Wacom: What Size?

Posted by Scott

products_wacom_tablet_6x8[1].jpeg So it’s finally time to go legit and get a Wacom tablet but I’m having trouble deciding which size to get. I’m afraid if I get one to get one too big I’ll have to be making broad strokes just to get the cursor from one side of the screen to the other, and of course too small might be imprecise. Wacom offers the following sizes in it’s “Intuos” line:


So this is to all of you who have experience with these tablets: What size would you recommend? Is bigger really better in this case? If you have any good advice please sound off in the comments.

105 Comments Leave A Comment


Joyrex says:

December 1, 2008 at 1:51 pm

Well, considering you are looking at a tablet as a replacement for a mouse and not primarily for drawing (although that might be something you’ll consider in future), I’d say lean towards the 9×12 – however, if you’re going to do any sort of drawing (like in Painter or in Photoshop or even Illustrator), then the 12×12 is an excellent size. One thing to consider is when you’re mousing around, you are actually dragging the pen across the surface – I don’t know how well it responds to pick up and put down movements (you may want to test this out before taking the plunge), which would be more natural, *if* the cursor followed you across the screen (which it won’t). This is one thing that I quickly gave up on when I tried a tablet to replace my mouse, and instead found the combination of both to be a good trade off (but then again, I don’t suffer from RSI, at least yet)


Anton says:

December 1, 2008 at 1:59 pm

I use two monitors and find 6×11 works perfectly. Image on one, panels on the other it is very helpful between switching from spanning both screens to actual pixels and keeping true perspective. Not to mention is makes perfect wrist rest for white apple keyboard.


Chris says:

December 1, 2008 at 1:59 pm

IMO: you can scrap the lowest one. It’s useless for anything other than playing with. I’d say the 6×8 up to the 9×12 would all be good choices. I think it comes down to what you use it for. I’m thinking you should go 9×12 as the others might be too confining.


Dylan says:

December 1, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Long time reader, first time commenter.

I love my 6×11. For wide-screen or dual-screen layouts, it’s totally perfect.

I have an illustrator friend with the 12×19…it’s ridiculous. Too big for the desk, she sits it in her lap and works like that.


thelottery says:

December 1, 2008 at 2:17 pm

I have the 4″x6″ and have no issues with it at all. I don’t have to move my arm too much… just my wrist more than anything. I should note, though, that I also tend to do my hand sketches at a relatively small scale – so if you’re the type of artist you uses a large sketch pad, you’ll want to go larger with your tablet as well.

I never use a mouse anymore. I’ve been using this tablet for probably 6 years at this point, and I’ll never go back.


Jayden Lawson says:

December 1, 2008 at 2:20 pm

I have a wireless Wacom – 6×8. Bought it from an enormous Frys store in LA and smuggled it back in my snowboard bag to Australia :D It works fine on a 24 inch widescreen, but next time I’m going wired, and one size bigger… 9×12 is my recommendation.


trpl7 says:

December 1, 2008 at 2:20 pm

i like 6×8 or 6×11. anything smaller will kill your wrist anything bigger will kill your shoulder. i sound like a cripple…
although if you do want to go bigger, there’s always the remapping(resizing) options in the wacom preferences.


jppolk says:

December 1, 2008 at 2:24 pm

Yep, I support 6×11, its about the size of a keyboard just with a bit more height, works great for me, I have dual 24″ monitors, but you should really base it on the aspect ratio of your monitor or monitors or else you’ll be makin ovals instead of circles or will have to sacrifice tablet realestate. I would also suggest not too big not too small, if you get a small one you’ll end up buying a bigger one latter if you like it, I don’t know about the big ones just that they are really to big for me.


NAVIS says:

December 1, 2008 at 2:25 pm

I own a 6×8 Intuos. Right now it’s collecting dust. I do mostly photo editing and find the mouse to be more precise for me. However, I am keeping the tablet around because I will be using it in the future. I did use it for a little while and since I’m left handed, I can work the tablet and the mouse at the same time. So you’re in luck if you’re a lefty.

It felt weird to use a tablet for the first time but I can see where using it often will become second nature with practice.

I’m still stuck with the crappy mouse that came with my iMac. I think it’s time to look into something more comforting and stylish. The white pill look isn’t doing it for me.


