Richard Stelmach

Wacom Inkling Review

December 20th, 2011

Wacom inkling drawing compared to scanned copy

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:

Inkling distorted image

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:

Inkling pen going into standby


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!

View the Wacom Inkling vs Scanner comic here

7 Responses to Wacom Inkling Review

  1. Hi, I have just bought Inkling and I find it really useful for sketching. I have just read your review and I’m pretty sure you don’t know how to use this device because I don’t encounter the same issues or maybe you just exaggerate too much. Maybe you were holding the pen incorrectly and move the receiver when you change layers. If you open the files directly in Sketchbook Designer instead of exporting form the bundled software then you will get a perfect result and Sketchbook Designer is much better at handling the vector curves compared to Illustrator

    Martin Enemark - Wednesday December 21st, 2011 at 12:20
  2. I second Martin’s remarks . It works well for me too!

    Sergio Cariello - Thursday December 22nd, 2011 at 21:09
  3. Hi, thanks for your comments.

    I haven’t used Sketchbook Designer but the main problem was how the drawings were recorded – mainly the lines being in different positions – so really whatever software I used the drawing would have been distorted.

    On some of the tests I didn’t create any new layers so wouldn’t have moved the sensor but I see this as a problem too – I found the best position for the sensor was top left – so you had the least chance of blocking the sensor; the downside of this though is that the sensor seemed pretty loose in this position so when i created a new layer – I did move it (in other tests).

    I did try hard to avoid blocking the sensor or holding the pen too close to the nib but maybe I did without realising. Also – I got better results when drawing big in the centre of the page. Either way – I found it too temperamental and it messes up far too easily to the point where the drawing experience becomes restrictive and even detrimental to technique (such as holding the pen in an unnatural way).

    I basically found it far too unreliable and very hard to get a good result from it whereas with a scanner – you’re guaranteed good results every time.

    But maybe it just wasn’t for me, if you guys are happy with it – then who am I to question! :)


    Rich - Friday December 23rd, 2011 at 10:35
  4. Pingback: Horas Perdidas » Tablet que funciona com canetas normais

  5. i got same problm,it is useless product!

    terry - Wednesday September 11th, 2013 at 09:39
  6. Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I’ve
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    Jamal - Friday July 11th, 2014 at 19:14
  7. This video has helped me a lot, I just steartd using the pressure curve tool and it give me so much more of a natural feel when sketching. I appreciate all of your hard work making these videos they’ve been a tremendous help to me, I’m going to begin taking some of your classes you posted here soon, can’t thank you enough!

    Mangalath - Saturday October 3rd, 2015 at 07:15

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