Graphic designers often underestimate the power of a drawing tablet. In order to make their ideas concrete, most designers begin by roughly sketching their concept. While doing this the old fashioned way works, digital drawing will help you speed up the process and workflow.
How To Choose A Drawing Tablet
Before you buy a drawing tablet you’ll want to know what features to look out for.
Screen or No Screen?
The first thing you will notice when buying a drawing tablet is that there are two general types.; tablets with screens and tablets without screens. Now, one isn’t necessarily better than the other, ultimately this comes down to personal preference.
The one common feedback from artists that draw on tablets without screens, is that the learning curve is longer. Drawing on the tablet while looking at your screen will take some getting use too.
The active area of the tablet is simply the working area. In other words, this is where you will draw and design with your pen. Before buying a tablet check the size of the working area. You wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a design and running out of room to draw.
Graphic tablets range from 7-inches to 24+ inches. Before purchasing you will need to consider the size. Will your tablet be traveling with you or will it be sitting in your office?
Hotkeys are very important to have on a drawing tablet. Hotkeys are your short cut buttons. Having an ample amount of hotkeys will help you speed up your workflow and increase efficiency. Many tablets will have customizable hotkeys that allow you to program your favorite shortcuts.
Now that you know what to look for, here are my recommendations:
Wacom Intuos – Best Portable Drawing Tablet
If you are an artist or designer looking for a portable, lightweight drawing tablet look no further. Measuring in at 7.9″x 6.3″ the Wacom Intuos Graphics Drawing Tablet is the perfect drawing tablet for the artist on the go.
The Wacom Intuos has the ability to connect to your device via Bluetooth. The Bluetooth connectivity adds to the portability of this device. Additionally, this tablet also comes with a battery-free pen.
With a super accurate pen – 4096 Levels of pressure sensitivity – and a writing surface that feels more like writing on paper, quality is not compromised with this device.
Another nice feature is the availability of 4 customizable shortcut keys. Program your favorite tools and speed up your workflow.
Yes, this device may be small, but it is a great tool to have if you’re looking for a portable drawing tablet.
- Graphics tablet for digital art, photo editing and animation 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity
- Connect your computer via USB cable to your Mac or PC
- Slim design and compact sized art tablet with a large drawing area (6.0 inches x 3.7 inches) Perfect for limited desktop
- Easy setup, for both left and right-handed use; The pen doesn’t need to be charged; 4 customizable Express Keys
- Bonus: now every INTUOS comes with 3 Software titles upon registration: Corel Painter Essentials 6 (graphic drawing), Corel after shot 3 (photo editing), and clip Studio paint Pro 2 year license (comic manga) must Register to receive all 3 titles; Offer only available for customers located in the Americas
Huion 1060Plus – Best Budget Drawing Tablet
If you are looking for an entry-level tablet, look no further. The Huion 1060Plus is a great budget tablet to try out before investing in a high-end graphics tablet. Truth be told, most artists won’t know if a graphics tablet is right for them until they try one out.
The Huion 1060Plus is the perfect entry-level tablet that offers a ton of features and won’t break the bank.
The 1060Plus gives you a 10-by-6.25 inch drawing area, 12 physical express-keys and 16 soft keys (all customizable), a pen holder, and a battery-free pen with 8192 levels of pen pressure sensitivity.
Compatible with all the major design programs across a wide range of platforms such as; Windows 7 or later, Mac OS 10.11 or later versions, OS Android 6.0, this device does not lack compatibility.
If you are on a budget, this is definitely the tablet for you.
- 8192 Levels of Pen Pressure Sensitivity
- 12 Express Keys and 16 Soft Keys – The 12 physical express-keys on the left and 16 soft keys on the top of the drawing surface are all customizable
- The difference with the original 1060PLUS digital tablet in Appearance – Full-Area Surface Cover, Pen Carrier, and Thinner Border, which makes the drawing surface bigger. Quieter Express Keys, Better Linearity in art programs, Better pen pressure sensitivity. The 8GB MicroSD Card is built in the product, NOT separately packed.
- Huion art tablet is compatible with Windows 7 or later, Mac OS 10.11 or later and can work for the mainstream digital art software including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Painter, Manga Studio, Clip Studio, Zbrush, Krita, Gimp and more
Huion KAMVAS Pro 16 – Best Budget Display Drawing Tablet
Sticking to budget tablets, the Huion KAMVAS Pro 16 is a great entry-level display drawing tablet.
