Friday, May 10, 2013

A Review, a Dilemma, and a Question

On Tuesday of this week, I went into Manhattan to the "Wacom Cintiq 13HD Release Party" at TekServe on 23rd Street.  They demonstrated, and allowed hands-on experience, of the new, smaller Cintiq line of screen tablets by Wacom. It also featured a demonstration and Q&A by Joe Quesada (CCO of Marvel Comics & comic book artist), which was cool. He used some techniques that I use.  :)

The new 13HD was quite nice! Sharp and responsive, it gave a lot of power in a little package. However, it was a little too small for my normal workflow. Clicking tiny buttons in Photoshop was a chore. It seemed better for those on the go.

But they also had the other, larger models. And the ones with touch capabilities. Now, these are sweet!  I've have wanted one for a long time, but was always scared to even consider purchasing one without being able to try it out first. (Sure... you can return it. But for restock fee of about $400!) Of course, there was also the cost of these beauties.

Well, this Presentation gave me the chance to try them all out. And I loved them. Sure, it will take a bit getting used to, but not as much as my Intuos3, which I have been using since 2006. When I got that, I went from digitally inking and painting with a mouse!

The Cintiq 24HD was the flagship, of course. Huge, solid — a battleship of a digital screen tablet.  But I actually gravitated towards the slightly smaller and more maneuverable Cintiq 22HD Touch. It was lighter, it rotated like a drawing pad (the 24 does not... too big), it was easier to grab and hold.  I fell in love.

While $1000 less that the 24HD Touch, the 22" is still a hefty $2699.  Right now, more than I can layout.  The benefits are incredibly valuable, however. As I tested out the 22", I was able to comfortably draw without my oft-appearing "wrist-ache" from holding the pen too tight. This comes from the slight "disconnect" I have by moving my hand down near my lap on something I see up on screen. After a productive day, it is not unheard of for me to sit in front of the TV with ThermaCare heatwraps wrapped firmly around my wrist for the next 8 hours. This is also why I continue to draw the grOw/cOmics in pencil first, and then scan in.

I discussed this with some friends, and they suggested I start a donation pool for those willing to help. No obligation, of course, but donating would help me raise funds to get this immensely helpful and productive piece of digital hardware. My friends suggested even a few dollars spread out amongst a lot of loyal fans could actually raise enough that I could pitch in the rest. The payback would allow me to produce the grOw/cOmics more productively, with less chance of injury, and with a quicker speed due to the natural drawing feel of the device. I also know that I seemed to get a better line quality when drawing on the Cintiq, which makes it easier to guide my hand visually as I normally do when I draw with pencil on paper.

I am not sure how I would set this up — maybe through PayPal. I am also not sure of the "response" to this would have — positive or negative backlash. I've seen other internet artists do this — some even for a new car! — but I couldn't do that. Any donation pool would have to be connected to my work. Don't get me wrong — I TRULY APPRECIATE all the support my fans give me already by purchasing the grOw/cOmics and grOw/stOries. Your support is the only way I could pull it off, as this is a one-person operation (plus the proofreading skills of my wife) — drawing, writing*, layout, inking, coloring, website creation, billing, credit card set-up and fees, etc., etc. (*I have hired a few writers in the past to help with the grOw/stOries.)  I couldn't pay the bills and spend so much time creating grOw without this support. Some have already asked me about donating further beyond the purchase price, but I've always declined in the past.

What is your take on the donation pool? Do you have a suggestion on this? I am all ears.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

I have purchased every grOw you've put out and as a loyal fan, I'd be more than happy to contribute to a donation pool. My suggestion would be to just make sure you keep everything transparent. Regular updates, or even some kind of counter on the site, would be appreciated by those of us who would be willing to donate the price of a grOw download or two.

Kickstarter is an idea, but that would give you a limited amount of time and the idea of rewards might be too much work. A Paypal account could be the way to go as I've seen a lot of other artists use it similarly to positive results. I hope it works out well for you. The idea of more grOw is more than enough to make me want to contribute!

Anonymous said...

I agree with what the last guy said (and I have--and will--also bought all of your issues). One suggestion: I don't know what your insurance is like, but have you considered whether you might be able to get some compensation from you health/workman's comp for this as a health item? It sounds like your current setup is causing you actual physical injury (carpal tunnel, etc.), which this would help to alleviate. An orthopedist would probably be happy to confirm your desperate need for it. As a business-related capitol expense, it would be partially tax-deductable anyway, but, as a health item, you might actually get help in buying it in the first place. It's worth looking into.

Anonymous said...

I can't offer any useful suggestions like the previous two commenters, but I too would be more than willing to contribute towards a new tablet. Your work is outstanding, and the idea of it improving even further is mind-blowing. More than happy to help.

BustArtist said...

Wow, thanks for your strong support guys! I appreciate it.

I figured out the best way to do this and will probably launch my efforts on Friday. I will be out of town Wed and Thurs and I both want to monitor the effort, and make sure I can update results to make everything "transparent".

I am setting up a FULL, detailed page on what this is, my goals, FAQs, how it works, and results, etc. It will work through my store. PayPal only allows "Donations" via not-for-proft, and Kickstarter is only for a "Project" that will "create something." Kickstarter is also an all-or-nothing scenario. If I only raise, say, 66% of the funds, the project would die on Kickstarter and I would get no where; but the way I will set it up, I can then contribute the rest and make the purchase. Stay tuned,


Anonymous said...

If it means shorter time between issues, count me in. While i would agree in this case paypal is better, you might still want to consider reward levels. Say $25 gets you a thank you credit, while $100 gets a character named after you.

Anonymous said...

What you sometimes see online is a "donation girl", that grows depending on the amount of money that is donated. Or a small, free comic that proceeds when the donations go up. I know Thunt from Goblinscomic idd that. Both ways help to prevent you for feeling bad for begging, and people won't mind als much if you get more than the target

BustArtist said...

More great suggestions! I was just about to go "live" with the donation set-up I originally came up with, but I like the more tiered effort, which will reward on a more fairer level — originally, it was going to be a single reward, regardless of amount. These tiered returns make more sense. I think I would like to do something both on an individual basis (amount per person) and an overall goal-reaching reward (the "donation girl" idea). Need to think… hmmmm...

Dane Beninger said...

I'd love to contribute, would it be possible to contribute more than once - a little here and a little there.

I was thinking starting with the level six, and make some extra ones just to help out.

Just wonderin!

BustArtist said...

Dane: Thank you for your generosity! Yes, you can do that. Just make a "contribution purchase" from my Contribution page on my website ( At any time. I may not be able to track multiple donations from the same person "automatically", so if once you make a few donations, and the total adds up to a higher Level of Rewards, let me know via email ( and I will "bump" you up to that Level with the Rewards earned. Thanks!