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So here he are on yet another Wednesday (sort of), and it is time for more gadget talk. Last week I told you about my new Wacom Intuos 4. I would like to give an update on my use of the wondrous little tablet, what I have been able to do and the features that are available. I also promised more pictures of my drawing that I chose to practice on. I am happy to say that I have followed through with that one. I may not have gotten very far but remember I am learning to draw without pen and paper.

Last week when I first busted open my new toy, I decided to just dive right in. I wanted skip all the little manuals and explanations of how to use it and start drawing. I installed everything that I needed and calibrated the pen and went right to drawing. I tried the free software and made some doodles, when I had my fill I fired up Photoshop and picked a drawing then went to work. After the weekend passed I started to hit some snags as far as getting the tablet to do what I want. It was time for me to start learning the features.

The tablet need some adjustments. I started in the properties and discovered a few things I did not see before. It really does pay to take your time. The first item I noticed was that your properties can be set to be application specific. The pen has two sides an eraser and a pen side, each can be calibrated to your liking. The mapping section you see in the picture to the left allows you be specify work area. This is ideal for people, like myself, who have dual monitors. The part I got really involved with was the functions. The Intuos 4 has quick keys that can be assigned to perform various roles. There are some presets that can be used and for a more custom approach you can program keystrokes depending on the application you are using. I set up the quick keys to work for me and my style. There are six on the tablet in addition to the wheel and two on the pen. For my uses I set the wheel to zoom, adjust brush size, change layers and rotate my image. Each key was set up to serve as “time savers” for me. I mostly had keystrokes which included the brush, eraser, select tool, magic wand and the ‘step back’ function. After all of these changes my work started to improve and the minor annoyances faded.

Slowly but surely I have been improving at the inking part of using a tablet. I have pretty much finished inking my drawing and will be moving on to color next. For the most part I have loved the Intuos 4. I would say that anyone who wants to step into digital art and is already pretty good on pen and paper should start here. Wacom has bigger better tablets like the Cintiq, but at that point your talking around two grand and in my world that is not pocket money. To my knowledge and experience with other serious artists that is not and easy purchase to make. I will say that any tablet can be an investment if you know what you are doing. Since I started this I have had a ton of ideas. One complaint I have about the Intuos 4, and I should point out that I own the small model they also have a medium and large, anyway my complaint is that the work space is small. This is kind of a small complaint since I could upgrade and have more drawing space. It is also a small complaint since you do adjust. One other small item is that it can be touchy but in the detailed spots I plan on testing the ‘precession’ mode, which from what I have seen so far does a mini zoom in and slows down the motion capture of the pen so it does not get as shaky.

Over all this has been great fun! I love my new tablet and will continue to share and answer any questions readers have. I know that when I looked this up before purchase It was not easy to find the dirty details on this table. Every review was on Wacom’s flagship tablet the Cintiq. Not that there is anything wrong with that, If I can generate a supplemental income from all this art business then I will treat myself to that awesomeness, for now I will enjoy the simplicity and functionality of the Intuos 4. Below you can see the original piece and where I am now, this is after I have done inking.

Thanks for reading,


This is my inking so far, I still want to correct som problems but its all part of the learning process.

This is the original scan after doing a multiply a couple time in Photoshop.