My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer #360: Wacom Tablet Review for Drawing Patterns

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 1175 days ago 2870 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 359: Patience Part 360 of My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer series Part 361: Sometimes the Best Challenges are From Within Yourself »

I have a good story about a company with GOOD customer service that I would like to share today. With all the bad things we hear, I think that it would be nice to talk about something good for a change. I suppose this will be a kind of product review, but I am not sure if it belongs in the review section or not because some may not see it directly relating to woodworking. but I know that I have seen many posts on “Sketchup” here so it tells me that there are lots of people that do some drawing and design and may be interested in this product and company.

The company I am referring to is Wacom Technologies and the product in particular that I am referring to is the Intuous4 tablet mouse. I have been a fan of Wacom since 1998, a year or so after I got my first computer. I had purchased what was then called a Pen Partner, which is a computer mouse that is actually a pen. It has a pressure sensitive tip on the pen and you tap and draw on the pad provided to preform the functions that you would normally do with a mouse. Here is a picture of the version I had:

It had cost me somewhere around $80 US back then, which was a bit pricy for a mouse, but not really that far out of line for a good one. With me doing so much drawing on my computer, I found it much easier to use this pen device to draw than a regular mouse. With the pen you use fine motor control of your hand and fingers and with a traditional “brick mouse” you tend to use the gross motor control of your entire arm. You can probably understand why I preferred the pen.

Back in the day when I began using Wacom products, computers were not cross-platform-friendly as they are today. If you had a Mac, it was nearly impossible to use devices that were meant for PC’s and vice versa. USB was not common yet and in its infancy in development and things like printers, scanners and cameras were “either/or” meaning they were made to work on one platform OR another – not both.

I was just beginning to design for the magazine and I had purchased a Mac G3 computer so that my patterns that I sent to them would be made on (their preferred) Mac format. Previously, they had converted some patterns of mine from PC to Mac for printing and the files were changed – which I didn’t find out until I saw them in print. This was troubling and I felt it would be best to give them files that were in the platform that they needed rather than risk error again.

When I purchased my G3 – I naturally wanted to be able to draw on it and I also purchased a pen partner for it. Unfortunately, it was difficult for me to find Mac components and I had mistakenly bought the Pen Partner for the PC platform. When it wouldn’t work on the Mac, I called the customer service number and was told that I needed to get a Mac compatible Pen Partner. The representative told me that they would send one out to me, and when I received it, there would be a shipping label so that I could send back the PC one directly to them.

I was shocked. This was a risk on their company to send me the new item without me sending the one I couldn’t use back first. I was happy that they made things so easy though and things went according to schedule and all ended up well. That was over ten years ago.

Since then, I have always used a Wacom tablet for my mouse. Even though it came with the pen, it also had a cordless mouse that you could use on the pad too. That way if I was doing something where I didn’t want or need the pen, I could just pick up the traditional mouse and be fine. I kept that original Pen partner until about three years ago when I got an Intous3 tablet for a gift. It was a nice upgrade, as it is USB and has several additional features in a small touch pad on the side of it:

It is a fine product and I am very happy with it and use it everyday without incident.

The year before last, I decided to get my partner one for Christmas. He had tried mine and liked it and since he was designing and drawing more and more, I thought it would be a good gift for him. They no longer carried the Intous3, but were now on the Intuos4 version, which had many more features.

Although he liked it, he is not as fond of the pen as I am. It does take some getting used to, and for myself, I can’t live without it. He tends to go more to the mouse still, as his also came with the cordless mouse option. It is just a personal preference, I think.

A couple of weeks ago however, his mouse started ‘acting up’. He would be drawing and it would double click when he wanted it to click and do other crazy stuff like that. He was beginning to be very frustrated, as it happened more and more. I was sad too, because it wasn’t a cheap gift and it was only a year and a half old. He looked up online and it seemed that there were some problems with it doing the same thing that were reported.

We looked at getting a new mouse, but the cost for it was $70. There was a place in Ontario that would fix the problem for $15, but by the time we paid both shipping costs (there and back) we may as well get a new one.

I then had a thought. I called Wacom.

Keith kind of chuckled at me while I was dialing customer service, saying that they are going to sell me a new one. I just wanted to see what would happen. I waited until their office opened and called the customer service number that I saw online. I got through right away. I spoke with the rep and she asked my name and location and found me in the system from my own Intuous3 product (I had forgotten to register the Intuos4). I explained the problem and she said that she would send a new mouse out immediately after I emailed her a copy of the receipt and I would have 30 days to return the defective mouse. That was Tuesday.

