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How much Wacom nibs lasts? And how to make your graphics tablet nibs last longer


So You Got A Wacom Tablet (Or Another Brand), And You Wonder How Much Your Nibs Will Last?

So, you have been using your Wacom tablet for a while now, or you’re a seasoned graphics tablet user that got a new tablet with a more rough surface than your previous one. And you wonder how much your pen nibs will last, and how much it will cost you, and whether you need a budget for that. That’s what I am trying to answer in this post. And whether this is a good thing.

As a general rule. The amount of time your nibs last depends on how rough the surface of your tablet is, and how much you press the pen on it (you shouldn’t press too much on it). The type of nib you use can help you a lot too.

The good news are, if your nibs wear down fast because the tablet surface is rough. The nibs will last more the more you use your tablet, since the coating that causes the surface to be rough will wear down with use.

Quick Tips On How To Make Your Nibs Last Longer

  • Add a protective coat on the top of your tablet surface, and causes less friction for the nibs.
  • As I keep saying, using your tablet for a while will cause the rough coat to wear off eventually.
  • Rotate the pencil once the nib gets pointy, this will cause less friction between it & the tablet surface.
  • Try different nibs types. Wacom tables comes with different types of nibs usually inside the pen holder(depends on your tablet model).
  • Use other brands than Wacom. Some of the non-Wacom pen displays, like the Yiynova, comes with a glass surface that’s slippery (The same can be said for the iPad pro).

What Makes The Pen Nibs Wear Off?

Depends on the surface of your graphics tablet, how much you press the pen on your tablet, some artists press very lightly on their tablets, and so their nibs will las t longer.

If the reason for the wear off is that the surface is rough… The coating that make the surface that way wears down after some time. This is happened to the large Intuos Pro I have. It had a rough surface that made it a bit hard for me to use it for some time, and I had to change the nib relatively soon after I started using it. Now the rough surface on my tablet wore off. Each nib lasts for few months now. By trying to appeal to the customers who want such a surface, Wacom pissed off the customers who totally don’t want that. But since they didn’t provide a lasting solution for those who want to draw on such a surface. Wacom ended up satisfying no one. Fortunately, the Intuos Pro 2017 features a surface you could change. Which I will talk about in a bit.

A Small Trick That Could Help

Rotating the pencil will cause less friction if the nib is pointy. It will cause each nib to last longer without risking scratching the surface of your graphics tablet. This can makes it a bit harder to use the buttons on the pen at times, but it’s a valid solution I tried many times. The nib will even out with time too, allowing you to hold the pen the way you originally used to.

Is Rough Graphics Tablet Surface A Good Thing?

The answer to this question depends on the artist. Many artists like slipper surface more. I once read a tweet from an artist who didn’t like the Intuos 4, and they were quite glad they found an Intuos 3 for sale instead, and they bought it right away (or so it seemed).

While you may like or dislike the rough surface, it’s really good for drawing, I find it much easier to create all sorts of lines with it, especially on the regular graphics tablets, where you look at the screen without knowing where your hand is. It may mess up with your workflow if you are used to draw with fast flicks with your wrist or your arm. Another issue with it is that the friction is not so fun to have once you get to paint your drawing. The best way to know whether rough or slipper surface is good for you is to try both.

People’s Complained About Nibs Wearing Down Quickly

Because of the more rough surface Wacom has been applying on their tablets. There has been a rage about having to replace nibs. Which is justified. Since for the seasoned artist, this is an unnecessary cost they have to pay in addition to what they did to get the tablet. Also, may budding artists had to save money to get their tablets, and so it can be a bit too much for them to have to buy nibs regularly.

In their support forums, Wacom representative said that Wacom is not trying to profit off artists by making nibs wear down faster, or something along these lines. I don’t think they are, but they should have just gave us the option to choose the surface we draw on, something they did eventually.

The Intuos Pro 2017 Gives You Options


With the latest Intuos Pro models. You get to choose between 3 kinds of texture sheets to place on the top of your tablet to suit what you want. The surfaces are standard, smooth or rough. The smooth surface is a welcome addition for those who wanted a slippery-like surface & don’t want their nibs to wear down. Those who want a rough surface on a permanent basis can have that. The good thing is, you could switch the surface based on what you’re working on. For example, you could have the rough surface on while you’re drawing, while use the smooth one while you’re painting.

By the time of me writing this post, there’s no other graphics tablet that offer surface option like that (not one I know of, at least). But I expect the other tablet manufacturer to follow suit with this move.

You can read my review for the Intuos Pro 2017 by clicking here~

Even If You Tablet Got Scratched, It Won’t Stop Working

In case it happened you had a scratch in your tablet, don’t worry. Wacom tablets tend to withstand a lot of use. So even with a scratch or two, it won’t stop working. That’s not to say you can scratch your tablet to your heart content, since a deep scratch at the middle can mess up with your workflow, but just don’t worry too much about it.

And Finally

I hope my post answered your question about how graphics tablets nibs last. If you have any more question, feel free to contact me, and I will try my best to answer them.

See Also:-

I am an anime artist, and huge fan of digital art. I love drawing with pencils too. But I rarely do that anymore nowadays. Since some aspects of digital art can be tricky, I try my best to explain the concepts as easily as possible.


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