There’s so much to choose from when it comes to drawing tablets! When I was a teen, the only brand I knew was Wacom and that’s the first drawing tablet I had, a Bamboo Wacom. I’m not sure if it was simply because all the other brands didn’t exist in my country or if they just appeared a bit later.
If you’re interested in trying your hand at digital art or even just looking to upgrade your tablet, you’ve come to the right place! A drawing tablet can cost you just around 30$ to over 2.500$! This depends on what you want of course. The average price for a pretty decent tablet, without a screen, is about 74.4$. While the average price for a high quality, screened drawing tablet is around 850$.
There are a few things to look out for when choosing your tablet, let’s go over them!
The Size of the Drawing Tablet
You might want to decide, previously, how big you want your drawing tablet to be.
Is it the first time you’re drawing digitally? Are you confident enough of your skills already? None of this matters, you have a lot of space, so you can get a big one? Do you tend to travel a lot and want to bring it with you?
Ask this questions to yourself before deciding.
As I already mentioned in this article about the fear of drawing, drawing in a big canvas can be intimidating and the same might happen with a drawing tablet.
You buy a really big one, but then you feel you just won’t be good enough. It happens, doubting ourselves is a common struggle. But I believe in you and so should you!
There are always tips to trick our mind a bit.
If you’re a beginner at this art and drawing thing, then try to start with a smaller size for a tablet.
Not only it’s less for you to worry about, you can also bring it with you more easily.
As you grow as an artist, you might want to upgrade your tablet to something bigger. The thing about the size of your drawing tablet is how free you are with your movements when drawing. A smaller canvas can be a bit more limited in that aspect.
If you’re already a veteran at drawing digitally, then go for a bigger one, maybe even a screened tablet!
Pressure Sensitivity for Better Lines
The most pressure levels, the better!
Pressure sensitivity is very important when getting a drawing tablet. In fact, it’s one of the most crucial aspects of it. If you try to draw on the computer with your mouse, the first thing you’ll notice is that it’s very hard to have different weights in your lines. You can’t control the pressure you use on the mouse button.
With a drawing tablet, however, depending on how hard you press, you can vary your lines thickness.
A good drawing needs to have a good balance of line weight. If you draw traditionally already, you’ve noticed this!
So, the most pressure levels in your tablet, the better it can detect the pressure you apply to your strokes.
Nowadays, this isn’t so much of a problem, the differences between the pressure levels aren’t as noticeable, the average you can find right now is 2048 levels, which you can find very easily and in any budget drawing tablet and we’ll talk about some of those in a bit!
Do you need Function keys?
Admittedly, I rarely used the buttons on my Wacom Bamboo. I was so overwhelmed by the drawing digitally part that thinking about more buttons was too much.
Later I finally realized you could even customize the keys to whatever function you wanted and I started using them a bit more.
Function keys can be very useful. Instead of having to go to your keyboard to type the shortcuts, you can just assign them to your tablet and reach them easily!
Usually, you can always find a drawing tablet with buttons, some with more and others with less, let’s say 2 or 3 keys, minimum.
Like I said I find them very useful. I assigned my keys to the shortcuts I use the most: pen, eraser, changing brush/eraser size, undo, rotate canvas, zoom in and zoom out. If you’re not comfortable with the idea yet, you can even just let them be for a while and try function keys later.
I do recommend for you to try them as soon as possible because they’ll definitely help you and make your life easier!
On another note, the pen stylus that comes with your tablet will also have at least one button that you can assign any function you want as well.
I usually set mine to the saving shortcut and the right click. But you can do with them what you prefer!
Drawing Tablet with a Screen
If your wallet allows and you’re already a pro at this drawing business, you have drawing tablets with a screen!
With this, instead of drawing on a surface on your desk and looking at the result on your monitor, you have 2 in 1. The tablet is both the monitor and the drawing surface. You just need to open your favorite drawing software and draw on it.
Another advantage of this kind of tablet is its position.
You have different levels of inclination, that you can choose between, so it’s the most comfortable for you. This allows you a bit more control over your lines. Of course, going from a regular drawing tablet to one that stands in front of you, might feel very weird at the beginning. It’s all a matter of adaptation and practice!
Soon, you’ll get used to it and love the feeling
If You’re Looking for a Budget Drawing Tablet
Alright, let’s go for some examples, starting with the cheap side.
