Over the years, the appreciation for art has always stayed the same. We still appreciate Picasso’s work. Man indeed doesn’t change. But his landscape does. His tools and his surrounding also have to change to serve him better. An artist is a true observer of life. As such, he is bound to notice the ever changing quality of life that is more so enhanced by technology; and then captured by the same technology.
The rudimentary drawings of the stone ages captured life then. Technologically enhanced equipment will help us capture ours.
Enter the technology’s provision to modern day art; the drawing tablet. Art supplies have always been generally expensive. We can confirm the drawing tablet is also not cheap. However, ask any artist today, this tablet is a necessary tool to keep up with the artistic trends. So what should you be looking for in a drawing tablet in order to have the best drawing experience?
A USB interface is the best in a drawing tablet as it allows you to use any computer as long as it supports USB. Since the interface is what allows your tablet to connect with your computer, it is important to note whether your computer supports USB or not. This piece of information will guide you on which tablet acquire. In case our computer doesn’t support USB, your tablet must have a serial interface. Only make sure that your PC has a serial port. A USB interface tablet is powered by the computer while a serial interface tablet needs a separate power source.
Simply put, this is the sensitivity to the pressure exerted on the device. Pressure sensitivity can control a myriad of factors on the tablet; color, line thickness and even transparency. Go for a higher pressure sensitivity as the higher the sensitivity the more control you will have on the tablet. The tablet will feel more natural and respond more to your hand. The pressure levels on most tablets fall between 256, 512 or 1024.
While many people prefer a small tablet, professionals like artists, CAD users or illustrators need a larger surface area to work with. However, the bigger in size you go the more expensive the tablet. This is because the dimensions given usually translate to the size of the input surface area. One thing to note is the tablet’s real footprint may be up to 5 inches larger than the input area. Larger tablets can also be somewhat cumbersome to work with as they take up more space and mean you have to move your hands quite a bit.
Multitouch is that feature that lets you use different gestures, for instance, pan or zoom or the more common navigating done by two or more fingers. Almost all art software being made today has been designed to integrate with Multitouch. It may not be really necessary but if a drawing tablet has it, it increases its effectiveness. Almost all Wacom line of tablets have it. You’ll get to know them later in our review.
Stylus, pen and other accessories
The tablet usually comes with a pen. However, in some cases you may need to buy another stylus that works better with your tablet. When it comes to the pen, you have two options; tethered or untethered. An untethered pen needs more care in handling as it is not secured so losing it or breaking it are your biggest concerns while a tethered one needs you to choose how to appropriately attach the pen to your tablet. Some of the features you will find on the pens include an erasing end, a switch or buttons all of which are great in enhancing functionality. Make sure to look for a pen that doesn’t use a battery as this is an additional hassle.
This is an important feature when it comes to drawing because a drawing tablet must be able to tell apart touches made by your hand and those made by a pen. A perfect scenario to illustrate this is accidentally marking a mark using your hand while making a drawing with a pen. A perfect drawing tablet should be able to distinguish the two.
Now that you know what to look for when you are sizing up a potential drawing tablet, allow us to perform the introduction to the pen computing technological beasts that have revolutionized the art world in 2017.
The Wacom Intous draw
The Wacom brand is considered the best when it comes to drawing tablets. With raving reviews from beginners, the Wacom Intous Draw is the perfect tablet designed with an amateur artist in mind.
Not only is this tablet compatible with all operating systems, it comes with tutorials that are helpful for beginners and the ArtRage drawing software. It’s important to note, however, that you must register first in order to download this free software.
It has the advantage of having a pen that needs no battery so maintenance is not an issue in this regard. In addition, the pen is both right and left hand oriented, comfortable and pressure sensitive.
The Wacom Intous draw is easy to use with programs like Adobe Photoshop.back to menu ↑
Apple Ipad pro
Apple is well known for their ability to merge two technologies into one; a phone and a computer or a computer and a tablet. This is exactly what they have done in this case. In fact, it is using this sophisticated technology that they launched their Ipad pro with digital artists in mind.
This tablet, which has a two prong use to the artist, comes with the numerous applications that you can easily download from the App store. As a laptop, you can use it for meetings and administrative functions and as a drawing tablet you can unleash your creative potential, with the help of the free applications.
For the more professional consumer, you can invest specifically in some of the more specialized apps for iPad like colored pencils, Zen Brush or better still versions of Adobe’s professional quality Creative Suite software.
