“I’m an artist.”
“Yes, but how do you make your art?”
“I use a Wacom tablet.”
That has been my answer for a whopping fifteen years now. I can’t believe how fast those years have gone by. When I was nineteen, my dad had a Wacom Classic, one of those tiny ones. Needless to say, when I got hold of it, a whole new world opened up. While I was a creative child, I leaned way more toward writing than I did toward art.
When I started, even though I was immediately interested in drawing my favourite movie characters, I had a bit of a learning curve. I played it safe with cartoony stuff.
I knew nothing about colour theory or technique, but the beginnings of my style, if you can say I even have one, started to show, especially in the blending. I still blend the same way to this day.
Getting confident (and buying more tablets)
When I realised I had a knack for this art thing, I eventually got a Wacom Intuos 3 in 2008 and later 4, prone to buying gadgets as much as the next millennial. My Communication and Multimedia Design studies made it justifiable to buy a new one as soon as it hit the market.
I don’t think I can pinpoint which art was made with what tablet, but I was fully invested and drawing primarily in Adobe Photoshop CS5 at this point. The first major stab at realism came when I was a massive fan of The Fratellis and follows them all over Europe with a bunch of newly made friends. I painted Jon Fratelli and he put it up in their studio in Glasgow, for a while.
After that, I was unleashed. I had meanwhile also started an internship at a project development firm that had a 21 inch Wacom Cintiq which they allowed me to use. My job? Create concept art for a futuristic theme park. Any attempts at recovering those images have failed. The theme park never ended up being built but it was there I became incredibly spoiled as an artist. All my personal projects were still done on my trusty Intuos. Here are two more from that year.
Cintiq is an artists’ dream
In 2011, I made my first artbook with mostly Cintiq produced artworks and printed a whole bunch of them on canvas, though no one ever bought any.
In 2012, I sold a few. That year I also got… drumroll… A Wacom Cintiq 24HD! An upgrade to my already fancy tablet that went on to have a second life with a girl I met online. Meanwhile, I was trying to become a brand ambassador for Wacom because a) I thought I wasn’t untalented and b) thought my disability (and being able to use only one hand) would make for an interesting use-case for them. It wasn’t for lack of effort on my part; I emailed back and forth a bit with some of my experiences, but it never went anywhere. Hey Wacom, I’m still interested, hit me up!
Can’t believe I’m only five years into this Wacom story. It’s hard to sum up the following ten years. I wanted to make art my profession. Never managed that. But it did lead to a couple of interesting meetings (and many more).
What Wacom means to me
Moreover, my art, with the help of Wacom, has been a great equalizer. Being in a wheelchair comes with a certain expectation, not for everyone, but some people certainly expected me to be a certain way. To wow them with art has always been a nice way to reset that.
To infinity and the next device!
I’m sitting here looking at my Cintiq as it shows its signs of heavy use and clearly, its age. For ten years, I’ve created with it. Now I’m in need of something new. I’m contemplating another Cintiq or, ideally a Wacom Mobilestudio Pro 16. Do I dish out 3500 euros for that? Is that the price of personal freedom? A luxury problem I’m lucky to have. Perhaps, though, I’ll see if my art can make me some money, and put it towards that dream.
Here’s to the next 15 years, Wacom!