Best Digital Drawing Tablet Review

The Best Digital Drawing Tablet Reviews By An Artist In 2018

What is the best digital drawing tablet for artists looking to start creating digital paintings and illustrations? Are you looking for the best digital drawing tablet for digital art projects you will be working on? Maybe you are looking for a graphic art tablet for a friend or loved one as a birthday /holiday gift. Here is a in-depth tablet review for artists by an artist.  

Short Answer: The Wacom Intuos Pro is the best drawing tablet for artists.

Over the past seven years I have experienced working with multiple drawing tablets. While working on album cover art and other types of illustrations for clients I used different tablets. I found the Wacom Intuos Pro is the best digital drawing tablet for artists. The Intuos Pro has capabilities to work on both Mac and windows along with majority of the software required for digital art.

The Wacom Intuos Pro is $350 equipped with a menu with quick options to zoom, select alt, and shift as well as being customizable. This tablet hardware comes with features, which are very flexible among the other Wacom tablets I’ve used.

Digital Painting With The Tablet

Using a mouse to create art lonely get you so far and will most likely take you more time than it should. Into thousand nine when I begin my journey into computer graphics I did not on a tablet.

For a while I was using a mouse to create digital paintings on Photoshop along with designing banners and flyers for clients. This was one of the most miserable times and my computer graphics journey.

Can you imagine how long it took me just to create a painting of sometime? I would often make mistakes because the mouse was not as precise as it could be and it took me what seemed like forever.

Best Drawing Tablets

Taking the step to invest and a drawing tablet with digital stylus pen was the best thing I could do for myself. 

I have to admit at first when I started using it I did not like it very much because I also thought it felt unnatural, but at the same time I was already creating digital art using a mouse so how unnatural could it be.

Overtime I got really used to it and I cannot see myself working without a tablet on any type of digital artwork. The amount of precision a digital pen or stylus provides you is simply incredible.

Top Digital Drawing Tablet Recommended

Wacom Intuos Pro Medium Review

The best digital drawing tablet for digital art

It is the most flexible and comes with customizable features to create amazing digital art with a quick workflow.

The Wacom Intuos Pro Pen and Touch

This tablet is for any professional artist who is in the graphic design industry is looking to invest in the right drawing tablet for their work. It is durable, portable, as well as very precise when it comes to using the pen to create art on this tablet.

Equipped with multi touch features, Bluetooth, a touch wheel provides a simple but dynamic workflow for pro artist and illustrator’s who are serious about their work.

Trusted Brand: Wacom is a Japanese company based in Saitama, Japan, which specialize in producing graphic tablets and related graphic tablet products. The company has been around since 1983 and has grown significantly in the 2,000’s.

The Upgrade Tablet For Top Industry Artists

Wacom Cintiq 13 HD

The best digital art tablet with on screen capability

This tablet is the most intuitive digital art tablet for professional illustrators. With direct on screen features, this tablet is an industry favorite.

Kenal Louis Digital Artist

Kenal Louis Digital Artist

Kenal Louis

Mediums: Traditional pen and ink drawing, digital painting, and photo-manipulation

Art Subjects: The Heart, Human Figure, Fashion Illustration, and Album Art

Software: Adobe Photoshop

An Experienced and Professional Digital Artist

Digital painting has allowed me to create a lot more than I would’ve been able to over the past few years. About three years ago I resided in artist community where I had a lot of studio space to paint.

When I was living there I would create traditional paintings and drawings on large stretch canvas to store in my space. At the time I had a luxury to have the space to put my artwork, Fast-forward to now currently I don’t have as much space as I used to then.

Creating digital art has allowed me to be able to bring my visions to life in a timely manner as well as with little to no additional resources. Meaning I didn’t have to spend any extra dollars on paint, paper, and other art supplies.

I love creating digital art and primarily when I started I only did graphic design work. I did not start digitally painting until about four years ago late 2013.

Creative Projects

Today I create a lot of fashion illustrations, book cover artworks, and other conceptual art. Continue reading through this tablet review and you will some examples of the work I do with the recommended Wacome Intuos Pro. I work as a freelance artist for hire on projects for independent musicians as well as self-published authors.

I enjoy collaborating with other creatives and part of my everyday creative process involves my tablet. It's been an incredible investment and I am looking forward to creating artwork on it until I have worn the surface out.

Digital Paintings Created With The Intuos Pro

Digital Art Illustration of Friend and Model Tia

Digital Painting Of A Friend and Model

Fashion Illustration Concept of Louis Vuitton Bag ()

Louis Vuitton Bag ​Fashion artwork

The Cheapest Tablet With Good Quality

Wacom Intuos Art

A Multitouch tablet with own software for less than $100.

An entri-level graphic arts tablet for anyone looking for a tablet to create digital art, but want to spend less than $100.

The Wacom Intuos Art

Are you looking for the least expensive option for tablet? I recommend the Wacom Intuos Art and Wacom Intuos Draw. Both of these hardware’s are less than $100. 

The Draw is $20 less than the Art tablet if you are looking for the cheapest tablet you can find for now. Of course you can always upgrade later once you gotten used to the tablet and I ready for something better.

