Sunday, November 17, 2013

Review: Wacom Airbrush Pen

Part number: ZP400E
$99.95 From Wacom Direct
For use with: Intuos3 (all models) and Cintiq 21UX.

wacom-airbrush-penI might be biased against this product since I was once a full-time airbrush users. As I wrote in a previous post: I really miss my airbrush. I really, really miss it. I miss it the way a thirsty man in the desert misses water. I don’t care if atomized paint in my lungs was shaving years off my life. I miss it. I miss it so much that I had to give the Wacom Airbrush Pen a try.

Using it is a little like putting a real airbrush in my hand again. The Wacom Airbrush Pen is indeed in the shape of an airbrush.  There is a button on the top of this Wacom pen that’s a little like the trigger on the top of a real airbrush. And that’s about it as far as the positive attributes of the Wacom Airbrush.

This does not feel that it’s worth $100.

What’s worse is that the Wacom Air Brush actually feels lighter than the 6D Art Pen, but slightly heavier than the “Classic” pen that I’ll be reviewing later. There are moments when I wonder if I squeeze this pen enough with my fingers it’ll crack. I’m not confident that this item is as rugged as the other Wacom products.

I get the sense that there is another artist under the employ of Wacom is also a lifelong airbrush user and wanted nothing more than develop a fantastic product that has the same shape, feel and heft as a real solid airbrush. The person person/persons responsible for this accessory must have burst into tears when they felt it for the first time as their hearts broke at the lack of mass! The lightweight feel actually a diminishes to this pen’s quality; for the amount of money we’re asked to pay for this it should feel more substantial unless under the plastic façade is a shell made out of titanium… It’s not, obviously.

When I wrote the review for the 6D Art Pen I said that the lightweight feel was an actual benefit and I used the word “refreshing” when describing how it felt t after so many hours of using the original pen. For a lifelong genuine Airbrush user the lightness of this specific Wacom product is a distraction and erodes confidence.

This is really aggravating because this is also the pen that I’ve reached for the most in the past two weeks. Its the one that I’ll use if I’m touching a photo or painting detail in Illustrator. I love the feel of this thing in my hands because of its basic shape and it’s reminiscent of my favorite painting tool in the past. The button works, the dial for varying paint thickness works, just like the other pens (except the 6D Art Pen) it even has a tip on the other end for erasing. I just want it to have the same substance as my original airbrushes!

I hate to say this but if there was another vendor who made an aftermarket Airbrush shaped pen I would have to consider buying it. If at all possible I would love to see Wacom take another whack at this and do it right next time.

I’ll also throw in the similar side note that I put in my other review for the 6D Art Pen: I wish this pen was standard with the original purchase of the Intuos3 tablet. I love the notion that there are accessories and replacement pens for the Wacom that are almost fun collectibles but I wish I was able to get all of the other pens all together. This pen feels like it should have been standard and not an expensive add-on accessory.

Succinctly I love functionality of this pen and its over-all shape and I’m glad I bought it. But I’m also glad I paid a reasonable price after shopping around. Please Wacom; consider re-releasing this Airbrush Pen with some more oomph to the body.

This is an iffy 4 out of 5 Star Product and is mostly geared for former airbrush users.