Aegir Hallmundur says:

December 1, 2008 at 2:26 pm

I’d suggest going for one of the smallest ones. If you’re a dedicated illustrator, then go for a bigger one where broader strokes will be useful. Otherwise you won’t have any accuracy problems with the smaller ones. I’ve got the A6 one (closest to the 4″x6″ one) I’m always doing detailed vector and line drawings for my work and my blog and it’s perfect.


zac says:

December 1, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Get the biggest one you can. It really gives the whole digital painting a lot better effect. Don’t be worried about having to go from one side of the tablet to the other, its no big deal.


d! says:

December 1, 2008 at 2:36 pm

the point everybody has missed MUSCLE MEMORY!!!

how big do you draw? do you use a sketchbook, moleskin, or loose leaf paper of a larger size? i suggest you use a tablet the size you draw BECAUSE when you use wacom use dont look at your hand !!! so muscle memory is CRUCIAL !!!! CRUCIAL !!!!

i use a large canson sketchbook most of the time so i got the Intous 3 9×12. it most closely resembles my drawing area.

here is another consideration! how many screens? if you use two screens it puts the operating area of BOTH on the tablet. if you have a broad drawing style the LARGEST tablet is the best.

THIS IS NOT A MOUSE! if you plan on using it like one who cares which one you get, you will be misusing it.


anthony says:

December 1, 2008 at 2:39 pm

I have one of the BAMBOO ones, i think its somewhere like a 4×6 and its great for professional use. this is my second one, i upgraded from a cheap $50 tiny one, which i used just to see if i would like it or not. Once i knew that i went to something more in my price range (bamboos are $100) next i will be upgrading to a 9×12 big daddy. if you have never used one, it will probably take about 3 days to a week to get used to it… but i dont even use the mouse that came with mine, now.


Jeremy Pettis says:

December 1, 2008 at 2:45 pm

I use my 6×8 at work as a mouse and drawing utensil it’s great switching back and forth seamlessly and you get used to the weird little mouse. Feels wrong at first but the quick switch is too convenient. I sometimes hit the edge when drawing large shapes but that’s usually because I didn’t take the time to think what I was doing prior. I work on a 20″ screen both at work and at home.
Another cool thing about the 6×8 is that it fits great in my incase mbp backpack.

only negative is the mouse is sometimes jittery.


Jay says:

December 1, 2008 at 2:50 pm

My 6×11 works nicely with my dual-24″ monitor setup. I definitely wouldn’t want anything larger, that’s for sure.


Juan Marin says:

December 1, 2008 at 3:00 pm

do you know about this new product that is coming out I think that if it performs as good as it looked on the lecture I sat in… this product will be a good competitor for wacom tablets… check it out


Dunlap Studios says:

December 1, 2008 at 3:14 pm

I absolutely love my 9×12, it works great with my wide-screen monitor. I have also used a 6×8, but I like the freedom and space I get from the 9×12. Though, I only use it for illustration and fine tuning, I’ll never give up my mouse.


greg says:

December 1, 2008 at 3:19 pm

9×12 works perfect, although you better have space for it on your desk. I don’t and because of that, I don’t use it that often.


Paul says:

December 1, 2008 at 3:21 pm

Lokks like there is a lot of consistency within everyone’s experiences… Either the 6×8 or 9×12 is great, but definitely get the high end Wacom, the cheaper ones just don’t work as well (to be expected I guess…).


David says:

December 1, 2008 at 3:36 pm

Definitely 6×8. Anything smaller is to inaccurate, anything bigger will make your arm tired and would be useful only if the tablet had a screen.


Glenn says:

December 1, 2008 at 3:44 pm

My wife loves her 9×12, but has commented a couple of times that she feels a 6×11 would work just as well.


pse says:

December 1, 2008 at 4:16 pm

I use an A4 sized Intuos 3 an often it is too big for me. I put the keyboard on the top of it, so i have to reduce the size via software … not a good deal. i think, taht an something around an A5 is big enough. good luck.


nj says:

December 1, 2008 at 4:20 pm

Honestly, if you need to use Painter/Photoshop to ‘draw’, then the bigger the tablet the better. I’ve been using a 9×12 for awhile now, and it’s brilliant for making long flowing strokes.


gustaf says:

December 1, 2008 at 4:36 pm

I’ve been using wacom tablets for over 10 years now… absolutely indispensable. I started off with the 4×6 at the very beginning, but have been much more comfortable singe graduating up to the 6×8. Good compromise on the tablet/desk-space ratio. 6×11 will likely be my next…. though I’d be curious to try the feel of the 9×12. Definitely go for the Intous, though… much better feel than their lower-end Graphires.

