Are you ready to discover my top 10 Drawing Tablets? If you are serious about drawing and learning how to draw using digital techniques you need a graphic tablet . Yes, you could use your mouse or trackball but, come on, really?
Using a graphic tablet is the smoothest experience you can have drawing in front of your computer monitor allowing you to be accurate and retain your creativity and touch. With some of the least expensive tablets nowadays costing as much as a couple of nice sketchbooks and lasting a very long time, cost is often not a good enough excuse not to get one.
But, there are so many different tablets on the market, each with its own characteristics and features, which one to choose? That’s where my top 10 drawing tablets list will come to your aid.
I have always used Wacom tablets, they have been setting the standard for the market for the last twenty years. They are sturdy (I still own and use a Graphire 4 bought more than ten years ago), the response is quick and smooth and they brim with features and perks to satisfy even the most hardcore amongst professional artist.
So you could say I am biased, my top ten drawing tablets list is going to be filled with Wacom products but just because I think they are awesome and work well.
So, here we go! My top 10 Drawing Tablets are…
1. Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch Small Tablet – If you are just starting out your first tablet doesn’t need to be expensive at all, trust me. All you need is a simple, nicely dimensioned tablet with a sturdy and anatomic pen. This tablet is great as it has a paper feel to it, has multi-touch and is of decent enough size. Plus, you can get it refurbished from amazon at almost half the RRP and it comes bundled with FREE drawing software to get you started right up.
2. Wacom Intuos Draw digital drawing and graphics tablet – This is the latest Wacom entry level model, thought for enthusiast and beginners. It doesn’t cost too much, it has a generous drawing area (particularly if you pick the medium size tablet) and a paper feel to it plus four customizable, easy to reach buttons which are very useful while you are drawing so that you do not have to constantly reach for the keyboard. It comes packed with tutorials and free drawing software. It’s a great entry point if you are new to the whole tablet thing.
Bare in mind that Wacom has created 4 different bundles including the same tablet but different software to cater to different crowds. There is the Intuos Comic Creative Pen & Touch Tablet with Clip Studio Paint Pro and Anime Studio Debut, Intuos Art Creative and Touch Pen Tablet coupled with Corel Painter Essentials and online tutorials, Intuos Photo Creative Pen & Touch Tablet with Intuos Photo , Intuos Draw Creative Pen Tablet with the Draw Pack including ArtRage Lite and online tutorials.
3. Wacom Intuos Pro Pen and touch Tablet Medium size – Now we are stepping up our games. These tablets are already professional grade and I personally know many artists and designers that daily use these to make a living. These tablets are substantially more expensive than the entry level ones but carry a considerable series of benefits over those that can justify the price.
They come in different sizes but they are generally bigger than the entry level ones and have more customizable buttons. To a professional these are important features that help considerably in speeding up work. These also come with ‘tilt‘ sensibility, which translate into higher accuracy and control. Finally they can be used wirelessly out of the box whereas the entry level ones require you to buy an additional kit. They are amazing investment in my opinion, but it’s up to you to decide if the superior feature set is worth the extra cash.
4. Wacom Cintiq 13HD Interactive Pen Display – The Cintiq tablet takes us into a whole different category of tablets. With all the previous tablets, you were supposed to draw on them while watching the screen. That’s right, it’s a bit trick,y as you need to get used to the feeling of not watching your hand, but it’s not by any means difficult.
However to get even more control and a more natural feeling, the Cintiq series of tablets have an actual High Definition screen on the tablet itself so you can draw while you are looking at your hand and at the drawing. As you can imagine these tablets are the top tier tablets from Wacom, having all the features of the previous ones plus an actual gorgeous screen to draw on. These tablets come with and without touch screen, (at an extra cost of course) but I think that the touch screen is a bit pointless on these as you are already touching the screen with the tip of the pen and using the other hand to manoeuvre the short-cut buttons.
I won’t lie to you, these are expensive drawing tablets with the price tag flying into the thousands however they offer the ultimate digital drawing experience for the top tier professionals and the enthusiasts who can justify the expense.
