If you are getting into digital drawing, you will quickly want to make your life easier with a graphics tablet. Here are our recommendations.
While traditional graphic arts still have a bright future ahead of them, the democratization of computers has brought with it the popularization of digital drawing. As with any art form, it is important to choose your tools carefully. The good old graphics tablet is a good solution to get started without breaking the bank. Working with any Windows PC or Mac, it replaces the mouse with a stylus for more precise drawing, while giving you access to many styles of “brushes”.
The graphics tablet is a tool now well established in a market rich in choice, but don’t worry! We have been looking for the most interesting models of the moment. All that will remain for you is to find inspiration (and on this point, we can’t really help).
What about touch tablets?
If you are looking for a more versatile alternative, touch pads are becoming more and more interesting. Not only do they have a very good screen, but they are portable, autonomous and the software ecosystem is now complete, especially on iPadOS. In return, however, they are much more expensive than a basic graphics tablet.
It is therefore up to you to see which type of device will best suit your use. The best choice for us is the iPad Pro 12.9 M1, but you can find alternatives in our tablet buying guide. If your budget is tight, take a look at our guide to cheap tablets. Looking for the right drawing app? Read our selection of the best drawing apps on iOS and Android.
And if you need a solid PC to run your favorite creative software, we’ll give you an appointment on our laptop PC guide.
Wacom Intuos S Bluetooth: a compact graphics tablet to get you started
A major player in the market, Wacom has long proven its know-how in consumer graphics tablets. The Wacom Intuos S Bluetooth is no exception to the rule.
This graphics tablet is the perfect introduction to the art of computer drawing. Compact, the Wacom Intuos S Bluetooth offers a work surface of 7 inches for a weight of 249 g. As you will have understood, it is far from being bulky on a desk and it can easily slip into a bag when you travel. Especially since it works directly in Bluetooth, which allows you to skip the cables when connecting to a computer.
Wacom Intuos S Bluetooth
Despite its size, the Wacom Intuos S Bluetooth is no less precise. Its configurable stylus supports 4,096 different pressure levels for detailed drawing. And with only 4 freely programmable buttons, the Wacom Intuos S Bluetooth is very easy to use, whether you’re right-handed or left-handed. Not to mention that it comes with three free drawing software: Corel Painter Essentials 6, Corel Aftershot 3, Clip Studio Paint Pro. Finally, its price, which is around a hundred euros, makes it a particularly attractive tablet for beginners.
Huion H610 Pro V2: unbeatable value for money
Ergonomics seems to have been Huion’s guiding idea when designing the Huion H610 Pro V2. Although it is 34 cm long, more than double the Wacom Intuos S Bluetooth, for 24.5 cm wide, and its weight is close to 635 g, the Huion H610 Pro V2 remains easily transportable thanks to its thickness barely 1 cm. On the other hand, such dimensions allow this graphics tablet to offer a drawing surface of 11 inches.
Too often forgotten, left-handed people can enjoy an excellent user experience thanks to the interface of the Huion H610 Pro V2 which easily adjusts for drawing with the left hand. Not content with understanding 8,192 different pressure levels, it is especially capable of detecting the angle of your stylus for increased precision when drawing.
Huion H610 Pro V2
If the Huion H610 Pro V2 ignores Bluetooth, thus relying on a conventional USB cable, it is generous with regard to physical buttons. The Huion H610 Pro V2 thus has 8 of them, which can be programmed in such a way as to give you access to 16 different shortcuts. And there again, the price not exceeding a hundred euros is particularly interesting for those who are new to digital drawing.
Wacom Intuos Pro Medium: get down to business
If the entry-level models have shown their limits and you are not interested in a model with a screen, the Intuos Pro is for you. Compared to the classic Intuos, it has a larger work surface and above all offers an L size which exceeds the A4 format. On the other hand, it is bulkier and heavier.
Wacom Intuos Pro Medium
The resolution is doubled, as is the number of pen pressure points. In short, you will have access to much more finesse in your creations. We also gain several additional buttons, practical for optimizing your workflow. On the connection side, it’s complete: you have the choice between Bluetooth or USB-C.
Among the new functions, note the arrival of multitouch which allows the tablet to be used as a giant trackpad. It will not be unanimous, but a button allows you to activate or deactivate it in an instant.
