Current Art Gear!

Discussion in 'Artists' started by Io-T, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. Io-T

    Io-T Pen Pal - Newbie

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    So the market has been changing quite a bit since I first found this forum and thanks to everyone here, grabbed my very first Tablet PC, a HP 2730 convertible. It was clunky, heavy and thick, but it changed my digital art life and I wasn't able to go back to screenless drawing again.

    Looking back at my first gear and seeing what's coming out now makes me realize just how far devices have come for art purposes.

    What I'm curious about... is what are people using right now? What do they love and what do they miss? What missteps have they had on their journey for their current set up?

    TLDR: Tell me your gear and stories!



    For me, my progression was a a second hand flipper with a *gasp* full-sized siloed pen and while I loved it for a good two years, it got kind of heavy when I saw so many shiny ads for a new thing that was coming out from... Microsoft? Seeing the surface announced I like many others drooled a bit, saw how thin and light it was and saved for one. Then it got delayed. But I had the cash and I really wanted a shiny small tablet with a wacom pen... so I got a Samsung Ativ 700t instead. I loved that device like it were my own child despite the *bleeping* keyboard disconnects, but it was then I started to realize screen proportions matter. As I started to do more digital painting in college it started feeling too narrow for serious work and holding it in portrait was a pain.

    I was starting to feel the size pinch of having the Ativ as my only drawing device and my gaming/work PC was gathering dust so I finally got the device that I had been dreaming of my whole life... but ended up being the biggest disappointment and waste I ever did...

    Wacom Companion Hybrid. I think in this forum that can stand as "enough said." I sold it to buy a Monoprice 22HD on a steep discount and a Samsung Tab A 10.1. Selling the Hybrid netted enough to buy both making it someone else's problem.

    The Monoprice was... okay. It worked, the pen wasn't as nice as the Samsung, the glass was too smooth but the power of Wacom felt nibs conquered that. The Tab A was a revelation however and I loved being able to use it in portrait like a real sketchbook. Thankfully the one thing I got out of the hybrid was a really good feel for what apps were worth it. Drawing on android, the apps aren't as robust as on Windows... but the UIs are usually designed so much better for pen/touch that the pure act of sketching and drawing something is less fiddly than trying to hit teeny tiny icons in Clip on the Ativ.

    At this point I was starting to take 2D animation in college and Painter classes and the ATIV with it's 4gigs of older ram just wasn't cutting it so I got the Best Buy Thinkpad Yoga 14 with a student discount. It worked for my classes, ate Flash, chewed it up and spit it out with no problem and gaming on it was amazing.

    But the pen... the pen.... oof. It was okay but not what I was expecting from Wacom. Drawing on a 300$ android shouldn't feel better than a 900$ laptop.

    Which finally dumps me at right now!

    XP-Pen 15.6
    Samsung S3



    My upgrade from the Tab A to the S3 was... because I could? Because I still had keyboard envy for missing out on getting a Surface 1? It's more of the same but better. I do so much work on that thing it's really quite silly.

    As reliable as the Monoprice was for a while, the single usb port got busted rendering it a 22HD monitor. The XP-Pen was a nightmare and a half to purchase and set up and even though I finally got it set up how I like and it feels waaaay nicer than my Hybrid did (except no touch, cry). Well and the screen protector scratches by NUDGING it. Other than that it's impressive what other companies are doing for 1/3 of the price of Wacom.

    Overall I'm happy with the two now but I really need a portable windows option that's newer than the ATIV. The Yoga is retired to gaming laptop duties and filing reports (stolen by my partner since his new job has him traveling a lot.) I've heard Wacom AES is getting better, but I doubt it's good enough to get me to draw on it over EMR.
     
  2. darkmagistric

    darkmagistric Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    As far as my current gear……lets just say I have a tablet for every occasion.