Scott… what was the deciding factor in getting a tablet?


mike murdock says:

December 1, 2008 at 5:12 pm

I have a 6×11. I work with 2 screens so it’s really nice to have the extra room. Basically, half of the tablet is one screen. So I put it between my screens next to the keyboard. I would also recommend if you have a really big, widescreen monitor. When I’m just working with just my labtop screen, I’ll change the proportion so I’m only using half the tablet.

A word of advice: Once you start using it, it will feel weird, but use your stylus and ONLY your stylus for about 2 weeks straight and you’ll get used to it really fast.


ts says:

December 1, 2008 at 5:27 pm

Bigger is always better. With that said, I replaced my 9×12 with a 6×11 over a year ago and couldn’t be happier.


Gabriel Perez says:

December 1, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Bigger is better, you can always shrink the “active area” in the wacom settings, if this is now something you always want to carry around i would suggest 6×8 or 6×11. I own a 9×12 and its great for home use, but if im going to be doing alot of moving around there isnt much point in carrying a wacom to do work. I think its a matter of… when your on the move are you really doing sufficient work, or are you doing the basics. Ive come to realize im not doing much moving around or traveling and still producing full body’s of work. This is just me.


chumsdock says:

December 1, 2008 at 6:51 pm

I got a second hand 12×12 intuos 2 not very expensively.
It’s perfect except it’s no way to take it with me.
You can map the area of the board, so you don’t need to move your hands all around if you’re used to small boards.
The only thing bothers me is that there’s no way to use 2 monitors and the wacom perfectly at the same time. You definitely want to map the board to one monitor, but then you can no longer use wacom pen to select the panels on the other monitor.


Adrian says:

December 1, 2008 at 6:55 pm

I’ve got the 4×6″ Bamboo One. Its small and ultra portable. i can carry it around in a hard disk bag i bought which is cool, because i still study design.

compared to the bigger intuos series, the surface isn’t as smooth and sensible. but with some tweaking in the preferences, it works like a charm.

the size is ok for me. But i know that i’m going to upgrade to a slightly bigger wide-screen intuos after graduation.

but at the moment, its perfect for me. Plus Wacom give 2 years of waranty and will exchange my pen which fell to the ground yesterday without any obligations or stress, which is also cool.

i’d suggest to borrow some from a friend and check out which size fits you.




Matt says:

December 1, 2008 at 6:57 pm

6 x 8 is the way to go. Also on all the tablets you can fully customize the speed and sensitivity settings. So you can set up a 2:1 ratio to move freer around the screen and just zoom in to have more control on finesse brush work in photoshop.


Adrian says:

December 1, 2008 at 6:58 pm

geez, the first sentence is odd. :)
i meant that i use it at home and at university.

guess its better to go to sleep now.




Eric says:

December 1, 2008 at 7:36 pm

I use a 12×19 at home and a 9×12 at work, both with 24″ monitors, though at work I have duals- one 24″ and one 21″ (I think that’s the size, one’s a tiny bit smaller).

The pros of the 12×19 are the sensitivity (it’s a dream to work with), and I like that the physical size I’m working with is close to the physical size of my monitor. The major con is desk space. Even with a lot of space, its tough to find the right balance of tablet vs keyboard vs monitor. I shift all of them around every now and then. I’ve had no problems with shoulder strain or any kind of discomfort.

There is not a huge difference in usability between that at the 9×12 at work. The 12×19 responds more accurately, but if you aren’t using your tablet 99% of the time, the 9×12 may be a good choice. To work with dual monitors, I have one of the tablet buttons switch the cursor from one monitor to the other. If I used my right monitor for anything more than email and a small amount of PS panels, it would irritate me, but as I work now, it’s fine.