It comes with an interactive Apple Pencil and the pressure level on this tablet is top of the range. It also doesn’t hurt that the pencil glides easily on the smooth glass of the ipadPro.back to menu ↑
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
As Apple’s biggest competitor, we saw it fit to jump straight to Samsung’s offering for the drawing tablet right after sampling Apple’s. However, several things make it hard to make a comparison. So we shall not! Instead we will enjoy the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 for what it is.
It has been hailed as Samsung’s answer to the artist’s prayer for a drawing tablet. As with other Samsung products, you can expect clear visuals and great display.
The tablet comes with a nubby-tipped stylus. This stylus functions well enough for the artist to achieve his goal while drawing without much fuss.
To further do this tablet justice Samsung added a fantastic feature; the tablet can perceive the angle of the stylus’s nib when it presses onto the tablet and this activates the art app into translating that action into data that the tablet uses to determine your intentions in terms of shading. In other words, it can understand what you want just by your stylus’s angle!
As with any device with the android operating system, it has thousands of applications that you can download from google play store not to mention its dual purpose of being a drawing tablet and computer at the same time.back to menu ↑
Wacom Cintiq 13HD
We already established that Wacom is a powerhouse when it comes to drawing tablets. Now these professionals have something for the professionals.
Among the Wacom brand of products, Cintiq is the most costly line. It has been said to mimic the feeling one has of drawing on actual paper. With a screen so sensitive because of in built sensors, you can expect accurate pen input and establishment of the stylus’s angle.
The screen is large and the display as interactive as they come. Actually the interactive display becomes the artist’s second monitor. This allows you to draw directly into the program giving that feeling of drawing on paper.
While other tablets will require you to purchase additional high end programs to enhance drawing, painting and editing, the Cintiq range comes already fitted with these professional quality programs.
Again, we do concede that it doesn’t come cheap; however, the Wacom Cintiq 13HD is a worthwhile investment for any serious illustrator or artist.back to menu ↑
Huion H610 Pro
Huion is another reputable name in drawing tablets. In fact, the Huion H610 Pro is such a formidable addition to the world of drawing tablets that it has been hailed undisputedly as one of the best in this category of devices.
Pumped with an awesome 2048 levels in pressure, its pressure sensitivity is on the highest level. This translates to better control of line thickness and color.
Living up to it’s expected quality, this tablet is the ideal choice for professionals and amateurs with it’s 16 customizable hot cells in addition to 8 express keys. Add to that the fact that it is also compatible with the Mac OS and Windows as well, the Huion H610 pro’s ease of use is undeniable.
It also comes with a pen is rechargeable, ruling out the cumbersome need for batteries.back to menu ↑
Microsoft Surface Book
Microsoft have outdone themselves on this tablet. Or should we say laptop? Because it doubles up as both.
Spotting an Ultra HD 13.5 inch screen, you are assured of spectacular visual specs as you work. This is in addition to the unexpected light weight of the detachable screen which stand out well when compared to the overall sturdiness of the device.
You can attach the screen in the reverse to display a presentation to others without having them crowd your space. However, the detachment is not just a willy-nilly affair! There is a button situated on the left top corner of the device that deactivates several functions (like the graphics chip) before allowing you to detach your screen. This protects the functions at all times.
Speaking of the graphics chip, this discrete feature enables the Microsoft surface book to keep up with a huge volume of graphical work it is used for.
You are also in for some ultra speed when it comes to processing.back to menu ↑
Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 2
It is a laptop, yet it can be converted into a tablet! As another 2 in 1 device, the Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 2 epitomizes both style and functionality at the same time.
Although it can function as a laptop, the keyboard and screen are detachable from each other. This leaves you with a tablet should you need to travel around with it. In case you do not want to detach the keyboard completely from the screen, it has a 360 degrees hinge which, again, gives you the tablet option.
It comes with a Wacom pen that has been designed specifically for drawing. Furthermore, it is compatible with any drawing program.
Great in terms of portability because of its size and reasonably price, the Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 2 is intended for those in need of a drawing tablet but on a budget, like art students.
For one to appreciate art, you have to appreciate how it is formed and what inspires it. In the past, a pencil and a paper or canvas were more than enough. But beautiful technology has taken this creative process to a whole new level.
The drawing tablet is by no means the tool of a lazy, uncreative person. Quite the contrary, it is in fact meant to only enhance the process of a creative mind. You only have to look at the imagery and illustration in our world today to understand the contribution of these gadgets to art. Best of all, each of them has been specially designed to do that with utmost perfection.
So as you use this guide to find the most apt drawing tablet for you, we hope you at least understand how amazingly colorful these incredible pieces of technology have made our world.