    So I bounce between a Desktop & Cintiq 21 ux, Mobile Studio Pro 13, Surface Pro 5, Galaxy Book 10.6, Surface Go, & 9.7 iPad Pro

    So when I’m home……in my bedroom…..I have my Desktop Computer (4th gen cpu, 1080 gpu) connected to a Wacom Cintiq 21ux that at present has 2 other monitors with it (always considering adding more)

    But as most nights when I’m too tired after a long day to sit at the desktop….I usually lie down (chest down)….and my workflow then becomes……. Either Galaxy Book 10.6 or Pro 5 for drawing on…….with either my Surface Go, or iPad Pro propped up playing Netflix. (the rooms layout makes the bed separate from my Desktop & bedroom TV).

    When elsewhere in my house….like the living room or dining room……as with my bed…..I usually tend to use my Surface Pro 5 for drawing and the Surface Go for again Netflix.

    When I go to a Coffee House….and I know I will have at least an hour to work I will bring my Mobile Studio Pro 13. Typically 1-2 hours in a coffee house…..I tend to get more actual art work done then a night at home will yield. So my coffee house time is when most of my artwork gets done.

    If my day and time is….not opportune….like if I may end up with only 20 minutes at a coffee house (or an hour…or more…or less)…because of its smaller form factor and versatility…..I bring my Galaxy Book 10.6 with me. The drawing experience is the next best to the Mobile Studio Pro and I can type decently on its keyboard. It also fits in smaller bags that my Pro 5 won’t. So the Galaxy Book 10.6 is my most taken out daily device when leaving the house. Some days I don’t use it at all and it just sits in my trunk or in my bag…but it’s the most useable of all my devices because I could really use it perfectly fine in any scenario. The similar sized iPad has too many limitations due to iOS and the Surface Go’s pen is pretty much useless for art.

    If I’m attending a life drawing class or a Dr. Sketchy event……I bring my Galaxy Book 10.6 and my iPad Pro as backup should the Galaxy Book ever prove unreliable (goddamn windows updates). Both devices can last for a full 3-4 hour drawing session, and both are small and light enough that should tables not be available or I have to sit/stand holding the tablet….its preferable to use those instead of the Mobile Studio or Pro 5. The Galaxy Book’s ability to also be charged by USB/phone battery chargers also makes it very desirable to bring should I need longer battery duration for whatever reason. The crappy Pen performance and inability to charge by Samsung USB-C chargers makes the Surface Go horribly unsuited for this type of occasion.

    If I’m going out….and don’t want to do art…..like focus on something else like writing or coding lessons….I bring my Pro 5…..and sometimes I purposely leave the pen at home so I’m not tempted to draw instead.

    And if I’m traveling……I’ll either bring my Surface Pro 5, Galaxy Book, Surface Go, or Ipad Pro…..or some combination of the devices……like this past summer I brought both the Galaxy Book and Go since I was gone or a whole month in Europe…..just bought the GO the day I left and liked the idea of having a backup should one device fail or break during the trip. As said the GO sucks for art….but despite no matter how much I tell myself that I’ll do some drawing….on my trips I almost never end up doing any artwork. So on my trip the Surface Go was pretty perfect for it. I barely touched my Galaxy Book during the whole trip. Like if I could do that trip all over again….I would just take the Go....for traveling the small form factor and kickstand trumped the Galaxy Books benefits. But the nature of future trips, the destination(s) and duration would determine what device(s) I bring….and well as which device I consider most expendable but still overall useful. (which would be the GO)
     
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  3. Io-T

    Io-T Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Your post made me start looking up the Galaxy Book and man... so much want. Dat price though... gonna be a while before I can afford that at 15$ a pop per commission.

    Has the pen on the Surface improved enough to be worthwhile? I tried a friend's Surface 3 and whoa man was it bad.
     
  4. darkmagistric

    darkmagistric Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    The Surface Pen has improved quite a bit with the Pro 5 (2017 Pro) and up. But only with the 2017/Pro 5 Pen. The Pro 3/4 Pens don't work as well as the new pen. That being said It still doesn't equal the EMR in the Mobile Studio or Galaxy Book.....but a significant improvement from the Pro 3. Like enough I'm drawing Art on it anyway.

