Those who know me know that I've vented a fair share of vitriol at "Wacom jockeys," that almost incalcuable mass of (mostly) online cartoonists whose work is so obviously completely drawn in Photoshop, gradiented and textured to infinity, computer lettered, and shit up on Keenspace or wherevs. I thought that a digital pen was the biggest piece of shit shortcut fuckface limpdick lazyass tool in the universe and nothing good could ever come of using one. Sorry, Scott McCloud, I love you like an uncle but that's how it is.
And then I got my boss to buy me one for shits and giggles since we needed to spend money on computer hardware for our taxes. I figured I'd fuck around with it, see what I could do, maybe it'd speed my photoshop work up a bit.
Well, I really like it and it has a lot of potential as a drawing tool, surprise surprise. It's still really easy to make shitty drawings on. Because you can't "rotate the paper," drawing straight lines freehand is impossible. A lot of people recommend the Pen tool in photoshop but I can't get the hang of that thing. But it's really good for a lot of things.
Exhibit A. This is the first finished thing I drew with it. It's heavily photo-traced, obviously, but you can see a lot of interesting effects in it. The line width can be set to pressure sensitivity, giving a natural woble and variance to the brush tools. For coloring, you can set the opacity to pressure, giving you an easy watercolor effect. I used a ton of layers on this project - breakdowns, line art, flat color base, modeling, black shading, color shading, white highlighting, etc, which was tough to keep track of, but if you work from a traditional accretive model it gets pretty intuitive.
Exhibit B. Completely drawn digitally. Very satisfying. Did two panels a day. This kind of style is easy. Love the linework on the clouds. The pressure variation thing made this feel really natural.
This tutorial was on Brian Bolland's site until it disappeared. He draws everything with the Wacom, from breakdowns to finished inks. I still can't figure out how he freehand drawns naturalistic human figures, I just can't do it with this thing. I have to slowly work up from skeletal forms and even then it's hard. I think I'm probably just going to pencil normally and scan those if I ever draw a full comic digitally. I'm thinking about it.
You can get a Wacom Graphire 6x8 for like $150. If you do any kind of computer work on your comics, I highly recommend it. Just don't be lazy with it, like with any other tool, and it'll serve you well.