Wacom Classic Pen review

My graphics tablet pen died. Overworked maybe? I like to think so, since I hadn’t dropped it or ill treated it during it’s two year lifetime. It started by ceasing to register high pressure- then it ceased to register low pressure. Then it finally died. I couldn’t afford to lose it for weeks while I sent it off for repair, so, perhaps foolishly- I opened it up- voiding the warranty- and tried to fix it myself. I got it fully working again for 12 hours or so before it finally conked completely. Fortunately for me I still had my Art Pen -but it isn’t exactly up to scratch either.

So I was faced with the annoying fact that I was going to have to fork out for a new pen.This meant I had a choice between the default Wacom “Grip pen” and the more niche “Classic Pen”. I’ve always found the grip pen to a bit chunky- like a kid’s wax crayon- so I opted for the Classic Pen. Hence this Wacom Classic Pen review.

Wacom Classic Pen 01
Classic pen, stand, and nibs. It comes with 4 plain nibs (one in the pen) and 3 stroke nibs.

First impressions: it’s lighter. it feels a little cheaper and flimsier than the grip pen. It rattles a fair bit. If you’re used to the Grip Pen it definitely takes some getting used to. I’d have to say that it’s not as comfortable as the old Grip Pen, which is probably why they made them so damn chunky- the slimmer profile of the Classic Pen means your fingers cramp together a bit more. This makes it a little harder for me with my big hands to press the function buttons.

The Wacom Classic Pen
For comparison: The Classic Pen (bottom) alongside my now Deceased Grip pen. I tell you, my old Intuos 3 pen I had for 7 years and it never once played up! Bah.

That said, it does have a rather pleasant tactile feel to it. Compared to the grip pen it feels that little bit less artificial. It’s lightness and slimness make it feel more like traditional media than the Grip Pen. Stick a sheet of paper of your tablet, insert one of the stroke nibs and it feels rather lovely- like pencil on paper- not plastic on plastic. It does seem (to me at least) more like using a pencil than a paint brush. The chunkier pens have a sort of ambiguity that lend themselves to whatever use you wish, but holding the Classic pen makes me want to draw rather than to paint (In so far as either of these terms apply to digital media).

It comes with a stand. Meh. And some spares of the overpriced nibs. Hoorah! As aforementioned I really like the Stroke nibs on paper. Go on, try it.

I’ve also found that I enjoy using the tilt sensitivity a lot more than I did with the Grip Pen. Again- its pencilesque lightness in your hand is very pleasant. Suddenly I enjoy using the 3d brushes in Photoshop.

In summary– it doesn’t technically do anything different to the Grip Pen- so you’d only really want one if you found the Grip pen to be too chunky. On the other hand, you might find the Classic Pen less comfortable for long sessions. It is slightly cheaper (~£10) than the Grip Pen but frankly, if you’re making decisions about hardware for daily professional use then that tiny difference shouldn’t sway you.

Here’s something I drew with it:

Prince Norman was a horrid child.

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Tom

Despite being repeatedly told that all artists drink too much absinthe, cut their own ears off and only make money after they're dead- I have always wanted to be one. In fact, this has only encouraged me. Based in the North West of England I've been working as freelance illustrator and designer since I graduated in 2012. ...I still have both my ears.