Anonymous says:

December 1, 2008 at 7:52 pm

I had used a 6 x 8 for years creating fonts on a 1600×1200 CRT. It worked great. I’ve sinced moved up to a 24″ iMac (1920×1200) and found it was a little cramped. The 6 x 11 IMHO is the most well rounded size for larger displays up to 24″. I think it’s important to pair your new tablet with the display you will be using for years to come.
*I have my tablet paired to my main display, and set it to ignore my secondary display that I use for itunes, firefox, and chat. I use a mouse for that screen.

Never had any problems with Intuos3, one of the most reliable peices of hardware I’ve ever purchased. Has stood up to many sudden red lights in the back seat of my car.

My vote is
6 x 11.


Sander says:

December 2, 2008 at 1:57 am

Hi Scott,
a quick comment on the Wacom Tablet: I’m working on an Wacom Intuos tablet, A4 size. Lovin it! No problems wth the size and you get used to moving around with the pen. Note: working on two screens simultaniously doen’t work so good. If you try to draw a circle, you get an oval. So if youre working on 2 screens, I’d sugest you get a tablet with wide-screen measurements. Goodluck!

PS> Lovin’ your work. Keep it up!


MR.ROSCO says:

December 2, 2008 at 2:11 am

i have the same of the photo (i don’t remember the size)
I work on the studio making illustrations, photo retouches and other graphic works. i think this sice is enough to work comfortably


Neal McCullough says:

December 2, 2008 at 2:15 am

I’ve been using an Intuos A4 tablet for over 8 years now. Probably just the right size. Any bigger and you may have problems with desk space. I love Wacom stuff – my mouse was relegated to the dustbin years ago


Jerry says:

December 2, 2008 at 2:52 am

I’ve had an Intuos 2 A4 for a few years now and I barely use it. It takes up so much space on the desk I end up putting it away and forgetting it for a few months. I also feel it’s a bit uncomfortable working with when I need quick access to my keyboard due to the tablet’s size. If you’re using dual monitors, however, it’s probably the right size because you’ll have to sacrifice quite a bit of the vertical active area to maintain the proper aspect ratio (@Sander: you can change it in the drivers!).

If I could choose again, I’d go for one size smaller this time. I’m actually eyeing the small Cintiq, but it’s currently not in my budget planning.


Alvaro says:

December 2, 2008 at 3:24 am

Sorry to hijack your question a bit Scott, but after all this great advice, how about if you plan to use it for photoshop work.

Same rule of thumb on size?

And how about improving the work?


Scott says:

December 2, 2008 at 3:37 am

Thanks everyone for the great advice! It sounds like I should stick with a moderate size. To clarify: I will primarily use it for Photoshop and keep a mouse around for day to day activities. Also, I only have one monitor now (the CS3/CS4 photoshop interface does a good job of living on one screen. plus now I can get a better sweet spot for my sound monitors since I don’t have to place them so far from each other to avoid the 2 big monitors).

I will be sure to report back once I dig in. Alex is bringing his over tomorrow so I can give it a test run, excited!


shely says:

December 2, 2008 at 4:20 am

i have a 6×8 inch one and i find it to be the best size, any smaller is pointless and you cannot get into details any bigger and the strokes you need are so huge that you have similar detail issues, the a4 size might be ok, but i have used this a5 size one for years and its served me very well.


shely says:

December 2, 2008 at 4:23 am

oh and i am working on a 24inch imac and find it perfect, the only weird thing is the wide screen to graphics tablet is slightly odd conversion but i don’t personally really notice it


Markus says:

December 2, 2008 at 7:37 am

I have a Intuos 3 6×11 and love it. They start to get too big and cumbersome if you go much bigger.

Now if you can fork out 2g’s and get a Cintiq 21UX (20UX indefinite backorder)…get that! They are absolutely the best! Using a Cintiq has made a huge difference, even after using an Intuos tablet for a few years.


Matt says:

December 2, 2008 at 7:38 am

I’m a big fan of the 6×11. So much so, that bought a Cintiq for a week and sent it back because I was so used to the Intous 6×11. Its the perfect size to compliment the new line of macbooks and also fits great in a laptop bag.


Mike Haskew says:

December 2, 2008 at 8:04 am

I use the 6×8 Intuos and love it. It’s big enough for what I need without taking up too much desk real estate. I usually use mouse mapping instead pen mapping, so the amount of space is never an issue for me.


