Wacom Art Pens breaks down, poor engineering, or bad material

I love Wacom Tablets and use them extensively, almost everyday since the Wacom Intuos 1.0 was released almost 20 years ago. Before it was called an Intuos I believe.

Therefore I have several different Wacom pen Tablets since 1999. But, as much as the Wacom Classic Pen, that first was introduced with the first wacom intuos 1.0, the Wacom Art Pen and Wacom Grip Pens, now the default pens, are of less quality, unfortunatly. And they are pricey too. 

Wacom Art pen, grip pen broken, falling apart, cracked joins
Wacom Pen Tablet, broken Wacom Art and Grip pens

Today Wacom Art Pen and Grip pen respectively comes with the Intuos 4 and Intuos PRO medium (version 5 basically), and some Cintique models. So, they are quite standard in that respect, and really should hold for daily use over a very long time – if you ask me. Especially as the Classic Pen is more solid and never seem to break apart.

Two Wacom Pens, Grip and Art, broke down, fell apart.

I bought a Wacom Art Pen in dec 2016 or Jan 2017,  as a replacement pen for two pens that broke down in 2016. And now, basically two years later, my replacement Wacom Art pen is cracking in the joins and eraser and nib case are easily pushed into the pen. I will have to buy another replacement, it´s just a matter of time and how much I use it. I´ll give it a month. This is not okey. Considering the nibs are being used-up like made also, on newer models of the Intuos PRO, I have to ask – whatever happened at Wacom.

How my Wacom pens fell apart

In September – October 2016 I got a gig to sit and draw LIVE infront of an audience, for three days. My client Transdev (T) and Gullers Group (G) Stockholm – wonderful people to work for as a freelancer by the way – was exhibiting (T), project managing (G) respectively at the ”Persontrafikmässan” in Gotheburg at the Convention center ”Svenska Mässan” – Public Transport fair – 2016 event. (Persontrafikmässan has turned into one of Europe’s most important events for the public transport industry). 

Stefan Lindblad, in 2016, LIVE drawing – (his art on screen behind him ) using Corel PAINTER and CorelDRAW and Wacom Tablet. At Svenska Mässan Convention Center in Gothenburg ( Göteborg)

The night just before the event my first Wacom Intuos PRO tablet, Grip Pen fell apart. The joins broke and the pen inside circuit board basically came out. Being late night and heading out of town on a MTR train between Stockholm and Gothenburg (Göteborg) in the wee hours of the morning, I decided to not only bring my second Wacom Intuos 4 Art Grip Pen as a replacement. I also brought with me my older Wacom Intuos 3 pen tablet and its pen with me. So, there I was, two pen tablets and to pens. That should had been okey, right?

As I arrived Gothenburg Central station with MTR train (great train, honestly, not getting payed to say it, just is), I quickly took a tram ride to the convention center, passed my hotel Scandic Opalen Göteborg hotel, (fabulous breakfast by the way) and packed up my gear after saying hello to all the people in the exhibiting booth. My laptop, HDMI cable and my Intuos PRO (5) pen tablet and Grip pen. The high-ranked staff at the Transdev booth stood there, introduced me infront of the gathering people. Everyone was happy and ready to go – and then my second Wacom Art/Grip pen fell apart. I still remember the facial expression when I said: ”My replacement pen just broke apart”. And then saved the day by saying, no worries, I have another pen tablet and pen with me – the Intuos 3 Pen tablet and its own pen.

I still wonder how it is possible that two quality pens from Wacom just broke apart like that.

Fast forward, its now December 2018, and the replacement pen I bought for approximately 90 Euro/Dollars, £100 per Wacom Art Pen, have started to break down in the pen joins, the waist of the pen. The rubber edge isnt working correctly, the Front edge holding the nib falls forward and have to be pushed into the pen. Its a mystery to me. Why do they build a pen that breaks down like this. I guess if you don´t use a pen so often, daily usage for two years, you don´t notice it. But for me as a professional illustrator, who work both at my home workplace and being mobile and working  at various places, its so important that pens are made much sturdier and much more durable. This just aint cutting it for me.

Here for the photo-op, I use my intuos PRO tablet for show, because it looks better than my old Intuos 3, which pen you can see me using as my replacement. The only way I could use the Intuos PRO (5) was for this photo

I am now off to a local store to buy a new replacement pen for my replacement pen. That means I have four pens for two tablets so far. This time I will try buying a Wacom Classic Pen. They didnt use to have the joins in the same way when mostly the classic pen was around. And by looking at the pen photos from wacom, that seems to be the case.

Wacom, I really like your products – except for this rather bizarr quality of your specialty pens joins, aint good enough.

Stefan Lindblad

Illustrator, graphic designer

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