Drawing Tablet For Beginners

What Is The Best Drawing Tablet For Beginners?

Do you want to take your art to the next level? Getting started with digital art can be easier than you think. 

Maybe you’ve been drawing your whole life and need a change. Or perhaps you’re hoping to stay professionally relevant in our increasingly digital world. Whatever the case, a tablet is the next logical step after traditional drawing.

Here, I’m going to help you find the best drawing tablet for beginners.

What To Consider Before Buying Your First Tablet 

A tablet for drawing will give you a new set of challenges artistically and enable you to write, paint, share, and upload your digital art easily. If you’ve been stuck in a rut with your art for a while, the right device could reignite your inspiration. 

A tablet opens the door for matte painting, video editing, and photo manipulation. It enables you to store all of your creations in a single place, meaning no more bent or ruined drawings.

And if you’re interested in game design or hope to become a concept artist of any kind, getting one is essentially unavoidable. 

The Advantages And Benefits Of A Tablet

 

Infinite Erasing

When you’re drawing with ink, you obviously can’t erase. While drawing with pencil, erasing too much can permanently smudge or damage the paper.

Working with a tablet, however, means banishing a mistake is as easy as using the “undo” feature. Alternatively, you can paint over or erase mistakes.

As someone who has destroyed many sheets of expensive drawing paper by erasing too much, I consider this feature a welcome change. 

Many Tools in One

A single tablet stylus can function as an entire set of brushes, markers, charcoals, pastels, and as an eraser. This universal tool can be used to cover your screen with ink, “oil” paints or “acrylic” paints, or to mix them into something unique.

If you enjoy creating mixed media art but not keeping track of a ton of supplies, this eliminates that hassle for you.

Access to New, Exciting Features

Programs like Photoshop allow you to extend your artwork with other tools that aren’t related to drawing or painting.

These tools wouldn’t be possible with traditional forms of art but can be accessed easily on your tablet. Warping is a good example of this. 

Efficiency

With traditional drawing, filling in an area requires carefully shading or crossing lines, both of which are time-consuming. With a tablet, on the other hand, this task can be as simple as using the Paint Bucket Tool. You can use copy/paste to reuse an image instead of having to tediously sketch it out by hand.

You also get the advantage of a single surface to make all your creations on, instead of needing to constantly restock paper and other art supplies.

When I paint, it seems like half of the experience is getting the canvas ready, hunting down my brushes, and laying down newspaper.

Traditional art requires a lot of general set-up tasks. A tablet can cut out all of that extra preparation, letting you focus on what matters most; creating your art.

Drawing Tablet Attributes to Think About

Choosing the right tablet for your needs can be the difference between sticking with digital art for life or quitting right away because it doesn’t go smoothly.

When selecting a good beginners drawing tablet, here’s what you should look at:

Size

  • Bigger Tablets: For some styles of art, such as life drawing, clean and continuous lines are an important part of the process. If the style you work in calls for this, it means you should use your arm to draw instead of your wrist. A larger tablet makes this much easier as there’s more screen space to work with.
  • Smaller Tablets: A smaller tablet is, of course, easier to carry around and makes a better choice if your main concern is portability. A small surface area could be all you need if you like to focus on intricate details instead of drawing with large, sweeping motions. Another benefit to choosing a small tablet is that they are more affordable. If you’re specifically seeking an inexpensive tablet, keep that in mind.
  • Medium Tablets: In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with a medium tablet. They are still light enough to transport easily but offer you enough drawing space. I find that different environments affect my creativity and like to switch it up often, so portability is always one of the first things I look for. They also aren’t as much of an investment as bigger tablets, typically. And if you choose an affordable medium option as your entry level drawing tablet now, you can always get a bigger one later.

Connectivity

All good drawing tablets for beginners should come with convenient connectivity options. This means easily connecting to your laptop and desktop computers. And if you’re using a drawing tablet with a screen and like photography, maybe your camera too.

The majority of modern computers will connect with HDMI or a USB cable, while cameras will use USB or HD.

Price

You will notice a wide range of options when it comes to price, from inexpensive tablets to advanced devices that cost thousands.

Although money is always a factor when making a purchase, it shouldn’t be the main deciding factor for your first digital drawing tablet.

As someone who used to always buy the cheapest products just for the sake of saving money, I’ve learned the hard way that quality matters more than trying to save a few bucks.

But finding something affordable, comfortable, and long-lasting is the ideal. You’ll find a variety of prices on this list and a tablet for every budget.

Getting Used to a Drawing Tablet

When you’re just figuring out how to use a drawing tablet, it will take time to learn its pressure points and sensitivity.

Think about learning to draw with a pencil as a kid, it took a while to gain precision. It will also require some time and practice to get used to a drawing tablet and that’s perfectly normal. 

Our Top 5 Picks Of The Best Art Tablets for Beginners

If you are wondering what are the best drawing tablets out there, below I list my top 5 tablets for beginners.

First, I will cover three drawing tablets (without displays), followed by two tablets with screens.