This tablet has a very impressive 15.6-inch screen, yet still feels small thanks to minimal bezels around the screen. Its display is extremely vibrant and pleasant to draw on and its anti-glare texture offers nice drawing resistance.
On the side of the tablet, you will find 6 programmable buttons and 1 touch bar. These shortcut buttons do a great job of helping speed up the workflow.
If you’re looking for a good, jack of all trades, entry-level display tablet I’d definitely recommend checking out the Huion KAMVAS Pro 16.
- KAMVAS Pro 16 drawing monitor adopts the newest full lamination crafts and anti-glare glass. Compared with a traditional screen, a full laminated screen will make the cursor on the screen keep close and moves simultaneously to the nib without any parallax, making your drawing much more accurate and smooth. It also helps improve optical quality and provides a better visual effect. The anti-glare glass minimizes the harsh glare to offer a fairly clear picture under bright light.
- 120% sRGB Wide Gamut: (No stand included) KAMVAS Pro 16 pen display is paired with 120% sRGB wide gamut with 16.7 million colors, presenting better color effects to make the image much more vivid and vibrant. Moreover, The 178°wide viewing angle ensures the same presentation viewed from different angles without any distortion.
- Latest Battery-free PW507 Stylus: PW507 processes the characteristic of 8192 pressure sensitivity and latest ±60° tilt function, which could ensure the accuracy as well as sleek and natural transition between each line. Industry-leading 266PPS report rate offers you smooth drawing without any delay.
- 6 Press Keys & 1 Touch Bar: To satisfy your needs on creative space, KAMVAS Pro 16 drawing tablet comes with 6 express keys to be customized and 1 touch bar to be programmed for canvas zooming, brush adjusting and page scrolling.
- Durable Construction: 11mm thickness, 1.2kg in weight and aluminum alloy structure make the drawing monitor durable, stylish and easy to carry out. Hidden Type-C interface and 3-in-1 cable eliminates wire bundles and bring you a clean desktop. It is compatible with Windows 7 or later, Mac OS 10.12 or later and works with most of the mainstream drawing software.
Wacom Cintiq Pro 24 Creative Pen Display – Best Drawing Tablet
Now, this is the device built for professional designers simply looking for the best of the best.
The first thing you will notice about the Cintiq Pro 24 is its stunning screen. The display on this device is absolutely gorgeous. This tablet as a 23.6-inch display with 4K max resolution.
On the left, you will find Wacoms multi-touch gesture controls. This includes an on-screen keypad and a radial menu. The pro pen 2, which comes with this device, is one of the best drawing pens available with drawing tablets. This pen is known for its high accuracy and incredible sensitivity.
If you are looking to express your creativity with the latest technology the Wacom Cintiq Pro 24 will the trick.
- 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, eraser, and virtually lag-free tracking
- 4K resolution is packed into a 24″ LCD display
- The Express Key Remote puts 17 programmable buttons within easy reach; The on-screen keypad and the radial menus offer further one-touch shortcuts
- The etched glass screen reduces glare and reflections while providing a distinct, tactile experience as you draw, mimicking the feel of a pen on paper
- Connect to your Mac or PC with the included USB C cable or Wacom Link and cables to connect via Mini DisplayPort or standard USB
Apple iPad Pro
The Apple iPad Pro is a great option for artists looking for versatility. The iPad Pro is both portable and powerful. This device will handle any tasks you throw at it.
The iPad Pro’s 12.9-inch screen is a respectable size for your artboards, and with its liquid retina display, you won’t be missing out on quality either. This tablet is also powerful; with its A12X Bionic chip eight-core processor and four high-performance cores.
The best part about the iPad Pro is its versatility. Not only are there plenty of professional design apps available such as; Procreate, Photoshop, Affinity Designer, and many more, but you also have an entire app store filled with over 2 million additional apps.
One thing to be aware of, the iPad doesn’t come with a stylist. Therefore, in order to get the best experience, you will also need to invest in a 2nd Gen Apple Pencil.
- 12. 9-Inch edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display with Promotion, True Tone, and wide Color
- A12X Bionic chip with Neural Engine
- Face ID for secure authentication and Apple Pay
- 12MP back camera, 7MP True Depth front camera
- Four speaker audio with wider stereo sound
- 802. 11AC Wi-Fi
- Up to 10 hours of battery life
Choose The Best Tablet For Your Needs
Not everyone will need the best money can buy, but having a tablet that suits your needs is essential. A drawing tablet will help you speed up your workflow and help you produce better designs. Before you head out and buy your drawing tablet make sure you know what features are important to you.