Wacom Inkling: Analogue-to-digital sketching

By Shem Pennant,

Love to doodle? I’ve been doing art with digital devices for ages and very little (for me at least) matches the joy of scribbling with paper and pen. Although 53 digital’s Paper comes close. Wacom are something of the de facto standard when it comes to tablets and even they know the joys of old fashioned sketching. Of course one of the fun things about living in the future is that we can take old fashioned things and ram cutting edge technology in them.

Wacom Inkling

Inking is digital sketch pen that captures a digital likeness of a user’s work while sketching on old fashioned paper. We’ve seen other fancy pens – notably (pun intended) LiveScribe’s offerings – although Inkling is doesn’t require special notebooks and instead works with any piece of paper.

Rather than a complete input solution, Inkling is more of a “front end” for artists, illustrators and graphic designers for their rough concepts and creative brainstorms. Rough ideas are capture on real paper in real ink and then brought to life on a computer.

Inkling works via a wireless receiver that’s positioned on the edge of the page. As long as there’s an uninterrupted line of sight to the pen tip, you can capture the sketch and manipulate it digitally later on. The ballpoint pen uses Wacom’s pressure sensing technology (1024 levels of sensitivity) to detect how hard the pen is being pressed to the paper so you can apply shading and various other forms of nuance to your work. The bridge between the digital and analogue worlds works both ways and you can create layers in the digital file while sketching on paper.

When you’re done sketching simply connect the receiver via USB to transfer all sketches as bitmap or vector files. It’s odd that something so futuristic as analogue-to-digital sketching uses something that feels as old as USB but it is a universal input method. Wireless background syncing would be nice but I’m clearly spoilt.

Files can be edited with Inkling Sketch Manager (included) to edit, delete, add layers or transferred to creative software applications for further editing including Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CS6 (both 32bit and 64bit operating systems), as well as Autodesk Sketchbook Pro 6. Alternatively, files can be saved in JPG, BMP, TIFF, PNG, SVG and PDF formats for use with other applications. Inkling Sketch Manager also supports Mac OS 10.8.

The Inkling sketch pen is priced at £149.99 (including VAT) and is available now from Wacom partners and the Wacom eStore.