I'm in artist alley table G14 for MCCC in Michigan May 19-21
sorry for brevity, posting from my iPad!
I'm in artist alley table G14 for MCCC in Michigan May 19-21
sorry for brevity, posting from my iPad!
This weekend I'll be exhibiting at MoCCA Fest with my friend Nadia Burgess of Toughspirit Creations! We're table i265 on the 2nd floor. MoCCA Fest will be this weekend April 1 - 2nd from 11:00AM - 6:00PM. It's held once again at Metropolitan West, on West 46th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues. Admission is $5 per day and will grant attendees access to the Fest including the Exhibitors Hall, on-site Gallery space, and programming. Tickets will be available for purchase at the door. Children under ten are free. Besides awesome artists creating unique indie comics in the main floors, there's tons of great programming going on at Ink48 Hotel nearby, including Reading Without Walls: Diversity in Comics, Saturday 12:30PM / Garamond Room and
Covering Trump: Steve Brodner Edel Rodriguez in Conversation, Saturday 2:00PM / Helvetica Room.
Hope to see you there!
I'm exhibiting at Big Apple Con this weekend with ToughSpirit Creations! Here's the scoop:
Saturday, March 11, 2017: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Sunday, March 12, 2017: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Penn Plaza Pavilion 401
7th Avenue New York,
All artists/authors/small press will be on the second floor of the Penn Plaza Pavilion, the storefront right next door to the entrance to the hotel. Looks like Big Apple has a big focus on cosplay this year - lots of panels and even an "Intergalactic Cosplay Dance Party"! Big star appearances include Stan Lee and Jason David Frank. As always, I'll be drawing custom sketches and selling mini comics! For more info and to buy tickets, go to https://www.bigapplecc.com/
Hope to see you there!
I've been teaching comics at Harlem Children's Zone for almost a year and wanted to share some of my experiences with you. I lead an after-school comics program for high school and middle school students 4 days a week, with a focus on entrepreneurship. In the picture above, the students are selling the mini comics they created at the end-of-semester event in December, and donated all proceeds to charities as an "act of kindness" (which is the HCZ theme for the year). Throughout the fall, it was great seeing the stories the kids came up with, watching them learn to fold the mini comics, get excited about games we played like "The Price Is Right" (to learn about pricing their mini comic products), and much more. We threw a pizza party for the middle school club, who raised the most money (almost $50 for the Red Cross!), and reflected on their experiences selling their comics. The students said it felt good to show other people their artwork and make sales. I could go on forever about how awesome it is teaching these kids, but I'd like the focus of this blog to give you tips if you want to get started teaching comics or any kind of art.
If you want a more stable, long-term teaching job, this is essential. I started out teaching comic workshops at MoCCA (Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art) and private tutoring, which was great for experience. However, if you want to move to the next level and teach consistently for a part-time job, you must have some kind of college degree. It doesn't even have to be an art-related degree or a master's. The main goal of our program at HCZ is to get kids to college, so it's important for all employees to experience college. Sometimes artists think they can get by without an official degree, and while that may work in some cases, not having a degree will really limit you in the future, even if you can't see it now.
Not all artists can be good teachers. Sometimes it's difficult to even explain what we're doing, let alone explain everything step-by-step to another person and guide them to create a complete project. If you have an interest in teaching, but feel you may need to "level-up" in this area, watch YouTube art demos or Envato Tuts+ tutorials (a fantastic resource) and study how the presenters break down the material step-by-step.
This may sound obvious, but we've all come across some teachers in our lives that probably made us wonder why they chose that profession. Teaching isn't for everyone, and to weather the chaotic times, you've got to have a firm grounding in caring about the students. I find that I relate to the high schoolers by remembering some of my high school experiences, and the middle schoolers and I can bond over animations we like (Dragon Ball Z is STILL popular! And hey I still know about Pokemon!).
Hope you find this helpful. Applying for arts teaching jobs will have other specific components, but I think these 3 points are universal. The arts have been cut drastically from the public school system, but they are much needed for youth development. There are many teaching opportunities in cities, and if there aren't many where you live, MAKE them! If you really want to be an arts teacher, reach out to some organizations in your area and see if they'd be open to incorporating an arts element to their programs.
