When it comes to tools that help out and enhance already spectacular talents, we like to spoil our crew. Last year, we invested in a tool that our Art Director, Mike Petrik, calls “The greatest tool ever implemented into my workflow.”

Petrik is a phenomenal illustrator, animator and motion graphics artist. Like many others of his industry, he’s been using a Wacom Intuos for several years. Wacom has won over the industry with drawing tablets and pens to make digital drawing feel more like natural drawing. “Drawing on a computer should feel as tangible as possible,” says Petrik, “similar to using a pen on paper.” But, for the most part, it is not like that at all. Wacom’s pens and tablets have helped a little. After all, anything is better than a mouse. To Petrik, the computer mouse is an arch nemisis. He considers them the worst computer tool ever invented and compares working with a mouse, or worse yet, trying to DRAW with a mouse to “trying to eat a fork full of peas with one of those old person reacher/grabber things.” It’s unnatural and awkward. The Wacom Intuos helped bridge the gap a little bit.

With the Wacom Intuos you are using a pen on a tablet, but, the problem is that the pen remains on the desk and your cursor is moving separately on the monitor. So, you are still disconnected from your art. Also, it takes some getting used to [it takes this particular writer at least 45 minutes to sign her name on one.] However, Petrik says that if the Wacom was his only option, it’d be okay. Not great, but at least okay. For reference, if a mouse were his only option it’d not be okay and he’d probably have given up on digital art completely and curled up in a cave for the rest of his life, cursing the world around him.

“Fine” is not fine with SolidLine. So we hooked Petrik up with a Cintiq. The Cintiq, also by Wacom, “combines the advantages of an LCD monitor with the natural feel and superior performance of Wacom’s patented pen technology.”

Not surprisingly, Petrik is elated. Working on a Cintiq is, in his mind, one of the best inventions of the modern age, “next to electricity and throwback Pepsi,” according to Petrik. So he eagerly picked out his new toy…I mean tool…and waited for his new best friend to arrive.

It was like Christmas morning. Petrik even photographed the unboxing and posted his reactions to twitter. Months later, he can’t remember how he lived without it.

Mike Petrik looks longingly at his Wacom Cintiq 24HD, a key part of his design workflow at SolidLine Media.

Mike Petrik looks longingly at his Wacom Cintiq 24HD, a key part of his design workflow at SolidLine Media.

“My work has not only improved because of it’s implementation,” says Petrik, “but my output of work has also gone up.” While we already thought of Petrik as a pro, practice truly makes perfect. The faster he works, the more work gets done, the more practice he gets and the more his work improves as a whole. And, SolidLine has done more and more explainer style brand videos in the last year. These videos demand a lot of storyboards and character designs from Petrik. It’s a lot of drawing, and it’s a lot easier, more efficient and higher quality with the Cintiq helping out. The improved workflow and efficiency was enough to convince SolidLine to invest in a second Cintiq, which was quickly implemented into the SLM Art Department. in the #2 art position.

If you were looking for a big smile and as many thumbs up as possible about the Cintiq, you’ll get all of that and more from Petrik who recommends the Cintiq to anyone who draws, illustrates, storyboards, animates, paints or even doodles on a regular basis. “You won’t go back to your plain old Intuos,” he says.

Put the right tools in talented hands and anything is possible. We love the Cintiq as much as Petrik does…even if he never lets us play with it.