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Drawing Dilberts Daily Grind Gets Easier with Digital Tools

For many of us, reading Dilbert, the famed comic strip by Scott Adams, is one of the first things we do every morning after that first cup of coffee.  If you work in a white-collar office environment and spend most of your waking hours in a 6x6 foot cubicle, then Dilbert is more than just an ordinary comic.  It’s a living, breathing look into your world. 

Wacom recently had the opportunity to meet Mr. Adams at his office in Northern California to talk candidly about the drawing methods he employs to create Dilbert and how moving from an analog to digital workflow added years to his drawing career.

Adams started using a Wacom Cintiq display in 2005 after experiencing a hand condition that manifests as a painless loss of muscular control in highly practiced movements. Drawing using a pen and paper was almost impossible. After a bit of research and professional consultation, Adams decided to try a Cintiq. He now splits his time between two models, the expansive Cintiq 24HD when working at his desk, and the new Cintiq Companion when he wants to work on the go.

Since his very first day with the Cintiq, Adams has taken to drawing digitally like a duck takes to water.  Not only did he get his drawing chops back, but he discovered that working with the Cintiq has improved his process and his art.

“It elevates my art because I can carve things and model things until they’re just what I want,” he says. 

Adams cites that no longer having to worry about traditional media supplies such as pens, pencils and paper is quite liberating.  Working digitally also ends the time-consuming scanning process. “It feels like freedom,” says Adams. 

Now, a finished Dilbert strip can be sent to the publisher immediately after completion, directly from the Cintiq display.  As a comic artist, managing time and meeting deadlines is critical and the speed at which Adams can produce on the Cintiq is another big reason he embraces the digital workflow.   Additionally, Adams appreciates the way in which Adobe Photoshop, the program he uses to create Dilbert, integrates with the Cintiq and how the natural-feeling, pressure-sensitive pen combines with Photoshop to help elevate his art.

“It’s faster and easier and helps the creative process because it doesn’t get in the way,” says Adams.

When the Cintiq Companion came out, Adams was one of the first to acquire one.  As one who travels fairly often, he needs a full Windows 8 computer with all the benefits and features of a Cintiq so that he can create Dilbert while on the road and still have access to all of his business communication tools such as e-mail and presentation software.

“Now with the Cintiq Companion, I just stick it in my bag and I’m good to go. I don’t need anything else.”

Adams was so convinced that the new Cintiq Companion would speed up his workflow, he challenged Stefan Pastis, creator of the Pearls Before Swine comic strip to a draw off. Who wins? Watch the video below to find out.