One of the things I've learned from being a freelance artist is that you need to have a mix of stable and variable work. Most full-time artists these days must juggle 3 to 10 or more smaller jobs at once rather than having a 9-5 (this does not include artists that have a non-related day job). In my Venn diagram above, "stable" means recurring - either monthly, weekly, or daily. Teaching has set hours, but the rest of my jobs are flexible, meaning I can fit them in from home on my own time, so even though work is stable doesn't mean it's inflexible. The key to create stable work is to align yourself with a few solid companies or non-profits and have ongoing positive relationships with them. Now that I have a solid 3 forms of recurring work, I am finally starting to grow financially instead of just keeping afloat.
Variable artist work is the most random. Earlier in my comic career, I relied too much on these forms of income: comic conventions, illustrations, and comic coloring. These projects are fun to be involved in, but unless you have a constant client base, it's very difficult to make ends meet solely on variable, non-recurring work. Comic cons are great, but I realize I shouldn't exhibit too often due to burnout, since I sketch on-the-spot. Also, there's no guarantee there will be a large crowd so I may not make as much money as hoped. Now that I have more stable work, I can target only the larger conventions I know will have good traffic flow, and not feel compelled to exhibit in every single show. I can also fit in illustrations like custom comics in between my stable work, especially if there's a flexible deadline. I just squeezed in a short comic coloring gig for Action Lab Comics last week. I hired an assistant to do the flats instead of struggling to do the entire thing myself in such a short amount of time, which allowed us to meet the deadline comfortably without killing myself over no sleep. ("Flats" are the first step to comic coloring work - like the solid colors in a coloring book. The next step is making sure all colors harmonize, then shading/rendering.) Before, when I didn't have the trio of stable work, I'd do almost all the flats myself to get more money, but I'd have major burnout. Having stable work can be more freeing to consider options like hiring assistants instead of being in "survival mode" all the time, which is not healthy.
I encourage you to make an artist's Venn diagram of your own paying projects to help see your situation more clearly. What projects are you spending most of your time in - the variable diagram or the stable diagram - and what steps can you take to improve your situation? One step could be reaching out and reconnecting with past clients.
You could have another Venn diagram of fun comic projects of your own that are not paid projects. Just be careful not to spend too much time in the area of unpaid work though, because we can trick ourselves into thinking we're being more productive and making more money than we actually are. Good luck!
The next in my (D)(R) series - Happy Valentine's Day!
I’ve been so busy with projects that I haven’t blogged in weeks, and SO much has happened in America since then. With the turmoil the country is in, there’s certainly plenty of fodder to fuel more Daily Misfortunes. However, I’ve decided that I don’t want to contribute to more negativity on the internet. I want to draw something positive and refreshing! My new illustration series, titled (D)(R), will replace the Daily Misfortune until further notice.
If you like what you see, please share this comic :)
I don't watch scary movies anymore, not even older 80s ones that seem "funny" now. The closest thing I watch in that category is Nightmare Before Christmas. My roomie and I watch a lot of science documentaries, and she showed me one where scientists were trying to analyze ghosts (real life Ghostbusters??? Yes). It was pretty interesting! Not scary, but kind of creepy at some points. I slept fine that night, but for some reason last night I had nightmares about it! Even though I realize that many ghost myths have been debunked, maybe because I'm more imaginative my brain takes something mysterious and runs with it?
Well it's that time of year again. For the past 5 or so years, my New Year's Resolution has been to finally finish volume 1 of my comic series AER HEAD, without much result. I realize I never made a REALISTIC step-by-step plan of HOW to accomplish that goal before (for example, getting all the drawing done in one month is NOT realistic under my current schedule or any previous schedules). But now, because I've been implementing productivity techniques for various goals and projects for awhile, I think I can finally start to make more progress on AER HEAD. My strategy this year is to set super small monthly goals instead of one huge resolution.
I've also divided my goals into 2 areas: creative and non-creative. The non-creative goals are usually financially related. For example, for February, my non-creative goal is to get all my taxes done before the end of the month, while my creative goal is to write the over-arching outline of the whole AER HEAD series.
When setting these small monthly goals, it's important to seriously take into consideration how much time you can devote to each goal each week, which is something I didn't do in the past. I've set in my calendar 4 hours a week, from 11pm-midnight M-Th, to work on these goals. I'll alternate M/W creative goals and Tu/Th non-creative goals. This leaves me with 8 hours per month to devote to my creative goal, and 8 hours for the non-creative goal. With my teaching hours and freelance projects, this is a reasonable time I can dedicate. If my schedule changes, I can add more time, but this is doable for now.
