The Best Gift Ever

posted in: Digital Art, Tutorials | 9

I’ve been using a Wacom Intuos Pro 5 Medium since the beginning of my trip into the digital realm of art.

It’s been a great tablet, and I highly recommend them.

This year my husband bought me a Wacom Cintiq Pro 24.

I’ve wanted a Cintiq for a long time, but I couldn’t ever bite the bullet to buy one.

It’s crazy expensive, but I gotta tell you, it is so worth the price.

A lot of information for the Cintiq is confusing especially when you come to the table with no prior knowledge,

so let me fill in the blanks for you.

I found it hard finding this information.

I’m not sure why that is, but I’d like it to be simpler for you.

Wacom has basically three lines of products.

Wacom MobileStudio

First, the MobileStudio Pro is their system that allows you to draw on the screen, and it has Windows 10 and a graphics card.

This means it’s basically a standalone computer. You can take it wherever you want to go.

You can find out more about them here:

Wacom Cintiq Pro 24

Second, the Pen Displays, which come in the following sizes: 13, 16, 24, 32, are monitors that allow

you to draw on the screen, and you see your picture right on that screen.

These cannot function without a computer running the programs.

These are plugged into your graphics card, or through a display port, or through a HDMI cable.

As I said, the pen displays cannot function on their own; however, the 24 and 32 have the ability to convert

into a type of MobileStudio when you purchase the engine that clips into the back of them.

This engine costs a few thousand dollars.

You can find out more information about them here:

Wacom Pro Tablet

Third, the tablets are the starting point and staying point for most people.

They come in what I consider a basic mode as well as a pro level.

Tablets are not a monitor.

You do not look at them and see anything but a black type of screen.

You draw on your tablet, and the marks go onto your computer screen,

so you look at your computer screen to see what you drew.

Some people find it frustrating because you are looking at a monitor, and you never see what your hand is doing.

The difference between the entry tablets and the pro tablets is the features you get.

The pro tablets give you more buttons to program (which is nice because you keep your hands on the tablet) as well as the radial

menu, which allows you to quickly change brush size, zoom in and out, and rotate your image.

The pro versions also have the ability to work with the Art Pen, which is an extra accessory you can purchase.

The small version is about ½ the size of a piece of paper.

It’s fine for starting out, but you don’t have much room to draw on.

If you are an expressive mark maker, you are going to feel frustrated with the size.

I’ve never felt restricted with the medium, and I would say your active working space is probably close to a

standard piece of paper.

You can find out more information about them here:

I’ve been asked a lot of questions over time, so here are the most common questions with some answers.

How do you know what one to get?

This is where you must sit down and figure out what you want and need, but I’ll offer some tips.

If you only paint periodically, or you typically clone paint, get yourself a tablet.

If you want to mimic traditional painting, you like to sketch your own artwork, and you don’t clone paint, get a pen display.

Personally, I’m at the point where I needed to move into the Cintiq line. I’ve been frustrated with creating more imaginative

pieces, and I found myself wanting to work with pencils and paper more than my tablet for certain steps.

I work on my artwork daily, and on the weekend, I paint for most of the day.

I liken it to handing you a piece of paper, asking you to draw a portrait, but never letting you look down at your paper.

You would have a hard time making anything of value with this setup.

What size should I get?

I decided on the 24 because of the size.

If you get too small of a pen display you are going to be crunched for space, and I don’t think you are going to enjoy it as much.

The 32 was huge, and I didn’t think I had enough room for it on my desk.

The price difference between the 16 and 24 was only a couple of hundred dollars, so it made sense to get a bigger size.

The price difference between the 24 and the 32 was over a thousand, so I didn’t want to spend that much.

Plus, the 32 didn’t offer me any other features I wanted.

I did not get the touch because I knew it could be buggy.

I also have the touch turned off on my tablet because it would irritate me

when I moved in some mysterious way that caused something to happen with my artwork.

The touch feature costs a couple hundred more, and I knew I would turn it off. The 32 is only sold with the touch feature.

I went back and forth with the idea of getting an older Cintiq because of some issues I’ve heard with Corel Painter.

The only available older Cintiq is the 22 HD. It was first release in 2012, yet it still costs around 1700 bucks.

That’s pretty old technology, yet isn’t far off in price from the new 24. 

The differences from this one to the new 24 is pretty substantial in my mind.

The 24 has a 99% Adobe color space, and I think the 22 is only a 75%.

I’m not sure if our eyes notice that or not, but it is a difference.

The biggest difference I’m aware of is the fact that the older technology does not have the same parallax,

which means where the point of your pen presses on the display is exactly where your mark will be.

I’ve also read about the differences in the screens, and people complain about a glare on the 22 HD.

