Biff Bam Pop’s Holiday Gift Guide Day 15 – The Wacom Inkling

Wow! Fifteen days into the Biff Bam Pop! Holiday Gift Guide and we’ve already highlighted lots of cool things for you, a friend or a loved one to read, watch or listen to.

Finally, here’s something cool to actually do: sure, you might need to be a little artistically inclined, but the brand new Wacom Inkling has got that great “Holiday Artsy-Techy Gift Idea” aura all about it!

Whether you’re a graphic artist, an illustrator or just a doodler, the Inkling could very well be the answer to your paper-to-digital-file prayers.

All artists like starting with small, thumbnail sketches – little ideas on pages of random paper, created intuitively in order to work out the kinks of bigger, loftier ideas. Maybe it’s the layout for a comic book page so that a scene is represented with the optimal number of panels, the characters in those panels positioned in just the right poses. Maybe it’s the design of a new web page or the breakdowns for a movie sequence. Maybe it’s the rough beginnings of a new car design or, maybe, it’s simply a small (but finished) work by an artist, ready to be uploaded (or augmented) digitally – the original, ready to be framed!

And therein lies the genius of the Inkling. Artists use a “traditional” pen on “traditional” paper to get a “traditional” drawing, never losing that tactile and comfortable feel. But that artwork, during creation, is simultaneously captured digitally where it can be played with and expanded upon by programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.

The Inkling comes with a pressure-sensitive pen and a small, infrared/RF receiver that clips to a sketchbook or sheet of paper. As one draws, pen movements and the pressure used to make them are captured by the receiver and saved in memory where hundreds of illustrations can be housed. A button on the receiver allows for the creation of layers as well! Since there are no wires here, the Inkling is transportable as the battery life lasts for 8 hours. Work out your ideas at the park, the coffee shop, the bus or anywhere else you might feel inspired! Absolutely brilliant!

Once back at home, plug the receiver into your computer and upload the digital drawings in vector, bitmap, JPEG or PDF formats (among others), exporting them to a design program of your choice. Simple!

I can see future iterations of this device working on larger sized pieces of paper (the current version is recommended for 8.27” x 11.69”) while also offering different types and styles of pen nibs. Released in mid November of this year, the Inkling is retailing for the decent price of $199 – but is only available (at this moment in time) via www.amazon.com. As of this writing, the product is, unfortunately, on back order, such is the demand.

Still, keep your eyes peeled. Who wouldn’t mind a belated holiday present – especially one this artistically and technologically awesome?!

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