I also realize that even at taking 8 hours to draw one page, it will take 2 years to finish just the drawing portion of AER, but hell that's more than what I'm doing with it right now. I've made a road map for myself, and it's OK to deviate from it, but I have to have a concrete place to start. I've planned up until June, but no farther because life changes and I'm always adjusting plans accordingly. And that's OK. Give yourself the freedom to be flexible with your goals. I'm also curious about some of YOUR goals too! Would you like to share any of your creative or non-creative goals?
Merry Christmahanakwanzika! May you and your family & friends have a safe and happy holiday season! If you're Photoshop savvy, you can cut out the guy's face and insert your own picture in the illustration! A personalized holiday greeting!
I'm so glad I don't have to worry about finals anymore, but I still have dreams about it sometimes. Had to throw in another Christmas Story Daily Misfortune!
I'd like to take you on a walk through my illustration process for client work. Here's a piece I recently finished that a past client requested as a Christmas gift to his wife. As freelance artists, most of the time we work with non-artists, and it's important to understand what the client is aiming for even if they can't articulate it exactly. I'm not psychic, I mean establishing an open Q&A with the client about various details and issues that appear before and during the project. Miscommunication with these details can lead to the client not getting exactly what they want, and an artwork that's not as strong. But if you practice C4 (Clear Communication with Clients is Crucial), the end result is that both parties are happy: the client gets an amazing product that exceeds their expectations, and you get a folio piece you can be proud of!
A past client emailed me to commission "a portrait-ish type piece" of his wife's dog Oliver and sent this picture.
He also said he'd like it to be "a little cartoony, but not super cartoony." What exactly did this mean? I sent him some examples of past dog illustrations I made and he liked the style, color, and tone of this one best.
The client described that Oliver "is basically a living cartoon character," but I thought that didn't reflect well in the original photo he sent. The photo is almost in a profile view and reminded me of more serious hunting dog paintings of yore. So I asked him to send me more photos where Oliver is showing his quirky personality. I wanted to portray his more playful side, like how the black dog is romping around with the girl in the example illustration.
The client also wanted to include a "label" below Oliver of his nickname. To clarify, I asked him if he meant something like this banner in a portrait of my parents, which was exactly what he wanted! I told him it would be cute if the banner would be at the bottom with the dog's paws hanging over it.
Note that ALL of this communication was over various emails the happened BEFORE I even made the contract or did a sketch. I have a rule of always finding out as much of what the client wants as possible, writing all those details in a contract we both sign, and getting a down payment of half the cost BEFORE even putting pencil to paper. This saves TONS of time and effort down the road, and I hardly ever have to do corrections beyond minor initial sketch tweaks. After we hashed out price, contract, and payment, I began this sketch!
In my contracts I always say that changes to the art are free in the sketching stage. Here, the client said that Oliver's chest was stockier - he had wider shoulders and short little legs. I realized I used the puppy picture (bottom right in the reference pics) as a main body reference. I then used the middle picture to create the modification.
Once the sketch was approved, and since I did the sketch at actual size (14x17), I used some transfer paper to easily trace the sketch onto the hot-press watercolor board. I added more fur details and used a compass to make the banner and letters more aligned.
Inktober really helped me - I can see an improvement in my own line weight! I used Winsor & Newton waterproof ink here, so I can overlay the watercolors right on top later.
Since the client's wife is a huge University of Kentucky basketball fan, the client pointed out that Oliver's collar should be royal blue. I suggested that the banner should also be blue to match, but the client had pictured the banner being gold or bronze. Even though we think of these colors as representing high value, I knew gold or bronze would not be a good color choice here for 2 reasons: 1 - not enough contrast between the dog's fur color and those earth colors. 2 - watercolors don't shine like real metals do, and the result might be muddy. But instead of writing all that out trying to explain myself, I made a quick digital mock-up* to SHOW the client that blue would look the best. The client could instantly see the difference and agreed with my blue choice.
*It's important to communicate to the client that this is just a mock-up and the final medium will look more detailed. Here, the digital colors are solid, but the watercolors will have more varied shadows and depth.
Watercolors - the final step! The client said the fur in the digital mock-up was a bit too dark (I based that off a shadow in the "smiling" picture). Oliver was a different color in every reference photo due to various lighting and environments - what was his TRUE color? I asked if the pic where Oliver is looking up is closer, and the client affirmed, adding that his chest and belly area is a little lighter than his back, sides and shoulders. Also, his muzzle is grey because he's an older dog.