Mari says:

December 2, 2008 at 8:28 am

I use a 6×11 and it’s the best thing ever. I bought the 6×11 because I’ll eventually go wide screen and with it I could adjust the screen real-estate to my size right now and then go bigger. Think ahead!

It took me around 2 days to get used to the feel. I’m a graphic designer and illustrator and it has optimized my working time incredibly. It was a big investment alright but it was well worth it. I won’t change it for anything…


McCulloughDesign says:

December 2, 2008 at 8:49 am

I’m using a 6×11 with two 20 inch monitors. It has good proportions for sure. Sometimes I wonder about going bigger (9×12 or 12×12) but then think that’s getting too big, unless you do a whole lot of production type photo touch ups.

A 6×11 would be a great place to start and you’d probably use it for years and years.


Blizowski says:

December 2, 2008 at 9:23 am

Hey Scott,

Get the big one.

1. You can always map only a portion of the tablet, so if for instance using the whole thing feels like your arm is crossing the length of a football field, you can tell it you only want a quarter of its surface area to correspond to the screen.


Oliver Barrett says:

December 2, 2008 at 9:52 am

I love my 6×8. It’s not too big and not too small both on the desk and on the screen. I’ve never had an issue with it and I use 2 24 inch wide screen monitors. The only minor annoyance are the the buttons on the sides being accidentally pressed by the palm of my hand, but I’ve deactivated those.


Mandy Thomson says:

December 2, 2008 at 9:58 am

I see I’m not alone in recommending the 6×8… it’s the BEST!
I often work on 2 x 24′ monitors and I still find it to be the perfect size.
I’ve tried the 12×12 and it’s too huge…
Happy Tablet using…you’re gonna wonder why it’s taken you so long to make the switch… I can’t even use a mouse anymore, it feels ridiculous!


Luis E. Piñol says:

December 2, 2008 at 12:30 pm

I’ve had 2 of these both 6×8, this size is optimal. I have a 30 inch widescreen display and it translates amazingly. Get one!


Jonathan says:

December 2, 2008 at 1:29 pm

First, let me say I am a professional graphic designer for a large print & design copany, and didn’t seriously start using a tablet until about a year into my job. Now I feel I cannot work well without it. Once you get used to it (it took me a week or so) every movement seems more precise and faster! And controlling Photoshop & Illustrators tools is much more comfortable with the pen than with the mouse.

I am using a 12×12 as I write this from work. The 12×12 is great as long as you have a large enough workspace to put it. However the 9×12 is cheaper, and offers pretty much the same exact amount of “useable” drawing space if you have a standard resolution monitor and use the “force aspect ratio” setting which I do and which I will explain in a minute.

For “home” work I use my widescreen laptop, and I use a Wacom 6×11 tablet because the 12×12 is too large by far to move around a lot, and the 6×11 almost matches the aspect ratio of my laptop screen when I use the “force aspect ratio” setting.

The Force Aspect ratio setting makes your tablets active area (the drawable area) match the ratio of your monitor. At work I use a standard ratio monitor (4:3) and because my screen is a rectangle and the 12×12 tablet is obviously square, if I didn’t use the forced aspect ration, all the circles I draw would come out as ovals, and all my squares would come out as rectangles, because I always use my pen in “pen” mode, which matches a point on the tablet to a point on the screen, unlike “mouse” mode in which the pen moves like a standard mouse. Because of this forced aspect ratio the bottom 3 inched of my tablet are not used (they area can be set up to control multiple monitors, but I only use one at the moment).

With my 6×11 tablet about 1 centimeter along the right edge of the tablets work area is not useable when I match my tablet ratio to the laptops screen ratio.

The reason I match the ratio, and use the pen in “pen” mode, is because aside from the very nice (and expensive) Cintiq tablets, these settings are the closest you can get to simulating drawing on paper with a pen or pencil (or brush).

I mention the ratio issue only because I was unaware of this when I first got a tablet, which is why I had my company shell out more money for the 12×12 when they could have saved $100 or so on the 9×12. I was smarter when I bought my own tablet for use with my laptop.

You should find the tablet in the size you like that is closest in aspect ratio to your monitor, this will give you the best results when you use you tablet, and prevent you from wasting money on size you can’t use.

As for which size, big or small. I have both, and I like both. The smaller tablet is definitely a lot more portable, so ifyou intend to take it with your along with your MacBook, I would highly recommend a smaller tablet.