Yesterday (Friday) there was a knock on my door and the Purolator courier handed me a box with the new mouse in it. We took it out and all was well. These mice and pens don’t have any batteries, so they are good to go.

I am thoroughly impressed with both Wacom’s products and their customer service. In this day of everyone cutting corners, it is nice to know that there are still companies that care about their customers and stand behind what they sell. They are not cheap, but I don’t mind a bit spending a bit more when I company is willing to stand behind their items and take care of their customers.

In comparison, I also tried a Microsoft folding mouse, which retails for about $60 :

It was a piece of crap. It worked for about a month and then just never responded correctly. In order to get it repaired, I would have had to mail it back with all the receipts, etc. (it was a gift) and I didn’t have them. It would have cost me more than purchasing a new one by the time I was finished. I have had trouble with other higher end Microsoft products and I am not a big fan.

I realize that the pen mice are not for everyone, but Wacom has lots of products and I would imagine that they stand by them all similarly. Just a thought for you if you are ever in the market.

As for today, I am continuing to paint my skating set to be sent to the catalog company. I test cut a set yesterday and timed myself and came up with a good and reasonable cost for the entire thing, including materials and time so that if I need to hire anyone else to do the cutting and production, I will still be doing OK and not undercut myself. Hopefully I will finish painting and rewriting the instructions by Monday so I can get them off in the mail. It will be wonderful to have it behind me.

I hope you all have a good day today too. I also hope that the information on the Wacom products was helpful for those of you who draw your own patterns, or are just looking for a good and reliable company for this type of product. I thought that it was news worth sharing.

Have a great day!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

8 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 1742 days

#1 posted 1175 days ago

thankĀ“s for sharing , great to hear about good costummerservice
and you are right paying a little more can to start with can often be the best deal
for both in the end … the rewiew you just made on there costummerservice …. is priceless for them :-)
and you are more than a satisefied custommer you are an ambassadeur for them and they know it
from the director to the floor that is only takes one angry costummer to loose severel month of profit
just sad so many cut corners now a days

take care

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7565 posts in 1546 days

#2 posted 1175 days ago

Good Morning, Dennis! I was just really, really happy with how easily this whole process went. I wonder why more situations can’t be this positive and easy. No long wait time on the phone. No jumping through hoops or standing on your head. Just good service. Kudos to Wacom Technologies! They deserve it!

I hope you have a great weekend too!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View CoolDavion's profile


384 posts in 2451 days

#3 posted 1175 days ago

Always nice to hear a good story. These days most people are likely to only tell the bad ones.

-- Do or do not, there is no try!

View swamps42's profile


42 posts in 1194 days

#4 posted 1173 days ago

Thanks for sharing. It is nice to hear a good story about customer service. I for one LOVE my Intuos4. I use it for designing woodworking projects and knitting projects. I love it and it’s good to know if I had a problem, they’d back it up.

-- -Kim, Peyton, CO

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7565 posts in 1546 days

#5 posted 1173 days ago

Yes, it is good to be able to tell about a GREAT company and product! :) I would recommend them to anyone in a heartbeat!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View lightweightladylefty's profile


2633 posts in 2339 days

#6 posted 1167 days ago


Thanks for the information on Wacom. For about 15 years I used Summasketch with a digitizing tablet, four-button cursor and pen stylus. I really liked the control but when it malfunctioned more than 10 years ago, I just replaced it with a mouse. (It took me a long time to learn to cope with the mouse.) I’ll keep Wacom in mind when I upgrade again.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7565 posts in 1546 days

#7 posted 769 days ago

Keith has the Intous4 tablet and he doesn’t like it. He says there are too many controls and he has never really gotten used to the pen. I have used a pen for a while and I love mine. I hate using a regular mouse at all. Although they make many sizes, I prefer the 4×6 setup myself. It is much easier than swinging your arm across a larger tablet. I think the Intous5 has wireless capabilities, which would be a consideration if I upgrade some day. With Coco (my cat) chewing through the wire once already, I may have to upgrade sooner than later. On Keith’s Intous4 the connecting USB wire unplugs from the tablet and you could replace just that. Of course – on mine it doesn’t. It is connected inside. :(

Let me know how you do. I think they are great products and even the Bamboo tablets look nice.

Have a good one – Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View lightweightladylefty's profile


2633 posts in 2339 days

#8 posted 768 days ago


Thanks for updating your information. It will be helpful if I ever decide to go that route again.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

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