With all that in mind, I had a heck of a time mixing the perfect light cream color (it kept turning out too peachy... must've been too much red in that Raw Sienna). Once I got a good mix, I had to find the right balance between shadows for contrast, while still maintaining the overall light color. I found that painting Pro White as highlights over the cream tone accomplished that goal.
Here's a clip from the client's review: "I am not well versed in art at all and I was only able to describe to [Mindy] what I wanted at a basic level. She worked with me to develop the concept I'd described to her, was receptive to my input as the concept evolved, and ultimately delivered exactly what I wanted. The most amazing thing is she delivered my vision that I didn't even know how to describe when we started."
Another satisfied customer! To artists, remember C4 (Clear Communication with Clients is Crucial). It's OK to tell the client your thoughts on a better solution. They'll respect and appreciate your expertise as an artist. Don't be afraid to offer different ideas from what the client initially suggests. To people looking to commission art, it's always best to trust the artist's judgment. By working together with clear communication at all stages of the artwork, both artist and client will be happy!
I grew up with dogs, and I know one day in the future I'll own one again. But at this point in my life I need to save up for a new computer instead of saving up for a dog. Every day dog care like food may not be too expensive, but God forbid if your pet gets sick. If you don't have enough saved up it can be really draining.
My friend Nadia of Tough Spirit Creations and I will be sharing a table at the Brooklyn Friends WinterFest craft show this Saturday, Dec 10th, from 11A-5P! We're part of the Holiday Market in the Lower Gym, but look at all the other amazing stuff they have going on: Log cutting?! Make your own snowglobe?! Terrarium workshop?! This is awesome! Admission is FREE. It's a family-friendly event, but fun for all ages to find creative gifts!
Brooklyn Friends School is located at 375 Pearl Street – one block from Borough Hall, between Willoughby Street & The Brooklyn Bridge Marriott Hotel Plaza. It's also near Jay St.-Metrotech via subway.
For more info, visit http://brooklynfriends.org/winterfest/. They put a pic of our table from a few years ago as the top pic! Very honored! Hope to see you there!
Since the surprising election last week, for many in the arts community it seems like a giant wrench has been thrown into our lives (to say the least). For me, everything seemed to be going fine with art projects pre-Trump. I was just getting into a great routine doing semi-regular nightly personal art coming off of Inktober. But now, post-Trump, I've found myself being glued to news sites and the media to see what the new "chaos of the day" is and am realizing that too much news is unhealthy.
Yesterday I saw a movie (Dr. Strange!) with some coworkers, and it was SUCH a nice break from all the negativity! The movie was very inspiring to me artistically - a refreshing boost! And that night, instead of googling the news during dinner, I researched more about the original Dr. Strange comics. So I've decided to give myself an extended break from the news and limit myself on Facebook (which is just as bad or worse, because of so many fake news articles and people ranting). Pre-Trump, I wasn't interested in the news much unless a major event happened (like an ISIS attack). Some people have criticized me for this, but it allows me to focus more on my artwork and get more done. I even had a professor who told students to not bother with the news, because it's so fleeting, and just do your art.
Now, I'm not saying escapism is the ultimate answer. It has been revealed that our country has many problems to sort out and it will take much time and understanding from both sides to resolve, which we should take part in a positive way. But in the meantime, it's OK to give yourself a break and do something fun and inspiring. You deserve it!
As I knew the 500th comic of The Daily Misfortune was approaching, last week I thought it was time for #500 to be the end. After all, 500 is a LOT of misfortunes, and I have other comic projects I want to work on. I'm actually surprised I did this many without being redundant. I created the first Daily Misfortune on 5/17/12, and have loved creating funny misfortunes from the totally fictional bizarre to the disturbingly too-close-to-home ones based on real life. Earlier this week, I thought "I have to come up with a zinger for the last one." After this election, now you have it. However, I've been re-inspired, and this will NOT be the end of The Daily Misfortune! Sadly, it looks like our country, and possibly the world, will have many more misfortunes to come. The hard part for me will be putting a funny spin on them.
Now, I'm not usually a very "political person," (I don't even keep track of news often - too busy making art) so this doesn't mean that from now on each Daily Misfortune will be a political rant. I really don't want friends and family fighting on my Facebook wall about this. But whether you voted for Trump or not, you can bet the next 4 years will be very tumultuous. To balance out all the misfortunes, I'll try to offer a positive note. As you have seen, truly ANYONE can become president.