If you’re a beginner, not sure if digital art is really what you want or your wallet just won’t allow you to spend too much, don’t worry! There are less expensive tablets, that are quite good:
- Huion h420: I’m a fan of Huion, their tablets have usually a lower price and are really good and comfortable. This one is really good if you’re a beginner and if expect to travel with it a lot. It’s very small, 102 x 57mm, and lightweight. Even though it’s small, it has 2048 levels of pen pressure sensitivity and three function keys. The only downside I see for this tablet is that the pen needs an AAA battery. The price?
Only around 29.99$, which is a very surprising price for a drawing tablet.
- Wacom Intuos Small: A bit more expensive, but it’s also quite bigger. The small has about 200 x 160 mm, 4 customizable function keys and 4096 pressure levels! Another advantage, if you’re not a fan of cables, this tablet can be used wireless and you don’t need any batteries for your pen.
Of course, this one can be more expensive. For about 99.95$ you can buy one. Also, when buying this tablet, you can choose between two software of your choice: Corel Painter Essentials 6 or Corel Aftershot 3.
If You Want a Quality Tablet with a Good Price
Alright, let’s up our game now. If you want something bigger and with some more quality, you’re going to pay a bit more in some cases, but it can still be worth it.
- Huion 1060 Plus: This is the tablet I use at the moment and I love it! The size is about 360x240mm and 8192 pressure levels. As for function keys, you have about 12 of them, so you have a lot to assign them to. This tablet comes with a built-in 8G micro SD card, which is always a plus!
You can find this drawing tablet for about 89.99$, which isn’t too expensive for a very nice tablet upgrade!
- Parblo Coast10: This tablet has a screen already, but still a bit on the budget size. It’s 290 mm x 210 mm, so almost an A4 size and 2048 pressure levels. It usually comes with a drawing glove, so you don’t smudge your screen too much.
You can find a pretty neat screened tablet for only 198$!
If You Need A Professional Drawing Tablet
Alright, lastly but not least, if you wish to get something on the professional level, which means a screened tablet, expect to spend a bit more money, no less than 400$:
- Huion KAMVAS GT-191: A bit more expensive, but also bigger: 476 x 297mm. It has 8192 pressure sensitivity, an adjustable stand, and a 1920 x 1080 resolution. It’s also good to mention that it comes with an artist glove and a screen protector!
This drawing table costs around 499$.
- Wacom Cintiq 22HD: And finally, the pièce de résistance. 650 x 400 mm, full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution. It has 2048 pen pressure levels and an adjustable, rotating stand that you can move any way you want. It comes with 6 standard nibs, 3 felt and one stroke nib.
It’s a big jump in price from all the previous drawing tablets. A Wacom Cintiq 22HD will cost you about 1600$!
BONUS: An All-in-One Portable Solution!
Hey, I lied, there’s just two more options I want to mention really fast! If you’re looking for a portable computer that you can carry around AND still use as a drawing tablet (no extra monitor required) you have some options:
- Wacom DTHW1620H Mobile Studio Pro 16″: This gives you the liberty to draw anywhere you want, without any extra accessories and hardware. A wireless, 416 x 261mm tablet, 8192 pen pressure levels, and 8 customizable function keys. It also has a stand that can be adjusted to 3 different angles and maximum 512GB of storage.
The Wacom Mobile Studio cost about 2.999$!
- Microsoft Surface Pro: Although this is an actual computer and not solely for drawing, it has the drawing component. It is very popular among artists. With an Intel Core i7 Processor, 1TB of storage, 16GB RAM and around 13.5 hours of battery life. It is also a bit smaller than the one before, so it’s easier to bring it with you, anywhere.
You can find the Microsoft Surface Pro for 2700$.
There are tablets for many needs, you just have to figure out what you need right now.
If you’re a beginner artist I would recommend either a budget drawing tablet like the Wacom Intuos Small or a quality/medium priced tablet like the Huion 1060 Plus that will last you a pretty good time.
If instead you are a professional artist or want to dive right in with some of the best the market has to offer, I would go with Huion KAMVAS if you don’t want to spend a lot or the Wacom Cintiq. One of these can last you a very LONG time with many hours of use.
It’s an investment for years to come!