In short, Wacom offers here what is best in tablet without screen, only the high price may cool some.
Wacom Cintiq 16: the best graphics tablet with screen
Let’s directly address the real (and only) downside of this graphics tablet: its price. The Wacom Cintiq 16 is often found at a price of around 600 euros. One wonders what justifies such a high price, 2, 3 or even 4 times higher than a conventional tablet. Quite simply the fact that the Wacom Cintiq 16 is a graphics tablet with an integrated screen and that it is one of the best value for money on the current market in this category.
Wacom Cintiq 16
The 16-inch screen with Full HD definition of the Wacom Cintiq 16 offers an excellent display surface, while restoring the colors fairly faithfully thanks to good calibration. Calibration which, by the way, adapts to many types of external screens. The touch screen of the Wacom Cintiq 16 is also able to detect the angle of the stylus, for an ever more organic rendering. As for its “passive” stylus, it supports 8,192 levels of pressure and makes the latency time almost imperceptible. A good thing that would almost make us forget that we draw on a graphics tablet.
If you want a much larger workspace, we recommend you upgrade to the Wacom Cintiq 22. As its name suggests, it has a 22-inch screen, again in Full HD. The rest of the pressure characteristics are also identical. Be careful though, it will take a lot more space on your desk!
XP-Pen Artist 13.3 Pro: the mobile screen
Display tablets are convenient, but they are complicated to carry around and often require a dedicated power supply which makes them impractical to move around. A limitation that this XP-Pen 13.3 Pro does not have since it is powered via USB. However, it will need two connectors and an HDMI output to work, a compromise that we find quite acceptable. However, we hope to see a purely USB-C version land in the near future.
XP-Pen Artist 13.3 Pro
It is pleasant to use, but only supports 2048 pressure levels where most competitors are at 8192 levels. The 13.3-inch panel adopts a Full HD resolution and offers correct brightness given the limits of the power supply. The stylus on its side is of the passive type.
Last strong point of this tablet: its price, frankly interesting in view of its benefits.
What do you need to know when choosing a touch pad?
As for a computer, a mouse, a keyboard or a screen, it is important to take several points into consideration when choosing your graphics tablet.
What are the different types of graphics tablets?
There are three types of graphics tablets. The so-called “classic” tablet is the most widespread. This model with an opaque drawing surface offers greater fidelity than its counterparts since you have the possibility of modulating your line simply with the pressure of your stylus. Then come the tablets with screen. More expensive and cumbersome, the latter however allow better supervision of the project in progress. However, be sure to calibrate the integrated screen. Finally, the “scanner” tablet is rarer. It allows you to digitize and vectorize a paper drawing.
What are the essential characteristics of a good graphics tablet?
In our opinion, four essential points must be checked before buying a graphics tablet, namely:
The dimensions. It is important to take into account the ratio between the overall size of the tablet and the area allocated for drawing. No need to take a large tablet if the work area is only a quarter of the device. Conversely, a small tablet that gives pride of place to its drawing surface will tend to sacrifice the physical buttons.
Ergonomics. A touchscreen tablet can be complicated to handle, it is essential that you have all the keys in hand to learn how to use it quickly and above all without (too) many constraints. An abundance of physical buttons will quickly get you lost. To start, favor tablets that do not have more than 8 buttons. Also, be aware that a tablet with a screen is often heavier and bulkier than a traditional tablet.
The precision. The pen is just as important as the tablet itself. The more levels of pressure a stylus can handle, the more accurate your drawing will be. Below 3,000 levels, best avoided.
Compatibility. It would be a shame to buy a new graphics tablet and realize that it does not work on our computer. Always check that your future graphics tablet will be compatible with your version of Windows or macOS. Also, make sure your drawing software supports your graphics tablet.
How good is drawing on a graphics tablet?
Drawing on a graphics tablet does not provide the same experience as traditional drawing, which can be disconcerting during the first uses. You have to get used to the slight latency between pressing the stylus on the drawing area and the appearance of the result on the screen. That said, a battery-free stylus (also known as a “passive” stylus) helps reduce this latency.
Finally, and this is probably the only important point to remember apart from the technical characteristics: using a graphics tablet will not give you a better drawing technique. To draw better, nothing replaces constant and often long training.
To follow us, we invite you to download our Android and iOS application. You can read our articles, files, and watch our latest YouTube videos.