This year I tried out Inktober for the first time and it was really fun! What the heck IS Inktober? "Every October, artists all over the world take on the InkTober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month." Artist Jake Parker "created InkTober in 2009 as a challenge to improve [his] inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year."
I'd seen some friends in years past posting art on social media with hashtags (#) of #inktober but didn't really pay attention to the movement until I saw an Inktober panel at NYCC this year. Artists talked about how it doesn't matter if you miss some days and it doesn't have to be a perfect drawing, but the goal is to help you to draw something on a regular basis, and you'll realize you're capable of more than you think.
I started more than halfway through October and did 10 Inktober drawings total. I loved just drawing in my sketchbook something that was not part of a larger project for once. There was a lot of freedom in just playing around with physical ink, which I've done less since going more digital with my work. I hadn't tried ink washes for YEARS until the theme of ink encouraged me to think of it, and painting Jupiter like that reawakened a childlike glee.
Here are the prompts for each day of October. For example, for 10/1, you'd draw something that's FAST. But if you missed participating in Inktober, why wait all the way until next year? These prompts can be applied to ANY month! Who cares if it's not October anymore? It's just fun! Not sure if you'd still want to tag your work with the official #, but that's not the point. The point is it helps you get your daily creativity inspiration! If you already did Inktober, and are looking for more prompt challenges, Tentacularly on Reddit has made a November list with 30 prompts and you can use color or anything. Artprompts.org is pretty cool too, where you click a category and it gives you a prompt phrase. My favorite is the "Situation" category.
Cheers to creating more art!
I've struggled with insomnia my whole life. Over the years, I've learned to not eat certain things in the evening and other habits to help get a better night's rest. Of course, avoiding caffeine after 3pm is ideal. But I've discovered that even eating chips as an after dinner snack keeps me awake! They don't have caffeine, but it must be the grease. Most dietitians recommend against eating anything late at night, but being hungry keeps me awake MORE, so I have to eat something. Lately, if I find that my relaxation/meditation CDs/apps (I prefer CDs because the blue light from a phone or tablet can keep you awake) aren't doing the trick, reading a boring book helps a lot.
This is more likely for a 9-5er, but it happens to artists too. I love drawing digitally for client projects, but it's not the same as drawing cool stuff just for fun by hand. Also, with fall in swing and winter coming, we all need to be reminded to get out of the apartment more! Freelancers, please get outside for some fresh air at least once a day, even if it's crappy weather outside. You'll feel the difference.
Here's another one-shot comic page I created with writer Patrick McEvoy! I love his techie futuristic themes. Also, couldn't help throwing in another disco-ball pattern in the computer room in the first panel. (Side note - the window and last panel colors were inspired by Sonic 2's Oil Ocean Zone). It's great that Patrick is cool with whatever I come up with, as writers should allow freedom for the artist to do what they do best! He was also open to suggestions I had for making the second panel two separate panels, so it's more clear that we are zooming into the computer's circuitry.
Working with others was one of our discussion topics on the Charmz School panel at NYCC. letterer Janice Chiang and writer Amy Chu talked about how they worked together on many projects over the years, as writing and lettering are very intertwined. Jay Jay Jackson and I are both "triple-threat" penciler/inker/colorists, so we talked about our experiences working with others, but also benefits of being sole creators of comics.
NYCC's line up of panels was MUCH better than last years! I targeted other writing panels too, as I'm working on rewriting AER HEAD, and panelists kept suggestingfor writers to start working with an artist on one-page comics before delving into their magnum opus. This is great, because it helps both writer and artist develop their communications to see if they work well with each other.
This is something that people don't really think about. Lots of indie creators are just so excited to get their work out there, that they don't take the time to get to know their team-mates working style: Do they respond to email timely? If not, was there a good reason? Do they ask lots of questions to ensure clarity? If not, they may end up doing extra work over changes. What is their schedule like? Do they prefer to work late at night? All of these things and more can be ironed out with a one-page comic before committing to too much if you realize you're not working well together.
