Over the past several weeks prolific creator Dave Gibbons (Watchmen, Originals) took to Twitter to tease a new Wacom device that promised portability and the use of layers and vector graphics that wasn't a tablet or an app. So what could it possibly be? The answer came today with the announcement of the September launch of the Wacom Inkling, a pressure-sensitive digital sketch pen and receiver that essentially gives users the option of creating digital art on physical media.
The Inkling digital sketch pen captures a digital likeness of your work while you sketch with its ballpoint tip on any sketchbook or standard piece of paper. Designed for rough concepting and creative brainstorming, Inkling is ideal for the front end of the creative process. Later, refine your work on your computer using an Intuos4 tablet or Cintiq interactive pen display.
In addition to capturing your sketch, stroke by stroke, Inkling allows you to create layers in digital files while you sketch on paper. Digital files are transferred to your computer using the Inkling Sketch Manager software, and later, exported to applications such as Adobe® Photoshop® and Illustrator®. Files can also be opened with the included Inkling Sketch Manager software to edit, delete, add layers or change file formats.
While the demo video looks impressive, the device's $199.99 price point may have current Wacom and/or Cintiq users relegating it to "wish list" status unless they can justify it as either a potentially productive toy or a regular tool in their digital art arsenal. A lot of folks probably won't be thrilled by the prospect of having to keep both a pen and a receiver's batteries charged, though tech specs claim up to 15 and 8 hours of battery life for the respective components. There's also the matter of the pen's potentially device-specific ink cartridges. Update: The Inkling will use "Standard Mini Ballpoint ink refill (1 mm ball size), black ink" -- all is well. Judging from the number of Moleskine sketches we post in our art roundups in these parts, however, it probably won't be long before Inkling art from some of your favorite creators starts popping up online either way.
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