Amazed at the difference a Cintiq has made

I recently started a new job that necessitates more day-to-day sketching than I sometimes had in my past workflow. When my director was getting things set up for me prior to my start date, he asked if I needed any particular tools. All of my digital sketching and rendering since school has been done on my Intuos tablet, and, while I liked it, it never felt like an indispensable weapon in my sketching arsenal. Pens and markers would almost always suffice. I often felt more freedom and better flow with them, anyway. When I interviewed, though, I noticed a few designers in the office working on Cintiqs. I mentioned that if they had an extra laying around, it would be nice but by no means necessary. They had one for me, because they’re awesome.

Fast forward a couple of months into the new gig, and I’m amazed at how much of a difference the Cintiq has made. I feel like I’m able to crank out concepts at a level of quality and finish that would normally have taken me up to twice the time on my Intuos or with physical tools. I’m at the point where I’m thoroughly considering one, or at the very least an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, for my personal work. I feel empowered with it. I have always subscribed to the theory that tools are tools and the real value is in the skill that you bring to them. Add in how prohibitively expensive Cintiqs can be, and I never seriously considered a Cintiq an option. Now, I hate to think about doing any type of heavy sketch and render work without one.

Has anyone else experienced this with a Cintiq or another design tool? It feels pretty great.

Its a great workflow boost. Especially valuable when working through production details where it’s less about creating a great sketch from scratch, and more about understanding how you’ll resolve details, or when you need to call an engineer over to explain something.

A tablet/iPad Pro can offset some of that, but having it built onto the same machine you’re using for the rest of your workflow makes it much easier.

I had the same experience as you. Never used a Cintiq before the job I have had for the last year and half and it has been amazing. I still believe it is just a tool and not to be used to compensate for bad technique but if you have been sketching a lot of you life and you know what your doing it can be a huge productivity boom. All of the feelings you mentioned about not wanting to do the work without on are spot on. But I do think it is worth stressing the importance of learning the hand skills need to really utilize a Cintiq to it potential. It is not a crutch.