I also work with writers in the FD Foundation and RLS Foundation for our weekly and monthly comic strips. My first boss for "No Tears: Life With FD," David Brenner, usually sent me the script and I drew it: easy-peasy. Occasionally, I'd offer suggestions (like "I don't think a kid would say it that way"), and sometimes he'd agree and we'd change the script, but usually the script stayed "as-is." My new boss for No Tears, Paul Schack, and also the team at the RLS Foundation are very open to my script suggestions. They give me the dialogue and I'd sketch it out, realizing that it would be better if some things were changed in the script or action description. Sometimes it's a back-and-forth process, which leads to a better finished comic! For example, the No Tears comic above was originally scripted with just the bottom 2 panels, but I suggested we insert a 3rd panel in the beginning giving more explanation that October is Dysautonomia Awareness month. YAY TEAMWORK!
Jay Jay Jackson and I were talking later on about how we don't like Robert McKee's "Story," a book about screenwriting. It's supposed to be this really great book, but it's so old that I don't get half the movie references, and the writing is pretty dry. I have the book sitting next to my bed, for when insomnia strikes it helps put me to sleep.
This Thursday 10/6 I'll be part of a panel at NYCC about getting girls making comics! Charmz School - The Girlcentric Creating Comics Workshop, 4P - 5P, Room 1A18
The line up has changed from what's on the site, which now includes such Papercutz peeps as: JayJay Jackson (penciler/inker/colorist), Melinda "Mindy Indy" Steffen (penciler/inker/colorist), Janice Chiang (letterer), Amy Chu (writer), and Jeff Whitman (editorial).
We'll all talk about how we started in the comics industry, then go into detail about each step of the comics process, and everyone can draw along! Sure to be a girl-tastic time!
"Hey, that panel sounds awesome, but I don't have a ticket to NYCC." You're in luck! I just checked the site and tickets are still available for Thursday only! $40 for the day. YES it's worth taking the day off work and taking your kid out of school. Flu season is starting - an easy excuse. SEE YOU THERE!
All the air vents in my apartment building are connected. This means I can smell and hear things from other people's bathrooms. I really hate smelling some nasty overdosed cologne when I'm trying to work or eat. But I guess it's better than smelling some other things...
New York Comic Con is next week! As it stands right now, I'm still on the wait list for an Artist Alley table. If you'd like a sketch from me, you can email your order to firstname.lastname@example.org early next week, and I can deliver it to you at the show. OR even BETTER, you can get a sketch at the NYCC after party at Lovecraft Bar that I'll be exhibiting at with 20 other artists, 5 bands, and cosplayers! Missed your chance for a ticket to NYCC? No worries - stop by Lovecraft for tons of comic-con fun! This video highlights last year's party.
Lovecraft Bar NYC 50 Avenue B, New York, New York 10009
THURSDAY October 6th from 8pm - Midnight.
$5 entry, which will be donated to http://fotvm.org/ to help the homeless. One drink or food purchase min. 21+ event
Get Tickets Here: https://nyccafterparty.eventbrite.com/
For more info, check out the facebook event too. Hope to see you there!
Unfortunately, I always fall into the trap of buying food on sale. Unfortunately, Key Food is the closest grocery store. "When in doubt, throw it out," but I may as well get my $ back too. Returned 2 Marie Callender's pot pies today.
Pretty busy this week, but that's a good thing! Enjoy the Daily Misfortune!
A few months ago at a party, an art school friend of mine and I were talking about drawing tablets. He wanted to get rid of his old Cintiq because he didn't use it anymore and couldn't get much for it online. "Donate it to ME!!" I excitedly said, and it happened! This Wacom Cintiq 12WX, while being many years old (first of its kind made in 2001), is BETTER than my much newer Wacom Intuos Pro, which I got about a year-and-a-half ago.
With any Cintiq, you can draw directly on the screen. This is MUCH more intuitive than the Intuos or Bamboo, where you draw on a separate surface and there's some guess work of hand-to-tablet/eye-to-screen coordination, resulting in having to redo many lines. I can draw curves SO much better with the Cintiq! With the Intuos, I'd have to redo curves up to 5 times before an optimal result, but now with the Cintiq I rarely have to redo lines twice.
It did take 4 hours to set up before being fully functional though. The Cintiq 12WX, being an older model, has many cords and extra stuff I didn't understand at first glance. But I just had to carve out a few hours to study the whole manual and then this diagram made sense. I discovered that I also had to download an updated "driver" from the Wacom site. But hey, for this device being free, I'll take it!
So far it's working great! The only problem is the screen color being different than my Mac screen. I've tried tweaking the calibration and fiddling with different amounts of brightness and RGB, but it's still off. I may have to switch back to the Intuos for color stuff until I figure out the perfect harmony for the Cintiq. Any suggestions are welcome!