Review: The Wacom Inkling.

by Sophie

Hi everyone! Sorry for the little hiatus! The bank holiday screwed up my internal clock so I was having trouble figuring out what day it was! Moving on!

So I love to draw. I’m not the best at it and I have lots of work to do if I wish to be any good but I enjoy it a lot and that’s what counts! I’ve been drawing using a drawing tablet for years and although it took a while to get used to I can now happily draw on a tablet. But I think most digital artists would agree that drawing on a tablet just isn’t the same as drawing on paper. The feeling of drawing on paper is far better, in my opinion, and I actually enjoy drawing on it much more. So when Wacom announced the Wacom Inkling myself and numerous other artists had mini freak outs with joy.

The Inkling is a digital pen which also uses real ink. There is a scanner which tracks the pens movements on the page and records them digitally while you’re drawing. In short it means that you can automatically create a digital copy of a physical drawing as you draw it and I was so excited! The Inkling was released in November 2011 and there was a huge delay in the shipment of the first batch of Inklings due to problems of demand and the process of creating them took much longer than originally expected. At the end of February if came into stock on the European Wacom website but it was sold out before I had time to order it! It wasn’t till the third restock of the European Wacom store that I finally got my hands on my beautiful Inkling! It arrived with a week of my order being processed and I simply cannot describe how excited I was opening the box!

So first things first!  I’ve always been miffed with products that are expensive but have horrible packaging. I feel that if I have to pay a lot of money for it at the very least the box should be pretty. The Inkling did not disappoint me! It’s packaging is lovely. In my excitement I actually tried to rip open the top of the box but the box slides out from the bottom! That’s what happens when I get overexcited I suppose!

The design of the Inkling is really nice. It has everything that you need contained in a little pencil case shaped box. Everything fits in together perfectly and the whole thing is very stylish!

The pen is super comfortable to hold and although there is a rechargeable battery in the top of the pen it does not offset the balance of the pen. It also comes with five extra ink cartridges and a little usb. The pen is supposed to only have 3 hours of continuous use though, which bothered me slightly. When the pen/scanner need recharging you simply back them all up into their little case and plug it into your computer using usb. There’s a little light that goes green when it’s fully changed.

I found the instructions for actually using the pen and scanner a little sparse to  be honest. There are two three different parts of the scanner that light up depending. When you turn it on first the green power light goes on. However I did not understand that the middle part lights up when the scanning is digitally recording what you’re drawing and as such on my first trial one I had to redraw something because the scanner had not picked up the pen yet (it takes about 20 seconds to recognise the pen when you turn it on sometimes). However this was a first mistake and once I realised this I could then make sure in future that it was picking up the pen. There is also a light when you click for scanner for a new page and for a new layer.

The pen is very, very sensitive and is really good at picking up light and heavy strokes. You have to be careful about how you hold the pen though so it can be picked up by the scanner. I also noticed with my first drawing that I must have moved the scanner when I was pressing it to add a new layer because at a certain point it went slightly off on my drawing. Now I would say that it wouldn’t be a big problem once you got used to it.

I’m not a huge fan of the software that comes with the Inkling. It’s not amazingly made and is a bit difficult to navigate. It has a cool playback feature though where you can see it redrawing the drawing. It also has an export of Photoshop and Illustrator button which is really handy and it also exports all the layers you created when drawing.

In short I love the Inkling and I think I’m going to really enjoy using it but it’s going to take a little bit of getting used to, but it’s not as extreme as learning how to use a drawing tablet. I haven’t used it for anything too detailed yet but it seems very sensitive so it would be good at detailed work. I’ve heard that it’s not great for handwriting because of where the sensor is placed on the page but I have yet to try this out myself.  All in all I recommend it quite a lot and I feel that for a 150 euro price tag it’s a pretty nice, useful and nifty piece of technology which delivers for artists! It’s also wonderfully designed, which is a huge plus in my books!

Back to drawing! =D

– Sophie