    On the matter of the Galaxy Book, I have the 10.6 inch model which uses a relatively weak Core M3 with only 4GB of Ram. Photoshop's doable but its not nearly as smooth as it would be on a i5 device. But Clip Studio Paint runs flawlessly on it. I regularly jump between the Book 10.6 and Mobile Studio Pro and the Book so far has had no trouble handling any CSP file from my Mobile Studio. It retailed for $600-ish when it came out....but you can score a new or near-new one from Ebay or Amazon for around $350-ish. (just make sure it includes the keyboard and pen)….for a decent performing budget art tablet.....its my best recommendation and well worth the price. Like if my GB Book 10.6 died or broke right now...I wouldn't even hesitate to buy a new one. Especially with the super disappointing Galaxy Book 2. The specific combo of 10 inch Window tablet with EMR might not happen again for a long time.
     
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  5. YVerloc

    YVerloc Scribbler - Standard Member

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    21 UX! Represent! Mine is 13 years old and still going strong.
    iPad Pro at home
    Galaxy note 9 in my pocket
     
  6. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Ahh! I remember the old days fondly!

    My first machine was a Toshiba Portege M200 pretending to be a Cintiq!

    digital_draftingboard_2.jpg

    That was fun for a while, but it was too small!

    I wrung my hands and saved my pennies and picked up an eBay Tecra M4, the 14" big brother to the Portege. (I have described this fabulous machine with much affection and many words all across this forum!)

    Tecra-on-desk1.jpg

    It was limited in both horse power and memory; only 2 Gb! But it was a wonderful machine to work on! My poorman's Cintiq!

    I picked up a second one to be my portable backpack machine, and worked almost exclusively on these two tablet PCs for several years!

    In between there were some DIY experiments of varying success...

    Finished-Build1.jpg

    But those didn't last long, because I finally decided, "What the heck? Times have changed and eBay prices have dropped, why not just go ahead and pick up the coveted Cintiq 21UX you've been trying to simulate all this time?" So I did!

    cintiq-tecra-compare1.jpg

    What a fantastic machine! So with a Tecra M4 in my backpack and a 21UX on my desk, I drew happily for several more years

    And then I grew up and my income increased to allow for some new tools which didn't come from eBay. So into modern times I marched. I now have one of these Dell 27" monstrosities on my desk...

    dell-canvas27.jpg

    -As well as a Samsung Notebook 9 Pro 15 in my backpack. Times are good and full of high tech wonder!

    Except... you know what..?

    This may sound strange, but with all this amazing screen real estate, lucid high resolution thin-screen color (visible without distortion from every angle!) and next, NEXT gen highly accurate EMR tech, and even responsive and satisfying finger touch input..?

    Drawing was still more comfortable and satisfying somehow on the old Tecra M4 and the old Cintiq 21UX. I can't quite explain it, even with the old and flawed system, with the quarter inch separation between nib and screen, with the duller IAF and the everything. Drawing just felt better.

    I can't quite place my finger on it, (ha ha!), but I sort of want to pick up another old Tecra (my old backpack one died), and see if my memory is playing tricks on me or if there really was something going on there... (I know for a fact that the line quality on the Cintiq and Tecra was better; a single driver did it all without micro jaggies and other artifacts.) Except, on eBay there aren't any working ones left. The Tecra M4 looks like it has gone extinct!

    As voyagers in the computer revolution, we stay on top of the wave moving forward, or we are soon left behind to scratch our pictures and notes once again on paper. Like savages.

    Hm.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
  7. Io-T

    Io-T Pen Pal - Newbie

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    The one thing I miss about the older devices are felt nibs. Man I miss my precious felt nibs. All the nibs are getting so tiny it makes me miss the variety of nibs I had access to before. Even the weird ones with the spring in em that always made me nervous putting them in and removing em.

    I have been tempted to try and dig up one of the older cintiqs on more than one occasion but my run with the hybrid with all the issues and crummy support from Wacom soured me. Plus once you added in the cost of shipping, a new one of the alternatives always seemed like a way better deal.

