 6.0 x 3.7 in
- ExpressKeys: Yes, 4 with application specific settings
- Multi-Touch: Yes
- Pressure levels: 1024
- Wireless support: Yes (sold separately)
- Weight (Small): 290 ± 50g
- Weight (Medium): 480 ± 50g
- Resolution: 2540 lpi
- Reading speed (pen): 133pps
- System requirements: Windows 7, 8 or 10 / Mac OS X 10.8.5 or later
Wacom Intuos Art/Photo/Comic/3D series is a trustworthy choice. You will love its formfactor and it will help you become a better artist.
Overall, Wacom Intuos Comic is a solid starter tablet for beginners and people on the budget.
If you want to create webcomics or are looking for a tablet for your amateur comics, Wacom Intuos Comic offers great cost-to-value ratio. I don’t think you can find anything better in this price range.
The few issues I outlined above are mostly cosmetic and don’t affect my overall rating. From now on, I feel that Wacom Intuos will be my point of reference for most of the tablets I’m going to purchase.
In a sense, you could say that Wacom Intuos Comic is a “gateway tablet.” While I was more than happy with what I got from it, I also understood better what I am looking for in my next tablet.
To sum up:
- Affordable price. Even when looked at separately, the price is nothing to scoff at – but coupled with all the features Wacom Intuos has to offer, it seems like an especially good deal.
- Great performance. So far, I haven’t noticed significant lag or problems with controlling my pen. The tablet works equally well in every software that I’ve tried.
- Extended capabilities. Wacom Intuos comes not only with programmable hotkeys but also multi-touch feature. It is a solid addition that may find its followers.
- Pleasant design. It’s simple, elegant and looks good anywhere. The black version looks sleek and the mint blue version fits anywhere.
- Portable size. I occasionally travel with Wacom Intuos in my bag, and I barely feel its weight. Plus the size allows for easy fitting and carrying.