Q: You mentioned the Wacom Cintiq in an earlier post. Have you had a chance to check out the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil accessory? I know it just launched in November, but it sounds like a very inspiring portable drawing tool for producing rough and quality finished art, and a natural for caricature art. Perhaps this is the beginning of a real transition to tablets from traditional PC’s for artists.
A: I have not tried the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. My pal, illustrator Ed Steckley, recently reviewed it for a tech website. His verdict appears to be “hardware good, software needs catching up”. I doubt I’ll be trying it out unless someone sends me the hardware to do something like what Ed did. That stuff is too expensive to pick up just to see if it will work well for one’s needs, and playing with it at the store isn’t enough time to assess it.
I actually have a Cintiq Companion 2, which I got from Wacom both in exchange for some promotional stuff I did for them and to review. Sadly I have not found the time to do a decent review of it, but the short version is I like it. Full studio functionality and using the actual latest version of desktop software (not the bunk iOs “lite” versions) in a truly portable format. I can (and have) taken this on the road and used it to work on an actual job, working on a full PhotoShop file and then opening that same file seamlessly back in the studio and resuming work. I cannot imagine the iPad Pro doing that without some extra hoop-jumping, or doing anything better than the Cintiq Companion 2 for that matter.
That said, the one advantage the iPad Pro would have over the Cintiq Companion 2 is weight. The CC2 weighs 3.75 lbs, the iPad Pro 1.57 lbs. That would make a huge difference to a live caricature artist doing a digital gig for 4 hours if they have to hold the thing rather than using a stand. The other advantage it has is price, but
not by that much. The 128GB iPad Pro wi-fi only plus the Apple Pencil would be $1200, and the 128 GB CC2 is $1600. EDIT- actually as pointed out by my pal Rob in the comments that $1599 price is for the Android version of the CC2. The “Pro” version runs the full Windows OS and is $2000 for the 256GB model. So, the iPad Pro is just a little more than half the price of the CC2 I’m using for comparison. That is significant.
I’d love to try out the iPad Pro and give it a thorough test run, but Tim Cook doesn’t return my calls.
Thanks to Rich Linden for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!
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