In my mind it was a better idea to get the newer technology, and the price difference wasn’t that much.

You can read more about the specs of the 24 here:

You might be wondering why I didn’t pick the MobileStudio option.

I have read a lot of reviews where people were having issues.

I figured the longevity of the product wouldn’t be as good as the pen display because of the Windows updates as well as

the Nvidia driver updates.

After investing so much money, I wanted to have a good few years out of the product.

I didn’t see that happening with the MobileStudio.

Yet, people were still using the older pen displays and Wacom was still selling the older 22 HD, which came out in 2012.

This knowledge reinforces the longevity to me.

Let me address three main questions that I’ve encountered, which hindered me from running out and buying a  Cintiq for longer than it should have.

That way you know the facts and are not mired by poor information.

  1. The icons and buttons on Painter and Photoshop (PS) are tiny.

This is true.

They are tiny.

I have a work around where they won’t be tiny, but your 4 K resolution will go to the standard 1920×1080 screen.

You can increase your icon size, and it works fine in PS, but it doesn’t work in Painter.

Hopefully, in the 2020 build, they resolve this issue.

If you are an advanced user of Painter and PS this won’t bother you.

You can also set up your Express keys to work around this issue, which I have done.

Corel Painter on a Dell 27 monitor
Corel Painter on the Wacom Cintiq Pro 24 – Icons much smaller
Photoshop on the Dell 27 Inch
Photoshop on the Wacom Cintiq Pro 24-Much smaller bottoms, but the brush panel isn’t too bad.

2. You must press really hard on your Cintiq to get any type of mark within Painter and PS.

This isn’t true.

The people that say this do not know how to calibrate their Cintiq properly.

3. Painting on the Cintiq is hard. You can’t see well.

If you use the build in legs for the Cintiq, I can see why people would say this.

It did hurt my back in a short period of time.

You want to naturally bend up and forward to see.

The angle of the 24 wasn’t strong enough to keep you sitting straight up to draw.

However, I bought the Flexarm, which kept me from having an issue.

I highly recommend the Flexarm.

To see a comparison of the 24, 32 and older 27, as well as to see what’s in the box and how to hook it up, watch Aaron Rutten’s video here:

If you have any further questions, please post them below.

9 Responses

  1. Allan

    Thanks L.A. this was good info. You should become a Wacom sales person. You know just the right things to make someone want one bad enough.

    • L.A. James

      Ha, ha, Allan. I’ve heard that a couple of times now. I think my experience and willing to share knowledge makes the product sell itself. I wish I would have known some of these things earlier.

  2. Roseann

    Hi Lisa,

    Great article and very informative.

    Why the flex arm and not the ergo stand?

    I’ve always liked Aaron’s videos. He’s straight forward and honest.

    • L.A. James

      Hi Roseann,

      I picked the flex arm for a couple of reasons. The biggest reason was the fact that I could pull the Cintiq down off the desk and into my lap. The Ergo stand looked like it could pull down a bit, but the Flex Arm looked like it could go a lot further. Now that I have it, I can say that it does go a lot further down than I had thought. The Ergo stand was also extremely heavy. It weighs close to 40 lbs by itself. In a nutshell, I didn’t think it would be as flexible to use. Also, the Flexarm allows you to stand pretty much up and draw if you want. I thought that would be a benefit since I would stand at the desk and give my back a break.

      There isn’t much information (in my mind) when comparing these two products, so I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask! It’s hard forking over a couple hundred more, but I am glad I did. The biggest challenge I had was hooking it up to my desk because I have a metal bar that encircles my desk. My husband figured out a workaround for that. He drilled through the metal, and he had to get some other nuts and bolts from Lowes.

      The Flexarm was a great investment. I don’t regret paying for it at all!

  3. Roseann

    Hey Lisa,

    LOL! My other half is not quite so talented and I’m not sure if I’d be as successful connecting it to my desk. But the information here is good to know. Right now I have the Cintiq 21UX and although I can get it down low and angled, it’s time to consider upgrading. I’m going to see if any place local has them so I can get a feel for the ergo stand and the flex arm.

    Thank you!

    • L.A. James

      You will have to let me know if you managed to find something in your local search. There wasn’t anything anywhere near me, and I admit it sure is hard by looking only at online clips. It really helps when you see it in front of you!

      It does help to have a handy husband 🙂 I would have had to buy myself a new desk without him.

  4. Joshua

    Well written, L.A.

  5. Aiden

    Ug. I’m a handy husband. My wife made me read this. Thanks L.A.

    • L.A. James

      Hi Aiden,

      Thanks for your comment. I had to laugh. I’m sure your wife appreciates you!

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