One of the best things about writing about technology is that every now and then you run across something that is such a leap ahead it seems like you're witnessing magic (for example, the first iPhone). This was my reaction when I got my first look at the new Wacom Inkling digital sketch pen.
Back when I was in art school, the one of the most coveted (and expensive) tools an artist could have was a set of Rapidograph pens, renowned for their ability to deliver amazing detail and produce a line unmatched by any other drawing pen. I have the feeling that the Inkling will quickly attain similar status. What the Inkling does is finally connect the world of free hand sketching and digital art in a way that a tablet never could by preserving the flourishes and organic quirks that only happen when an artist renders on paper.
You simply clip on Wacom's tiny pressure sensing receiver and, in combination with an ink pen (boasting 1024 levels of sensitivity), your paper drawings are then transferred via USB to a computer where Wacom's software flawlessly translates your drawing into a digital asset that can be manipulated in Photoshop and Illustrator.
As if that wasn't amazing enough, the set-up even allows you to create Photoshop-like layers while you are still in the paper drawing mode. Many old school artists have sworn to never touch a digital drawing tablet, but if you have any connection with creating art, you have no more excuses, this is a no compromise solution that frankly seems like a must-have. The Inkling is scheduled to go on sale in September for about $200.
You can see the Inkling in action in the video below.