My personal favourite is the 13 inch tablet which is a good compromise of size and drawing real estate however the 22 inch tablet is a massively gorgeous thing definitely helpful if you do big high definition drawings or if you do not like manipulating the canvas too much.
5. Wacom Cintiq 22HD 21-Inch Pen Display Tablet – This is the bigger and more awesome sister of the Wacom Cintiq 13HD. It’s the same thing but more bad-ass!
6. Wacom Cintiq Companion 2 – The main problem with the Cintiq 13HD ans 22HD is that they are only fancy screens.
What I mean by that is that once you detach them from your computer you can not use them any more exactly like a normal tablet. You can’t take them with you on the road in other words. The Cintiq companion solves this issue. It’s supposed to be a companion, following you wherever you go.
For all intense and purposes you should think at the Companion as a portable tablet computer (as a matter of fact running Windows 8) optimized for digital drawing. Mobile artists all over the world love it because it provides that solid professional Wacom experience compared say to an iPad Pro. It’s considered the standard for professional artists that like to be on the move and sketch in the outdoors.
7. Huion H610PRO – What!!? A non Wacom product! Am I crazy!? No I am not. While it’s true that Wacom tablet are considered the gold standard in the industry and for good reason, there are other companies making tablets and some, like Huion, a Chinese company is receiving very good reviews by artists and users across the board in terms of features, support and overall quality of their tablets.
As a plus Huion tablets tend to cost less than Wacom tablets while offering a very similar feature set. So while I do not have a direct experience with these tablets I recommend you check them out before making a decision.
The Huion H610PRO in particular looks an awful lot like the Wacom Intuos Pro Pen and touch Tablet Medium size even though some of the features are clearly inferior, for example no tilt sensitivity or the need of a battery for the pen. But if you can live with that these tablets could save you quite a substantive amount of money.
8. Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus for iPad Pro – But what if you already own an iPad, do you still need to buy a dedicated tablet for the job? Well, not necessarily.
One of the major lures of buying a dedicated product is that drawing tablets tend to have a quicker response (less lag), have quick access buttons (which do make life easier) and pen has pressure and (not in all models) tilt sensitivity which greatly enhances the artistic control you can exercise on your drawing..
If you can live without the quick access buttons and smoother response, a product like this could be for you.
The creative Stylus in fact has pressure sensitivity (but not tilt sensitivity) and integrates out of the box with several drawing Apps. You won’t have access to the desktop drawing software here but it’s a great compromise if you want to sketch or draw using your iPad without giving up the important pressure control (albeit never as good as using an actual tablet). Comes with batteris though which sucks a little bit if you ask me.
9. amPen Hybrid Stylus for iPad – Alright you have an iPad/android tablet but a flying monkey has stolen all your money and you still want to sketch and draw digitally on your iPad? amPen is your answer.
The amPen doesn’t really have anything too fancy, it’s just a conducive case with a rubber tip that allows you to draw on capacitive displays such as those of the iPad and android tablets. Better than your finger? You can bet it! As good as a wacom pen? No way close sorry.
With no pressure sensitivity or fine tip, drawing with this thing on a tablet it’s like trying to set a record at flappy Bird with a stiff finger. But if you are not after the ultimate experience and just get started drawing on a tablet this is the cheapest option. It’s lightweight, attaches to the iPad, works better than your chubby finger and it’s super inexpensive. The best of the worst digital drawing experiences.
If you do you’ll have an easy way to imagine what the Boogie Board is. The Boogie Board is like a magnetic tablet but with LCD instead of magnetism. I guess I put it in this list just for fun but it is actually quite an interesting little device.
It’s a black and white lcd surface that can be easily erased and written all over again. Drawing on this thing feels great, it’s sturdy enough and it would be a great presents for art inclined kids because it is self contained, no paper wasted and the kids won’t bothered you to use your computer or tablet. Has no colours which sucks but overall it’s a really neat device to check out.
This is it! Did you lie my top 10 drawing tablet list? Do you agree with it or not? DO you have any experience with any of these products? Let me know in the comment section below or on my Facebook page!