Wacom Intuos Pro Medium

The Intuos Pro is 9.9 by 15 inches in size with a usable drawing space of 5.5 by 8.8 inches. If you are interested in using your tablet for detailed Photoshop tasks or drawing illustrations, this size should work well.

One main advantage for beginners is that the Intuos Pro has a textured surface with resistance. This has a more familiar feel and eases the transition from paper to digital.

Pros

  • Multi-touch Capabilities: It's pen and touch capabilities means that the surface drawing space functions similar to a laptop trackpad. This allows you to rotate and scroll images, zoom with pinch and swipe, and more. These features are great because they mean less pausing to reach for your mouse while drawing.
  • Pen and Pen Stand: The Pro Grip Pen has a rubberized barrel and is comfortable to use, meaning you can get lost in your work without any hand fatigue. It comes with an eraser at the top and a switch that you can set to perform click, double-click, and right-click functions. There’s a pen stand included, which is good if you tend to lose track of art supplies. The stand also has a storage compartment in the stand for (included) replacement nibs.
  • Wireless Capability: Another benefit to the Intuos Pro as an entry-level tablet is its ability to function without cords. You can use the built-in Bluetooth instead of plugging it in.
  • Adjustable Area Size: You can configure the active drawing area to your preference. Backlit indicators around the edges will show you where the new borders are.

Cons

  • Multi-touch Misreads: I mentioned the multi-touch capability as a pro above, but this can also be a con when the surface interprets an accidental tap as an intentional gesture. If that bothers you, there is an option to turn Multi-touch off. Alternatively, consider getting a digital artist glove to stop those accidental touches.
  • Nibs Wear Out Faster: The textured surface that makes this tablet more similar to a paper-like feel also makes the nibs wear out quicker than they would with a glossy screen. If you tend to be heavy handed when you draw, this could be an issue

Overall, the Intuos Pro is a feature-rich tablet with a learning curve for newbies. This is something you would probably benefit more from if you’ve tried a graphics tablet before and are pretty certain you’ll stick with it.



Wacom Intuos Draw Short Review

If you’ve been looking for the best drawing tablet under $100, the Wacom Intuos Draw is designed especially for aspiring digital artists. This drawing pad enables you to edit, paint, and draw with the pen and has customizable shortcuts.

Pros

  • ArtRage Lite: The Intuos Draw comes with included sketching and drawing software that’s easy for beginners. The tutorials will help you with drawing, doodling, and sketching, which is great for getting used to your new tool.
  • Easy-to-Map Buttons: The buttons on the pen and tablet are easy to customize, even when you’re completely new to tablets. Set them to hold pressure, pan, zoom in and out, redo, and undo to make your drawing experience more stream-lined and intuitive.
  • Line Variety: You can push the pen at varying pressures to create line width variations. If you’re used to using pencil, this could feel like a step up from traditional art since you have a variety of options with a single tool. You can also adjust the opacity or create unique brush strokes with the stylus.
  • Surface Friction: The Intuos Draw has just enough friction to prevent slipping without making the nib stick. You will probably appreciate this if you’re partial to the natural pen-to-paper drawing feeling.

Cons

  • Size: If you’re used to sketching on large drawing pads, you might find that this frame feels too small. It’s probably better suited for you if you like to focus on intricate details rather than broad strokes.
  • The Feel of the Pen: Compared with a real pen, the included stylus may feel a little too light. It’s also bulkier near the tip and slim near the back, which you might find unnatural to hold. It also occasionally draws out full pressure dots while you draw.

The Intuos Draw is like other Intuos tablets but without the multi-touch capability. As a beginner, you likely wouldn’t notice this feature missing and the tradeoff of paying less than $100 could be worth it to you.

But if you want to get a product you can become an advanced digital artist with, another tablet on this list could suit you better.



Huion New 1060

In terms of price, the Huion New 1060 is on par with the Intuos Draw covered above and comes with a few more features. The tablet works with programs such as Paint Tool Sai, and Krita. To make your creation process more efficient, you can use the included customizable shortcut buttons.

Pros

  • Pen Quality: The included stylus is rechargeable, comes with two buttons, and weighs about as much as a fine tip Sharpie. This will help you adjust to digital drawing since pens that are too heavy or too light can be awkward to get used to. You only need to charge the pen for a few hours and it will work for days.
  • Large Drawing Surface: The active drawing area on the 1060 is 10 by 6.25 inches, a good middle ground to start with for a beginner.
  • Extras: Though it has a medium active drawing area the Huion 1060 is very light and portable. It comes with a carrying case to protect it from scrapes and scratches and a glove to reduce friction for your hand.

Cons

  • No Wireless Capability: If you prefer working wirelessly, you may want to choose another tablet. This one doesn’t have Bluetooth compatibility.
  • Pen Button Issues: While the pen itself is sturdy and balanced, its buttons are a bit loose and feel kind of cheap.
  • No Touch Functions: The tablet doesn’t register anything except the stylus tip, which you might find inconvenient if you like using gestures while you work. But this could be a pro if you would rather not deal with accidentally activating features with your palm while drawing.

