Featuring colorist Ronda Francis

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Cintiq vs. Surface Pro vs. iPad Pro IMHO

(Spoiler alert: I am not trying to find an all-in-one to get digital drawing and a laptop in one. I do not own the iPad Pro yet.)

As an illustrator I use paper and pen virtually all day. 

I sketch my images first with a 2H Staedtler pencil, then go over the whole thing with a Micron, brush pen, or crow quill, dipping every 10 to 20 seconds--and praying that I do not mess up the entire time.

I love to draw, but inking is scary stuff.

A few years ago I got a 13 inch Cintiq and had big dreams of transitioning from pen and pencil at least part of the time. Fast forward to today, I still have issues.

But I am getting ahead of myself here--back to inking.

Sketching is great because of erasers. But inking makes things real, real fast.

I have screwed up too many images than I care to remember, and I DO NOT like to start over. Ink blotches, hand shakes, and just outright mess-ups are inevitable, but then some of the magic is gone and I am aggravated.

Thus the Cintiq.

In my head I could mess up all I wanted, correct it, start some areas over...you get the picture. The reality was a bit different. 

I love the actual drawing area of the Cintiq. The surface has a slightly scratchy feel, not unlike a piece of nice drawing paper. The pen itself has buttons on it that are supposed to reduce the back and forth motion of changing modes, pens, tips, etc., but I found then to be a bit cumbersome. I accidentally click them often and wish they were not so close to the tip. And speaking of the tip, there is a gap between where the tip touches the screen and the line or stroke created. My Cintiq connects with cables to my laptop and to a wall socket. Again, kind of cumbersome. Also, the 3 in 1 cord has died several times and when I try to repurchase it has been on back order for weeks and weeks, leaving me with no Cintiq. I use Photoshop with the Cintiq, and find it counter intuitive.  

I eventually went back to paper, pen, and pencil, but my original issues still bothered me.

Back to the store. I tried the Surface Pro after several designers told me it is what their companies supply them with to work. I found it similar to the Cintiq in drawing capability, but with a smaller screen. I also realized it is probably great for work because it is also usable as a laptop--no need to connect your device to another device with wires. It also uses Photoshop.

Then I tried the iPad Pro with the iPencil and it seems to be exactly what I was looking for. With many apps to make drawing, sketching, editing, and designing simple, it feels like this will be the answer to my Photoshop dislike.

There is no space between pencil tip and drawing mark. There is no lag and no visible pixels, even when I make images bigger to correct a mistake. I can easily smooth lines and correct. The iPencil, (although a separate purchase) is a great size, feel, and weight. It charges super fast. Be aware that the iPad Pro cannot handle tiffs, and has no place to store or connect the pencil. The surface is as smooth as glass, so there is no nice scratchy, paper kind of surface feel. It is light, super portable, and uses no cords. The 12 inch surface is big, and when I rested my hand there was no interference at all, the iPencil kept working fine.

I will purchase the iPad Pro today and do an updated review after I use it for a week. 

I have also discovered some very cool apps for creating and coloring. See you in a week!