    If I was more confident in applying a textured screen protector that didn't scratch so bad I think the XP-Pen would be damn near perfect (minus touch). But trying to put one on my yoga was a nightmare of lint no matter how well I cleaned it.
     
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  8. YVerloc

    YVerloc Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I know what you mean TCG. I have a 2012 era Cintiq, but I never use it. I've loaned it out to a friend indefinitely. There are a bunch of things I didn't like about the newer cintiq, but really it was all about emotions. The history of art and artists is about taking simple materials and making something beautiful from them. I know some traditional art materials are rare and precious, like Lapis based ultramarine and 'mummy brown', but in general the materials were humble - glue, canvas, linseed oil, plaster... There's something about the spirit of art that involves 'elevating' your materials and transcending the limits of your tools. This explains why i loved my old Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 12.2 tablet so much more than my iPad. It was humble. I find myself easily intimidated, and when I feel that I have to 'live up' to my tools and materials, I lose my mojo. I want my work to add value, not pay off a debt.
     
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  9. ticol

    ticol Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Digital drawing is so pleasant but the number of choices available now make it a bit difficult for me. I'm always afraid to get the wrong device or miss something better...
    In the old days there not many choices and what you got had to work and you had to get used to it.

    After spending many years on Graphire then Intuos Wacom tablets, I made the switch to on screen drawing with a Cintiq 21ux 2nd generation. The switch between paper drawing and digital drawing wasn't that easy : learning how to place the Cintiq, choosing between the different nibs in Manga Studio, learning how much I needed to zoom to get good lines,... But once I took all my marks, I couldn't really make any professional project on paper anymore.

    I spent maybe 5 years with the 21ux as my only drawing device.

    Then as I got tired of being able to draw only in my studio, and could'nt do any work ourside of my house, I bought a Cintiq Companion 1. Again it took me some time to get used to it mainly due to the smaller screen. But I could take with me when moving. I really learned to use it and love it when my main computer died and couldn't figure a way to plug my Companion to the 21ux (I found the good connector since :) ).
    I discovered that it was a really really good device . I could spend all day drawing on it without feeling any main in my back, neck or wrist. And the size, when used to it is sufficient for most of my work.

    I plug it sometimes to the 21ux, but, I don't know why, can't use the 21ux for long times. Maybe due to the not that good colors on it, or maybe because when I have to use my keyboard (a lot of my work involves drawing with text included : comic books, logos, posters, communication work,..).
    So my main whole day working configuration is the Companion with plugged to an external 24" screen, and a bluetooth keyboard that can be used easily when needed.

    A few monthes ago I was looking for a more portable device. I mean, the Companion is great, but it remains a heavy device. The power supply is heavy too, as the power bank I bought to go with it. And it's large, so not very convenient in train for example.
    I bought a Galaxy Book 12 in june, and I really love it. There's a bit of learning curve to get my Clip Studio and Photoshop tools working the same way as on the Companion. But now I can switch between the 2 devices in the middle of a comic book page, and there's no visible difference.
    It's so light and convenient that I bring it everywhere. It's always in my back pack when I leave my house. I can really draw everywhere with it. I miss a bit the physical buttons on it to have keyboard shortcuts, but other than that, I really love it.
    The only problem is that I can't use it for too long sessions put on a desk with my external screen plugged to it. It really kills my neck. I made several tries, and simply, it doesn't work for me. So I stick to my Companion for main use and have the GB12 for when I want to draw outside of my studio.

    My struggle now is that I know my Companion is getting old and I can't figure what I'll buy next : HP Zbook ? Mobile Studio Pro ? Then 13 or 16 (I read so many awful stories about the 16 being not friendly with external screens...).
    Will I buy something to replace my 21UX : a 27 QHD, a 24 Pro ???? Too many choices :)
     
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  10. Io-T

    Io-T Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Paralyzed by choice is one of the good parts about being broke as a joke, much more limited options on what I can work with. With the exception of the Companion Hybrid and the XP-Pen (Which is cheap enough on its own as it is), every device I have has been second hand or an absurd deal from resellers (S3) or refurbished with a student discount thrown on top (Tab A, Yoga)
     
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