Friday, April 30, 2010

Wacom 6D Art Pen Impressions

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I'm not sure how popular the Wacom 6D Art Pen is. A hefty investment in an Intuos or Cintiq is pricy enough. Anything more seems plain indulgent. And considering how many times I've misplaced my normal pen around the room, you wonder if it's worth getting another pen... to lose somewhere under your desk again.

On face value, the only difference between the 6D and the standard grip pen is rotation. The 6D also does NOT have mouse triggers nor an eraser. Is it REALLY worth the AU$140 I paid for this? I've had this pen for about a year now but after some perseverance it has become a joy to use.

You'd probably only be remotely interested in this device if you have a certain style of art or the software you use. Zbrush for example; Utterly useless when you don't have a right mouse button. Or if your style is more vector, again I see no real point of the 6D over the grip pen. If you are abit more painterly though and require alot of 'feel' in each stroke you may want to give it a go.

Say for example you are sketching away digitally and want to get a soft taper from a broad stroke. You'd either have to have a really cultured hand or (if you're like me) you draw a line and 'chip' away back into it. Not only is this time-consuming and contrived, it begins too hurt your hand. You are literally forced to rub on the screen all day until that beautiful stroke is achieved. If at all.

Now I'm not saying you can't get a beautiful line without a 6D. In fact there seems to be alot of great digital artists out there that cope without it just fine. But I don't think it's as enjoyable. Why? Because the combination of the extra gestures the 6D is picking up together with the felt tip nib feels alot more organic. You feel free-er. Much like a filbert brush getting extra finesse instead of a 'stamped' looking brush here and there.

Just a note though, the 6D Art pen seems at home in Painter than in Photoshop. I found Photoshop (CS3) doesn't sense rotation very well and the cursor doesn't rotate nor tilt with your hand so your always second guessing yourself as to what is going to happen.

Here's a YouTube video of me inking away with a 6D Art Pen on a Cintiq 12WX just to give you guys an idea of how it can be used. Let me know if you have any questions!


  1. very interesting... I havent heard of this pen before. Probably not much use to me on my Wacom bamboo... Love the image by the way. The colours and the painterlyness rock

  2. Noz that top pic is beautiful! Easily one of my faves on your blog for shneezy.

    Such awesome work dude. Reminds me how important style is. Nice one!

  3. great job my friend,
    jan :)

  4. Hi, thank you for the review and the youtube video. I decided to pick finally buy this pen after your information. I do exactly what you said in your post, I constantly change my brush size to try and get the line I want. I hope this pen will eliminate some of the back and forth I do.

  5. Lovely image Nori. I has great rhythm to it

  6. Ooooo Nori that piece at the top is fabulous, love the colors and the values, and of course all of the different poses. FUN! I stopped by because I saw your awesome piece on Parka blogs, great stuff. I loved the boars glowing red eyes. :]

  7. A genuinely helpful artist! Much appreciated!
    I have a trick I use for brush sizes in case it's something you guys may want to look into. I use a Contour Shuttle Pro with the shuttle wheel set for brush size in both Painter and PS. Along with the other strategically assigned buttons, I keep my left hand glued to it and my eyes straight ahead! Anyone in love with their Cintiq? I think I'm ok without one, but I'm open to someone's rave about them :)

  8. Thanks for the pen review. Your artwork is really cool! Great style and colors.