Setting Up the Wacom Art Pen for Painting in Photoshop CC

The Wacom Art pen is a must-have for your painting journey.  The barrel rotation is critical to positioning the "bristles" of your brushes correctly when painting things such as hair. It will quite literally make or break your success as a digital artist!  

If you don't know the difference between the Wacom Art Pen and the grip pen that ships standard with the Wacom tablet, this blog post will explain...

https://www.elevateyourart.com/blog/art-pen-vs-grip-pen

**NOTE** The Wacom Art Pen will only work with the Wacom Intuos 4, Wacom Intuos 5, and Wacom Intuos Pro tablets.

Setting up the Wacom Art Pen...

The first step to setting up your Wacom Art Pen is to simply touch the pen to your tablet.  Your computer should instantly recognize the pen and it should function as a Wacom pen is expected to, but a bit of additional set up for painting is in order.

Open the Wacom Desktop Center.  If you've read my blog post on setting up your Wacom tablet, you know that this is the software that keeps your drivers up to date and helps you set up your Wacom tablet.  When you open the program, it looks like this...

Click on the "Pen Settings" option (alternatively, if you're computer savvy, you can go directly to your system preferences)...

This will open your system preferences panel (on a Mac - PC will be similar), which looks like this. Please notice that both the Wacom Art Pen and the Wacom Grip Pen are listed in the Tool area of this panel. 

Make certain the Art Pen is selected before moving on.  It will have the dark grey background and the text will be highlighted similarly to this screenshot...

Set your tip feel to soft...

Set your tilt sensitivity to high...

I use the double click feature with my pens because I use them for EVERYTHING (even surfing Facebook and checking email!).  So I set my double click distance in the middle...

Now we need to set up the toggle section of the pen. 

I keep a right click in the upper part of the toggle.  This lets me access the brush menus, etc. more quickly than using the keyboard.  Just use the drop-down menus for the upper part of the toggle, and select right click...

For the bottom part of the toggle, I use a space bar.  This allows me to drag my image around as I paint simply by pressing the bottom toggle. This speeds my production time considerably. Open the lower toggle drop-down menu and select keystroke...

The keystroke menu will open a customization box.  You'll need to make sure your cursor is in the box indicated by the red arrow (it should be there automatically, but just in case)...

Press the spacebar on your keyboard.  This keystroke will be recorded in the box like this...

Click "OK" to save the custom keystroke...

The final step is to customize the pen pressure to your hand.  Click the customize button to open the pressure dialogue box...

In the box on the right side, using the art pen, write the initial of your first name 3-5 times.  Wait for the initial to disappear before repeating. Write as you normally would, with normal pressure.  Don't think about this step too much or you'll have the pressure set oddly.  Just write as normal...

When you've completed this step click ok.

And with that last click of the ok button, your Wacom Art Pen is fully set up and optimized for Painting in Photoshop CC!

Now that you have your Wacom Art Pen all set up, you'll probably want to make certain it's working properly.  You can do that here:

https://www.elevateyourart.com/test-your-wacom-art-pen

If you haven't set up your Wacom tablet, you might want to check out this blog post.  It will walk you through setting up your Wacom Intuos Pro for Painting in Photoshop:

https://www.elevateyourart.com/blog/up-your-wacom-tablet-for-painting

Happy painting!

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