Since I started the “As Mr. Artist Guy” feature a couple of weeks ago, two people have written me asking for a follow-up review of the new portable “sketchbook” Cintiq 12wx. I wrote my first review after having played around with the Cintiq for only a day or two. Overall I’m still very happy with it, but now that I’ve logged a few dozen hours with it I’ve got some additional thoughts.Read More
My portable “sketchbook” Cintiq arrived on Tuesday. After my first few hours with it, here are my initial impressions:
Beauty and Brawn. Like other Cintiq’s, this is a quality product with an elegant design. It’s thin but sturdy (although a tad heavier than I thought it would be). You almost think that you could knock it off a table top without doing any damage…although I wouldn’t recommend trying.
Drawing on it feels smooth and natural, just like a regular Cintiq.
Screen Specs. The high-resolution screen displays a crisp image with rich color. It has a wider viewing angle than my laptop screen, which means I can tilt it at different angles and the color shifts just slightly, if at all. Laptop screens are notorious for their shifting color, so this was a pleasant surprise.
If you are a stickler for color, you may not like the Cintiq’s default color settings. I’ve never been able to get my desktop Cintiq to be quite as precise in its color calibration as, say, an Apple cinema display, and my guess is the sketchbook Cintiq also can’t be fine-tuned as precisely as some would like. Although to be fair I haven’t done much research into how to calibrate the new Cintiq. But for general purpose cartooning and illustration the color is still very good.Read More
Earlier this year my studio went all-digital. I traded in my traditional drawing board for a Cintiq, which lets me draw and paint directly onto the computer screen. It’s greatly simplified my production process and shaved a little working time off of each project. I can make changes faster than I could on paper, and I don’t have to tinker with scanning and then cleaning up my artwork.
The only major drawback comes when I travel. I travel often and almost always have to take freelance work with me. I’m not about to travel with my Cintiq, it’s far too large, fragile, and expensive to toss into a suitcase. So I have to travel with a klunky assortment of traditional and digital tools to meet the deadlines. I usually pack paper and pencil, a small lightbox, my scanner, my laptop, and a wacom tablet for coloring (I’m not very fast at drawing with the Wacom, but I can color with it fairly quickly). That’s a lot of junk to haul around, requiring two pieces of carry-on luggage (my laptop bag, and a small suitcase padded with towels for the scanner). I then have to cross my fingers and hope that wherever I wind up staying has an empty surface large enough for me to spread everything out. It’s a major hassle.
All of it could be replaced with a tablet-PC , but I’m a Mac user and (unfortunately) Mac’s don’t make tablet PC’s. There are rumors that Apple will be unveiling a tablet computer in the near future, but similar rumors have been circulating for several years and Steve Jobs is on record as saying Apple has no plans to make such a device. The closest thing available is the Modbook, which is a MacBook that’s been converted into a tablet by a company called Axiotron. Early demo models received rave reviews, but there have been endless production delays and customers who placed orders back in January are still waiting for their Modbooks.
Now, finally, I have hope. Wacom has announced the Cintiq 12WX, which is a small, portable “sketchbook” version of the Cintiq. It appears to have all the features of a regular Cintiq, including scroll pad and programmable buttons. The pressure-sensitivity of the pen is 1,024 levels, the same as a regular Cintiq. The 12.1 inch (diagonal) screen will be a manageable size, a little bigger than a 9×6 sketchbook. There’s buttons on both sides (for lefty’s and righty’s), so my only concern would be making sure the whole thing is small enough to fit inside a standard computer bag. Although I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t.
(UPDATE: You can read the Cintiq 12wx press release, which details all the specs, here.)
There’s a low-res YouTube video that shows the Cintiq 12wx in action. I’m having problems embedding the video into my blog, but you can watch it here.
So far the Cintiq 12wx is only available in Europe, and apparently won’t ship before Christmas. But hopefully we can look for a US version early next year. The UK Amazon.com website lists a selling price of £829.98, which is roughly
$1,700.00 $999.00 American (and much cheaper than a Modbook). Looks like I’ll be asking for cash gifts this Christmas!
(UPDATE: You can order the Cintiq12wx for only $999.00 American here.)