I had high hopes for the Wacom Inkling, of course I was dubious that it would accurately convert my drawings into a digital form just by using a sensor and special pen but the demo and marketing of the product looked so damn good and Wacom have a great reputation for their graphic tablets. Before I begin I will say that I read all the tips on how to use the inkling, tried different settings and even different types of paper.
As you can see above, the results speak for themselves. Okay, it doesn’t look aweful but there are many descrapancies between the original drawing and the inkling version mainly in the form of lines being in the wrong position. As I draw comics, the accuracy of the lines is pretty crucial, so really even minor differences can be quite bad.
But it gets worse:
Here you can see how badly it can misplace lines to the point where it becomes unusable. I found the best method is still drawing, scanning and auto-tracing in illustrator to clean the drawing up a bit.
Also, as you’re limited to just the ball point pen – it can be restrictive in comic drawing where I often like to use a variety of pen sizes to alter the thickness of lines or use a brush tip pen.
One of the things I liked about the inkling is vectorising the image by taking it into Illustrator and I thought I would then be able to adapt the points / anchors on the lines to do things like change expressions or move body parts – you can after all, create layers with the inkling. However, this resulted in far too many points on the lines to be able to do this – probably one of the reasons the lines often appear jittery or scrambled.
I found I got better results when drawing large images in the centre of the page but this isn’t very flexible.
Finally, if you don’t make a mark for a certain number of seconds the pen goes into standby – you could probably notice this if the green light stops flashing (which it does when you make a mark), but when you’re focussed on drawing it’s easy to miss this, which can often result in this:
The Wacom Inkling is too temperamental, it will often misplace lines and distort the image. Even when drawing in a way that the inkling prefers you can still run into problems and the whole experience becomes more time consuming than using a good old scanner. I hope that the product develops and future editions become usable but in the mean time I would definitely recommend avoiding this product.
Long live the scanner!