Wacom Intuos Pro Paper edition — Why sketching on paper and digitising “live” makes sense

When I reviewed the Wacom Intuos Pro Paper edition in May, a question kept nagging in the back of my head: why would you want to draw or sketch a draft on a paper sheet that you clip onto a digitising tablet like the Intuos Pro Paper edition? I did a bit of testing myself and came to the following conclusions.

There’s more to sketching on paper using the Wacom Intuos Pro Paper edition than just the sensation of drawing on real paper instead of a plastic sheet that feels like paper. Paper is a medium that we have become accustomed to writing and drawing on for centuries. It feels more real than drawing with a substitute pen on a substitute sheet of paper — no matter how close the experience. For artists, drawing with a graphite pencil or a stick of charcoal, or painting with a real brush loaded with acrylic paint, gives them the tactile feedback they need to create the exact look they want.

Paper and pencil, however, do have a major disadvantage: you cannot save a drawing and then go about editing it in multiple ways without having to start all over again. A storyboard drawing of a building is a 2D affair that’s not going to change into a 3D rendition any time soon — not even if you were the origami world champion (if there is such a thing).

A digitised drawing, however, can be made into a virtual 3D object easily — just as quickly as it can be rendered in an artist’s impression or even a photo-realistic painting. There’s more. A pen and paper drawing may have smudges that you cannot afford to be there when presenting your ideas to customers. You can’t change parts of the drawing during a presentation by turning off layers, etc.

The Wacom’s Intuos Pro Paper edition let me start out by sketching in pencil, then drawing over that rough sketch with the Wacom pen. I could create layers for each part that I wanted to process differently on the computer or the iPad. The tactile feedback that I’m used to remained intact, allowing for a more natural and oddly enough a much more efficient drawing experience.

Furthermore, I discovered I could use the different papers I own. The thinnest sheet I used was 80gr Rhodia dot paper, which is a technical drawing/writing paper for pen and pencil. The thickest was Fabriano 300gr watercolour paper. The tablet performed consistently well with none of my strokes thinner than I intended them — or worse: going lost — because of the paper thickness.

Whether your experience will be as good as mine is a matter of taste and habit, but if Wacom your store lets you try it out, it is worthwhile to have a go at the Paper edition.