Cintiq Companion 2 Drawing Tablet Review

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[Editor’s Note – In the following guest post, illustrator Thomas Pitilli gives us a behind the scenes look at how he incorporates the Cintiq Companion 2 drawing tablet into his traditional picture making process.]

As an illustrator, I’m always looking to improve my craft. On a technical level, that may mean challenging myself to create more interesting compositions or fine tuning my anatomy. On a personal level, it might mean clearing my mind so that I could tap into a deeper, honest voice and allow myself to create more satisfying content. There are several ways one can go about improving their craft and becoming better, but one of the more tangible things that I have found helps me is streamlining my process. For me, creativity and productivity comes out of a system that has proven itself to garner successful pieces. This system is different for everyone and often time comes out of trial and error.

I remember back in art school when I made the transition from inking with only microns to discovering the gratification that comes out of inking with a brush. Before I knew it, inking with a brush became second nature and opened up a new world of possibilities for me. A little later on I made the switch from coloring my pieces in Photoshop with a mouse, to using a Wacom tablet. This took some getting used to, but now I can’t even fathom how I once colored entire pieces with a mouse!


I recently made a new addition to my process and I wanted to share it with you. I have been using the Cintiq Companion 2 for a couple months now and it has proven itself to be a useful tool for me and my illustration work. Let me start off first by saying I have no interest in becoming a completely digital artist. I have great respect and admiration for the many truly amazing digital artists out there who’s work I am constantly in awe of. For me though, I love getting ink on my hands. There’s a certain kind of satisfaction that comes with laying down a fresh coat of ink on a blank space of paper. I love moving around the paper, hovering over it as I ink. I know I’m not alone in this. I know there are many other artists that feel a similar way. I wanted to write this post for you. I wanted to show you how this piece of equipment has enhanced my process while still getting my hands a little dirty.

I’d like to use this post to take you step by step on my creation of a recent Peter Pan illustration of mine using the Cintiq Companion 2 as a part of my process:


As always, it starts with a sketch. This time around, it was a rough that I worked on in my sketchbook and brought into the Cintiq to elaborate on. Using the pencil, charcoal, and brush pen features from Kyle’s Ultimate Megapack, I was able to work through the anatomy and backgrounds using multiple layers to keep it organized and clean. The Cintiq has a nice organic, intuitive feel to it. I have been sketching and coloring using the Wacom for years, but this took it to a whole other level of touch sensitivity and control.


Because of all the detail I’m able to achieve with it, the piece quickly moved from sketch phase to ‘pencils’ before I knew it. In the past this part of the process could sometimes be a messy one for me. Depending on how loose the sketch is, I could easily go through several sheets of paper, light boxing until I get the pencils right. This can sometimes be a frustrating step and often takes longer than I feel it should. This is where the Cintiq really came in handy. Working in layers while creating my pencils really helped me keep the piece clean and get it to a level where I was comfortable inking straight away.


The Cintiq has a nice organic, intuitive feel to it. I have been sketching and coloring using the Wacom for years, but this took it to a whole other level of touch sensitivity and control.

I printed it out on tracing paper, threw it on the light box and started inking on a fresh sheet of bristol. With the exception of a couple detail areas such as the face, I just went straight over it with ink. This kept my page really clean and helped me put all my energy completely into inking, my favorite part of the process.


For some, this could have easily been done in the Cintiq as well and although this piece of equipment is fully capable of inking with great detail and finesse, I need those ink smudges on my hands.


From here, I scanned the black and white drawing into Photoshop and started coloring it on the Cintiq. I’ve been coloring with the Wacom for years, but being able to really hunch over the piece and work on it so closely really made it a much more enjoyable experience for me. Also, I’ve noticed my eyes don’t feel as strained looking at the Cintiq for long periods of time.

One of the other really useful things I found the Cintiq Companion 2 to be very helpful with is something all of us illustrators can sympathize with: revisions. At a certain point I started to hit a wall on this particular piece. Since it was a personal image with no client attached, I had only myself to bounce it off of. Creatively speaking, this can be a difficult place to be sometimes. Luckily I was able to share it with some fellow illustrator buddies of mine and get a few fresh sets of eyes on it. They gave me some helpful feedback which I took into account and applied the best way I could. Some of the changes I made required adding elements to the foundation of the drawing. With the Cintiq I was able to make these changes without having to go back to the original drawing in any way, while still maintaining the integrity of the piece and strengthening it at the same time. This was huge for me. Those (sometimes) annoying revisions that clients make us do might now become a little less annoying.

And here is the final image:


For my first illustration using the Cintiq as a part of my process, I’m definitely happy with the way this came out. I’m excited to incorporate this into future illustrations and see how my process evolves because of it. I’m also excited to utilize the portability aspect of it, taking it on location while I work on a sketch, or even taking it with me to meet with a client. There’s still so many possibilities that I’m looking to explore with this. I hoped this post helped some of you out there who have been considering how the Cintiq might enhance your process. Whether strictly digital, or half and half like myself, I see this addition being an overall valuable tool in the world of creating illustrations.

Oh! Also, if you’re interested in checking out the print of this image, be sure to go here.

Thanks for reading and happy picture making!

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5 Comments on “Cintiq Companion 2 Drawing Tablet Review”

  1. Chuck McCandless
    July 23, 2015 at 9:59 pm #

    Thanks. Your tutorial is streamlined also. I picked up a lot here.

  2. July 26, 2015 at 5:34 am #

    This is really cool. I don’t use a tablet or the Cintiq for making my illustrations. I am still in the initial stages of sketching. Could you share some tips with me on how I can make quick, unique sketches of my own? How did you go about doing it? Apart from practice that is. Thank you. I really liked this piece.

    • July 27, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

      The only way is actually practice, I’m afraid. I tried looking for answers too, and came to the difficult realisation that the only way you can develop your own unique style is practice, study other, better artists, and then practice some more. We’ll get there one day!

  3. August 11, 2015 at 11:49 am #

    I use an older, bigger cintiq – Love it but its not portable AT ALL. I have seriously considered getting the companion to allow for more flexibility when I need it. The illustration is good too, thanks for sharing.

  4. August 12, 2015 at 9:47 pm #

    These are meant to be used when we are getting bored
    or to pass our long car journey, but the children does not under stand
    this, they kept on playing it for a long period of time ignore their studies which effects
    their annual result. Level Design- For some reason, I really like these levels and how they are setup.
    Though there are options of buying such games online, yet the websites
    do allow the players to play these games and enjoy
    it for free for up to one hour.


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