THE ARTFUL RACCOON
INKTOBER: IN CONCLUSION
DIGITAL INKING: WHAT TO BUY
I've been thinking about getting a "digital pen display" lately. That's the generic name for "a Wacom Cintiq." Luckily, I have some choices these days. Some of those can be eliminated for being too expensive or being too small or being Windows-only.
Apple's iPad Pro was the first one that came to mind. I'm overdue for a new iPad, anyway, and the larger screen combined with the Pencil makes it a first class choice for digital art. Also, I read a lot of comics on my iPad; that larger display might be big enough to make a single page legible for my eyes at full screen. No more turning the iPad on its side and scrolling down from the top half to the bottom half of pages.
The problem is, you can only use iOS apps on it. That would exclude the beloved Manga Studio. Transferring files on and off the iPad would also be a pain, even with Dropbox and similar file sharing services. There are some decent enough drawing applications for the iPad, but none that measure up to Manga Studio.
The Wacom Cintiq is the gold standard. It's the big name brand in this world. Animation studios have standardized on it. Lots of comics professionals live their professional lives on one. Problem is, they're very expensive for a hobbyist. The top of the line 27" model is nearing $3000. The lower 22" model gets you back under $2000. I could buy a whole new 27" iMac for either of those prices.
The Cintiq 13" would fit my budget at $800, but I don't want to draw on something that small. I have big hands. I need space for them to sit on top of the screen and still see all the tools running down the side.
That leaves us with the Yiynova series of screens. Produced by a company run by a guy who, in his previous life, sold Apple the trademark for "IPAD" in the Asian region, Yiynova produces an array of much cheaper screens that get pretty good reviews. They lack some of the features of the Cintiq -- the viewing angle is narrower, the color gamut might not be as wide, the screen resolution tops out at 1080 lines -- but they're dutiful workhorses, nonetheless. I've seen numerous reviewers describe them as being perfect for art students and people new to this market without the cash to spend. They're a fraction of Wacom's price.
I've narrowed it down to two models: the 20" and the 22". The current second monitor I have hooked up to my iMac is 23". The 22" screen would be roughly the same size, so I wouldn't lose much there. On the other hand, the 20" screen is a slightly more recent release (this past summer) and $234 cheaper -- $699 as opposed to $933, after shipping. $933 sounds like a lot, but it's only $35 more than buying an iPad with a Pencil.
One possible cheat: The 22" model is available without the remote hotkey add-on for about $50 less, bringing the total price after shipping down under $900. I'll most likely use the keyboard for my hotkeys over that remote, so maybe I could shave a few bucks off there. Getting back under $900 is a nice mental barrier to clear.
Completely superficially speaking, though, the 20" display looks better as it's all black. The 22" model sports a white bezel. Buying the 20" version would also leave me enough money to buy an arm to mount it to my desk for better angles to work at.
I'm torn. Is 20" enough? Would the white frame of the 22" drive me nuts? Should I save the money and use it for a mount?
So, peanut gallery, what do you suggest? Chime in at the Pipeline Forum or drop me a line at one of my contacts at the bottom of this column.
I look at the whole process like this: It's a much cheaper mid-life crisis than buying a sports car.
- Chris Marshall announced the end of the Collected Comics Library this week, which I know was a work of love for a long time. He was part of the first generation of comics podcasters, and CCL was an invaluable resource many times over those years he kept it updated. CCL will be missed.
- The more Mac/tech-centric Six Colors site offers up some suggestions for making the Marvel Unlimited plan a better value and a better app. They sound like good ideas to me, though I admit I'm not a subscriber to the service.
- If you haven't seen the amazing art process of Kim Jung Gi yet, check out this sped-up video of what he can pull off with an ink brush on a blank wall and a little bit of time. It's jaw-dropping. Just when you think he's drawn enough, he starts throwing in dogs to fill up the blank spots. After that, he starts drawing motorcycles and buildings and more stuff. So much more.
- Another film featuring animation by Glen Keane came out last month. It's ridiculously beautiful. I can't use enough superlatives to describe this one. It's only four minutes. Go watch it, then get frustrated at how static comic book art can so often be...
TWO PODCASTS OF THE WEEK
- Jimmie Robinson is the guest on The Image Podcast, and is as funny and gracious as ever in discussing his career, his fascination with video games, and how he views himself in the comics world. Robinson is a breath of fresh air in the industry, off doing his own thing while not getting caught up in the various internet hullaballoos or giving the same rote answers to standard interview questions. Give it a shot.
- Joe Kelly appeared on the Sketchd's Off Panel podcast to talk about everything from his classic "Deadpool" run to "I Kill Giants", "Spider-Man," "Ben10", and much more.
TWO TWEETS OF THE WEEK
The first one speaks for itself, but check out that art. Beautiful!
is it too early to start waiting for the great pumpkin? pic.twitter.com/LZkhtOtKuF
— Nico ::: (@nicodelort) October 31, 2015
The second is also Halloween-related:
— Meb Costello Byrne (@mebissima) October 31, 2015
How could I NOT link to someone cosplaying as an Augie?!? (Augie is the star of a successfully Kickstarted children's book featuring art by Boulet.)