A bigger tablet feels less confining, and gives you just a bit more control when working on things zoomed far in.

You might think that 12×12 would require large arm movements, but really, they are no larger than if you were drawing onto an A4 sketchpad. Even with the larger arm movements, the pen is so much more comfortable than the mouse you won’t notice it.

In anycase, as long as you get a Wacom Intuos I doubt you will be dissapointed.


TobiasMik says:

December 2, 2008 at 1:50 pm

I used a 4×6 for about 5 years before I got the 6×8. I must say that I prefer the 6×8, but then on the other hand I haven’t tried a bigger one. My pad is placed to the right of my keyboard like a mouse. With a bigger pad I imagine that I would have a hard time fitting in both pad and keyboard on my desk.
It took me about a month to get fully used to the pad, and since that I’ve never used a mouse for my work computer.
A good tip is to have a cornered table so your elbow can rest. See my custom-built work desk (and the rest of our home!!) at me and my girlfriends blog:
Less can ofcourse do the job, but prefab’ed corner tables are often monstrous!
After 8 years with a pad only I actually find it quite annoying that with a mouse I have to drag the cursor from one end of the screen to the other. But with the pad I just lift the pen and put it down and whoop I’m there!


toqueboy says:

December 2, 2008 at 2:26 pm

9×12. get the neoprene case for it and the airbrush pen with the wheel. 9×12 will fit in most laptop briefcases and bicycle delivery style bags, as well as most carry on style luggage.

the size of the surface is the key reason to select the 9″x12″. i’ve been drawing on letter size paper my whole life, so it’s a natural fit to what i’m used to holding and visualizing. on the smaller pads i found that the overall tini surface affected how i had to hold it and position my hand. i do not want to be thinking about mechanics while i’m making something.




Schoon says:

December 2, 2008 at 3:19 pm

I have a 4×6 but at work I use a 6×8. I am really kinda impartial to either of them because its nice to have the bigger size but not necessarily needed. Either way you’ll be fine I think. To be on the safe side I give the 6×8 my nod of approval.


Joaquim Marquès Nielsen says:

December 3, 2008 at 2:56 am

Getting a Wacom board will make you wonder, how you were ever able to work WITHOUT one :D It’s one of those “best investments”, so good for you man :) Can’t wait to see how it will affect your work.


Lorenzo Cantera says:

December 3, 2008 at 3:47 am

I would recommend the Intros 9 X 12, since thats what I use everyday for everything at work. I love it and the reason why I got my tablet at that size is due to the idea that it was close to that of a sketch book page. So you don’t have to worry about running out of drawing space making long strokes. After you get accustomed to using the pen, setting up the shortcut side buttons and the screen aspect ratio, you will find that your productivity will go up so much!

Go for the 9 x 12


valp says:

December 3, 2008 at 5:34 am

I have 9×12 intuos 3 for 2 years and before that I was working with volito 2 (also by Wacom) – a very small 4 x 6. While I am working on my desk and really won’t move with tablet I think the bigger the better. However not too big.

You can express as you like it because there is no edge you will reach in case of loosing control ;).

BTW there should be Special Edition, a very nice black with additional airbrush pen.

good luck! :)


Oshri Dov Gur says:

December 3, 2008 at 8:07 am

I think ultimately depends on the intended use and the size of the screen you are working on. For architectural use, I use a larger pad, I’m hoping one day to have reason to purchase the 12k US$, digital drafting table. The 6 x 8 is what I use for graphic work and it is perfect for what I need. I also operate 3 monitors off my Mac, this affects the active area to a degree but you can adjust this in personal settings. Bigger is not necessarily better…it ultimately depends on how you intend to you use the tablet, think about the number and size of monitors you have and how much active area on the pad you need. If your doing serious illustrations or something or architectural drawings I’d go 9 x 12, but for most graphic work 6 x8 suffices. Dont install the accessory software, it effs things up. I don’t think the NIK Colour effects that useful. Johnathan’s comment looks most succinct regarding the technical aspects of using a tablet.

