Nibs: Getting to the Point

By Joe Sliger

For many, the first time you accidently open the pen stand (that shot glass looking thing that holds the pen) and see what looks like some sort of miniaturized torture chamber or old Celtic landmark, there is an initial “what the…” moment. It is simply a portal to another dimension and you probably should not play with it. No, really, what you have opened is a world of possibilities.

You have found something that can truly make the tablet experience more pleasurable.

As anyone who has taken the plunge into pen-dom will tell you, the pen just feels better once you get used to it. This is even more true when you realize that you can change the way the tip of the pen (a.k.a nib) feels on the tablet, making the experience even more personalized.

  • The Standard Nibs:
    The first two to discuss are the default nibs depending on the tablet you have, but suffice it to say that unless you have already gone changing your nibs, this is the experience we felt most people were after. As long as you are using the pen and nib that came with the tablet, this is the nib you are using.

  • The Felt Nib:
    The other nibs feel like plastic or rubber or springy… these just must be felt. Sorry, I had to. These truly feel like felt tip pens on the tablet, and all that comes with it. Many people love the felt nibs for this very reason, to me they do the same thing to my nervous system that real felt pens do, which should speak to the validity of the name. I usually ends with me in a fetal position on the floor, quivering like someone tazed. Not much of a sales pitch for me, but you like felt pens… they do have great “tooth” and a very authentic feel.

  • The Stroke Nib:
    Hands down my favorite nib for working on the Cintiq line. These deliver a more brush like feel, with a real spring in the nib itself, the Stroke nib helps keep it from feeling like I am gouging the tablet or display. I don’t know how else to put it, but these have the most “inviting” feel.

  • The Flex Nib:
    Ok, as is my nature, I saved my favorite for last. The flex nib has a rubber center that delivers a great tooth (friction) on the tablet and simultaneously reducing, what feels like the chances of scratching or wear on either the nib or the tablet. This is admittedly a personal bias, but try it or I won’t write any more suggestions or tips… pardon the pun.

Do not fear changing the nibs. They do not change the behavior of the tablet, just the way it feels.

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