Some people have also used the Huon New 1060 for whiteboard sessions and live demonstrations along with ordinary, everyday doodling. If you want a tool you can use for work as well as pleasure, this is a good feature.



XP-Pen Artist 16

If you would rather be able to paint and draw directly on the screen, a display tablet like the Artist 16 could be a good place to start.

This enables you to draw in a more familiar way instead of having to worry about drawing without looking down at your hand. You will pay more for that function in most cases, though.

Pros

  • Medium-sized Screen: I mentioned earlier that a medium screen is a good middle ground for those new to drawing tablets. The XP-Pen 16 has a 15.6 inch display. Since I’m used to painting on canvases around that size, I would find this range comfortable.
  • 178° Viewing Angle: This tablet has an extra-wide viewing angle. This means that even when you tilt the screen, the colors look as they should and contrast isn’t compromised. This is a must since color is the most important aspect in many drawings.
  • Compatibility: When you’re new to using a tablet, it’s important to have the freedom to experiment before finding the program you like best. The Artist 16 supports Mac OS and Windows. It’s compatible with a variety of creative software including Paint Tool Sai, Manga Studio, Corel Painter, and Photoshop.
  • Extras: This tablet comes with an extra rechargeable stylus and spare nibs, a cleaning cloth, HDMI cable, and a glove. You may already be familiar with anti-fouling gloves if you use graphite in your art. But they’re also useful for digital tablets as they help reduce friction.

Cons

  • Needs Calibration: In order to get the monitor to display colors accurately, it may need calibrating.
  • Runs Hot: If you think you’ll favor high brightness settings with your tablet, keep in mind that it may run hot.
  • Glossy Screen: The Artist 16 screen doesn’t offer any pen resistance. This is not necessarily a con because some artists find a slippery screen easier to draw on. But the glossy screen does mean more glare and reflection when you use it in brightly lit areas.

Other noteworthy features on the XP-Pen 16 are its 2048 pressure levels and adjustable stand.

While some higher-end tablets feature higher pressure sensitivity than this, 2048 levels of pressure makes this one of the best graphics tablets if you’re a beginner or intermediate user.



Huion GT 185

Another drawing tablet that shows a screen is the Huion GT-185HD. If you like to draw with sweeping, flowing motions, it’s a good size. The screen measures 18.5 inches (diagonally) and has solid, smooth edges for comfortably resting your arm as you work.

Pros

  • Long-lasting Stylus Charge: Having to charge your art tool can take some getting used to. But the GT-185HD stylus holds a charge for weeks, so you only need to think about it every once in a while.
  • Easy Driver Installation: If you aren’t the tech-savviest artist out there, you will probably appreciate that installing the drivers is easy. You just need to download Huion’s latest, install before you connect, then reboot.
  • Adjustable Stand: This tablet comes with a stand that lets you set the screen anywhere from 15° to 85° this is handy because you can experiment with different angles until you find what feels most natural for you.
  • Included Accessories: The 185HD has an anti-fouling glove included, a screen protector, and a cleaning cloth.

Cons

  • Pen Noise: When you’re drawing on the screen, you might get annoyed by the squeaky sound the stylus makes sliding across the screen. Earphones can help, but that doesn’t guarantee you won’t irritate your roommate.
  • Stylus Holder Doesn’t Charge: The 185HD has a stylus holder in back, but the holder doesn’t charge the pen. You have to plug in a separate power cable for charging which isn’t as convenient as a holder that also charges.
  • Detection Issues: When you draw close to the edges, you might notice that the cursor gets unresponsive or jumpy.

The GT-185HD is compatible with programs like Sketchbook Pro, Manga Studio, Corel Painter, Illustrator, and more. It has hotkeys that will let you undo, change brush size, and zoom. Using these will take some time to learn but will speed up your creative process after you get adjusted.


If we had to choose one…

If I had to pick the best drawing tablet for beginners on this list, I’d go with the Wacom Intuos Pro.

Although it’s not as cheap as the Intuos Draw, the multi-touch capabilities will let you advance with a single device instead of having to buy a new one when you’re no longer a beginner. The adjustable active area will let you experiment to find your preference.

Price-wise, it’s in the middle of the road, so you don’t have to make a huge investment before you know for sure whether you like drawing with a tablet. And the fact that it’s not the cheapest means you get extra features to play around with later on.

Beginners Drawing Tablets

Leave a Comment:

2 comments
Allen Rhonda says May 27, 2018

This was a very good and helpful article. I have decided that I prefer drawing on the screen so a direct device is what I am looking for. I was hoping you would make a statement as to the best of the two that you spoke if the Huron or the corn 16

Reply
    Nathan says May 28, 2018

    Hi Allen, I’m glad you found the article helpful. In regards to your question, did you mean the Huion and Wacom 16″ drawing tablets?

    Reply
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