Tansi, faites bien/shalom


Tau says:

December 3, 2008 at 8:52 am

First thing you have to work out, is wether you’ll use the tablet in regular tablet mode or mouse mode. I’m probably one of the very few people who use the mouse mode, but it makes logical sense in my head. For mouse mode the 6×8 is fantastic. If you’re using it in the regular mode (maps to screen points) I’d get the tablet that reflects the ration of your screen most accurately. You’ll know within the first week (it only took me a week to learn) if you chose the right size, so you can always send it back and get an upgrade if you’re not sure.

Make sure you draw as much as you can in the first week!


Brett Stenson says:

December 3, 2008 at 9:45 am

TABLET SIZE OF CHOICE: 6×11 Widescreen Tablet. I use this size at work everyday, and it’s absolutely perfect. I use a 4×6 at home, and I hate it. Yea, I can take it anywhere, but it feels like drawing on a postage stamp that is projected onto a movie screen. Whereas the 6×11 is closer to the monitor size, but not to the point where you are swinging your arm around like you are competing in a freestyle swim race. If you are feeling like a lush, take out a loan and snag a Cintiq! They are larger, but the connection you have with the “paper” is amazing…

P.S. I love your work!


jen says:

December 3, 2008 at 11:34 am

i think 6×11. small enough so that your keyboard is just above it on your desk and still within reach, but large enough to get any work done. anything larger and your keyboard is far away. also it fits the format of a widescreen monitor.


hendrik says:

December 3, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Hi, I do retouching and work with wacom intous 3 6×11 with macbook pro
15 inch connected to eizo cg222w and i love it. don’t go smaller than that.


Matt says:

December 3, 2008 at 1:38 pm


having owned a fair amount of Wacom products, for starting out I would suggest a Wacom 6×11. This is a widescreen format and would closely match the proportions of that new MacBook Pro you purchased. Its a very reasonable device for what we would normally consider as everyday design work.

On a side note I would recommend a 9×12 if you think your going to be doing a lot a sketch work/”traditional” illustration in say Photoshop. Most industrial and product designers per example usually have a larger tablet. Many of the folks who do the concept art for “Star Wars” have the largest tablet money can buy.

On a personal note I recently purchased a Wacom 12ux, which although has a smaller “drawing response area” it allows you to actually draw on its built in screen, making the transition of hand/eye coordination a snap. Something of which usually takes weeks or months to fully become accustomed to.

Also having a “6D Art Pen” versus the standard pen is a nice addition. Gives you the feeling of having a wider brush or a marker.


Taylor says:

December 3, 2008 at 6:52 pm

Hey man,

I saw you at the show in Clearwater, the Connext Project, I got to talk to you for a little bit at your stand before your set. I’m a sophomore at Ringling. Awesome show by the way, it seems like that asshole from mtv3 cut you off short though.

I have an intuos3 9×12, and it works great. there is a bigger 12×12 if you really want the space, but the 9×12 works great with a single or dual screen. the labs at school have 6×11 and they work, but the 9×12 just has that nice breathing room, not to sound like a dork, ha.

9×12 is the way to go


misfitsherry says:

December 4, 2008 at 8:29 pm

i don’t know if someone mentioned this but i find my 6×8 tablet slides perfectly into the laptop bag next to my macbook pro
great travel companions


Scott Reeves says:

December 5, 2008 at 12:38 pm

“One thing to consider is when you’re mousing around, you are actually dragging the pen across the surface – I don’t know how well it responds to pick up and put down movements (you may want to test this out before taking the plunge), which would be more natural, *if* the cursor followed you across the screen (which it won’t).”

Just to be clear, Joyrex, to mouse around on a Wacom you shouldn’t be dragging the stylus at all times. You should basically be “hovering” above the tablet surface. If you’re dragging the stylus across the tablet, that translates into holding down the mouse button and moving the mouse.

As for the pick up and put down movements, you can choose between “mouse mode” and “pen mode”, pen mode being the most common. In pen mode, the stylus surface essentially corresponds with the screen surface, whereas in mouse mode the two planes are independent.

I have a huge old Intuos (the original Intuos) 12×12. Too bulky to keep out on my desk, but great for certain projects.


law7355 says:

December 7, 2008 at 1:35 pm

I’d say go for the A5 wide Intuos as its the perfect balance between large enough to be precise but not too large that a 10-hour stretch of illustrating will tire you out…


magda says:

December 7, 2008 at 4:40 pm

I love my Intuos 6 x 11.

