Anyone have The Slate?

I saw this digitizing tablet and wondered what made it special over other such devices. Any thoughts?


The clip was initially posted several weeks ago. Brad’s definitely the guy to follow if you’re into sketching. In his previous clips, he’s reviewed tons of other gizmos. His conclusions towards the end of this are spot-on, IMO.

My take on iSkn and Wacom’s version (Wacom Folio/Wacom Slate) will depend on what’s expected of your end-process. If that physical paper sketch is the target end-product, having this type of device gives you a tag-along digitized copy. In some ways, the end-result (having the digitized copy) can be achieved by tossing any hand-sketched sheet on a flatbed scanner. You end up with a bitmap (traceable into Illustrator/InkScape vectors) and pocket the $170.

On the other hand, if the digital on-screen content is the ultimate target, they’ve done a good job exploiting the apprehension people may have about moving away from traditional pen/paper sketching. It’s a crutch that may continue to handicap you long after that apprehension has evaporated.

It takes all of 3 minutes or less to re-acclimate one’s hand-eye coordination from staring at the physical sketch-sheet to focusing on the monitor’s canvas. With a traditional graphics tablet (Bamboo, Intuos, etc) it sports the assistive/configurable buttons on the tablet’s edge along with the stylus’ digital eraser function. These can be critical features for those intending on fully immersing themselves into digital illustration. Another consideration for the more common graphics tablet is the wider application towards other programs. Photoshop, Illustrator, Sculptris, ZBrush, MudBox, Mischief, Manga Studio… the list of 2D/3D programs capable of natively working with a graphics tablet is insanely long. The paper-slate devices seem more one-trick pony and can feel downright stifling once you’ve advanced into a workflow that might require toggling the ALT, Shift, or CTRL buttons.

Sculpting is what got me looking into a graphics tablet, so the iSkn wouldn’t have appealed to me in any way. I wasn’t sure how I’d acclimate to sculpting. It could’ve been something I’d hate or not accomplish to my expectations -or- might turn into something I’d immensely enjoy. If the former, then dropping $300-$400 on an Intuos Pro tablet would be squandered. If sculpting turned out to be a life-changing joy, even an Intuos Pro might not be enough. I could envision wanting something like a Cintiq – being able to sketch/sculpt directly on-screen seemed like the ultimate workflow.

I decided that during the time spent training with ZBrush, an inexpensive tablet like the Wacom Bamboo series ($70-$160) would be the smarter choice. If the sculpting exploration didn’t work out, I’d rather have a $70 paperweight than a $300 one. If things progressed well, it’s entirely possible I’d discover that a $70 economy tablet was more than adequate for the task (it is, IMO). And finally, not tying a lot of money into the “stepping stone” would make it easier to go after the Cintiq-like device as a self-reward for acquiring a new proficiency.


Thanks for the well thought out reply.


What I have been wanting is a way to easily take info I write/draw into a laboratory notebook and have that info available in a digital library where I can attach pictures of apparatus used, analytical chromatograms, etc.

Have you considered a Livescribe pen? You have to use their paper, but also have voice recording.

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Moleskin makes one too, but I haven’t had a chance to try it. I do love the normal moleskin notebooks, though

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I’ve owned two of them, but really can’t recommend them. They work pretty well, but as you said they require proprietary paper. Even though you can print your own sheets for use, they never got around to mentioning that you could only print a single “notebook” (as of ~2011, may have changed since). Likewise, the ink cartridges were proprietary and of poor quality. The final nail in the coffin (for me) is that other participants in meetings were fascinated &/or freaked out by the audio recording capability. It’s not like every modern phone & laptop can do that too… :smirk:


What I can recommend is the bamboo spark, I use 2 notebooks in it, one for personal sketches and other for taking notes for my job.

And as stores up to 100 sheets without sync, I don’t need to be close to my laptop, tablet or phone, this last one almost never happens but sometimes I have low battery and even then I don’t have to use the Bluetooth.

So for a easy sketch this can help you. :slight_smile:


I owned one, too…and agree that it was a bit too convoluted to use for my taste…plus having to use the special paper, etc.

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