I run a 15″ mbp and a 24″

I don’t remember what life was like without it.
Oh yes, I do, I’m reminded at work every day when I have to use a mouse for projects and my company won’t spring for one.

You’ll be so happy.


Nic Nichols says:

December 8, 2008 at 7:17 am

Intous 3, 9×12 here… been using them since carpal tunnel busted up my right arm.. so being left-handed lets me draw with the left and use the key commands with the right… I could never live without it.. using a mouse is like painting with a bar of soap!


Mr. Smith says:

December 8, 2008 at 9:59 am

I bought a 6×11 for my 22″ widescreen. It’s working great for myself. Never had a problem with it being too small or anything like that really. This tablet has opened a lot of doors for me as well… there’s no turning back at this point!


John says:

December 8, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Let me throw my support behind the 4×6″
Unless you are making huge movements with your arm like an oil painter, you’ll be moving your pen in very minute movements. you will never need any more space. Trust me.


chris says:

December 10, 2008 at 1:36 pm


don’t know if anyone’s mentioned this yet, but which tablet you buy has a lot to do with whether you’re on a widescreen display or not.

the 4×6, 6×11, and 12×19 work best with widescreens. doesn’t rule them out if you’re not, but it’s def something to keep in mind if you are.

contrary to most of the flubber out there, you should purchase a tablet based on your screen format and your drawing style.
bigger ISN’T always better…

since you’re new to tablets, IMHO you can’t go wrong with any of the intuos line.

pick one that’s a good match for your screen. even the smallest 4×6 may be all you need.

from their site (

‘The 4×6, 6×11, and 12×19 tablets have active areas that are optimal for use with widescreen displays or multiple monitors. The 16:10 aspect ratio allows you to accurately reach every point on your widescreen display while taking up the least amount of desk space. The wide aspect ratio and the ample size of the 6×11 and 12×19 make these pen tablets great choices for use with multiple monitors to ensure that you have precise control when working on each monitor.’

good luck.


Brad says:

December 11, 2008 at 7:03 am

I have the 6×11 and think it’s the optimal size. I use two monitors (the one on my laptop and a 24″ flatscreen), and this one seems to cover the real estate nicely.

Of course you can control the portion of the tablet that is actually used in the settings – so you can always make it a bit smaller if you like.


Luke says:

July 11, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Scott, I think that you should consider what size your sketchbook drawings usually are, and thus the length of the stroke you are most accustomed to making. My drawings are usually done fairly small with black ink pens, and I’ve found that Wacom’s 4×6 (their smallest, I believe) is the perfect size for me.


Jeremy says:

July 12, 2009 at 8:27 am

Scott, I switched to a pen about 5 years ago. My fears were about the size and just the ability to even use the darn thing. Best thing I ever did as a designer. The best thing to do is to go to a Apple store and try them out. I went to my local Apple store and sat down at the computer and used all the tablets they had. Based on my trials / use of it I was pretty happy with the 9×12. However Now that I have a 3 monitor display set up, I wished I had the biggest one Wacom’s got. It’s all based on your monitor to tablet ratio. Because you can set your tablet to mirror your monitor so it’s not like your making huge strokes or need to worry about how big or small it is, just try to keep the screen and tablet ratio in size. After about 2 weeks of using your tablet you will wonder why you didn’t switch to it years ago. Good luck and can’t wait to see pic’s of the one you go with!


Brian says:

July 15, 2009 at 12:21 pm

I use the 9×12, though I now have a 30″ display, and wonder if a 6×11 wouldn’t be more fitting. It’s most useful for doing intricate pen work in making vectors – I find it really awkward to draw with, but after almost a year am still getting used to it.

Question for the Wacom users – anyone had trouble with their mouse? My right click function is growing more and more stubborn, and sometimes requires 3-4 clicks just to get the right click menu to open up. Do I have a dud mouse? Or are others experiencing this?


Jeff says:

July 19, 2009 at 1:27 pm

I have had a few tablet sizes and finally upgraded to a Cintiq. It is a great tool. (I know it isn’t really part of the initial discussion) Sketching/working directly on the monitor removes the disconnect you have with other tablet setups. If you like the feeling of traditional media, use a tablet everyday, I believe it is a worthwhile investment.