Digital Art Questions Answered

Whenever I share my art illustration in a group on Facebook or art forum, I always get asked the following questions. What kind of tablet you use? What software do you use? Do you use this or do you use that?  Recently, I had a girl message me online to ask for a tablet recommendation for her boyfriend.

I thought it was cool that she trusted me enough to ask, but the main reason she even reached out was because she like my art. She also thought my digital art was of good value and trusted whatever I would recommend as a drawing tablet. After seeing me artwork, do you trust that I would know what I talk about? If so, continue reading this in-depth article of tablet reviews.

Which digital drawing tablet is best for artists?

This will vary based on the budget of the art and what the artist is planning to do with the tablet. I recommend the Wacom Intuos Pro as the tablet for artists looking to dive into digital art and design.

Why You Should Trust My Tablet Recommendations

I am a Freelance professional artist who uses a drawing tablet every day as part of my workflow. My name is Kenal Louis and I have been illustrating and creating graphic design type work for the past seven years.

One of my most noticeable works is a album cover I did for Rebecca Black’s “Friday” yes, that song that went viral that people hated but also liked. This was a graphic design work, but over the years I’ve created book cover illustrations for independent authors and album cover art for musicians. However, although these Types of works or what I do for income as a freelance artist, I really enjoyed creating my own personal art.

Celebrities Like My Art

My work has been featured on Afropunk, Eat Sleep Draw, Kaltblut Magazine in Germany, the 55th Grammy Awards catalogue, Aesthetic Magazine and more. Celebrities also have responded well to my work on Instagram in liking them. Musician Miguel, Zoe Kravitz, supermodelWinnie Harlow, Trevor Jackson, and Zendaya all liked my work. Zendaya’s even shared my artwork on her website and App Zenzine along with rising actress Amandla Stenberg.

What Kind of Artist Is The Digital Tablet For

Cheap Tablets Vs. Pricier Tablets

Drawing tablets have been referred to also as graphic tablets. They utilize a pen or stylus to translate whatever you are enjoying on your screen. Digital art is the future and a drawing tablet provide you a way to create the most imaginative illustrations and art you can I have a do in less time it would take you with traditional media.

The following tablet reviews is for any artist getting ready to dive into digital art and photo design manipulation. Honestly I believe every person doing graphic design should have a drawing tablet readily available for their work. 

If you are interested and graphic tablets that won’t cost you a lot and will provide you quality results for your work, the ones that I have mentioned well worth investing in.

Are you a beginner to digital art? If you are a beginner to digital art I would start out with the $100 tablet. Although, if you have some experience using a cheaper version of the tablet and looking for an upgrade that won’t hurt you financially the intuos pro is my next recommendation.

When I first started to embark on creating digital art, the Wacom bamboo was the initial tablet I invested in. It has been discontinued by the manufacture, but the Intuos art and Intuos Draw are very similar to the bamboo tablet.

How I Came To Choose The Intuos Pro Digital Art Tablet

After working with all three of these drawing tablets, I found that the basic features that I needed to create artwork that I wanted are the following.

Tablet Durability: A Tablet That Is Durable 

In the world of electronics as well as digital art, Wacom is a reliable brand who creates great quality electronic hardware. Primarily the brand manufactures tablets to the highest level of excellence.

Although, their price in comparison to other competitors are not always the cheapest but they definitely provide you the best quality as well as durability in their hardware.

Also their innovation and thought that they put behind each product they produce definitely keeps their consumers in mind. Some will disagree that Apple cares about user experience, but I think that is a poor mindset to have because if you think about the revolutionary direction Apple has taken their products without thinking about their consumers they would not have succeeded.

Needless to say people would not spend as much as they do Apple products. I believe Wacom creates the best drawing tablets around. The brand is known for creating quality and reliable products.

You don’t have to worry about your tablet falling apart when it comes to Wacom. You can also be at ease knowing that the buttons on your tablet will work and function as they should. When you are spending more $100 on anything you want to know that it is going to last and the brand knows this in value that aspect in customer service.

More Examples of My Work With The Tablet

FKA Twigs Digital Painting

Duration: 22 hours

Rihanna Digital Painting

Duration: 56 hours

Digital Art Details On The Rihanna Illustration

User Friendly Tablet

Customer service is not just a person to person thing; it is the entire process of providing for your consumer. Entails providing the best product you possibly can and they deliver. I do have to say I am not a spokesperson for wake him nor a direct affiliate of theirs, but I am an artist and I don’t always have the biggest budget to spend on tools or supplies to create what I want. Therefore I value when I invest in something in the results are long-lasting.

Pressure sensitivity: A Tablet that Have Great Pressure Levels

It is difficult to measure pressure sensitivity as part of your workflow, but this is important. The reason why pressure sensitivity and a tablet that you are going to invest in should be considered is because of how much value it can add to any artwork. 2,000 levels in regards to sensitivity is enough to create great and detail work. The main reason the sensitivity is important is when you are doing work that is going to be including shading in need to value. Drawing tablets you see on this page range from 1,000 to 9,000 pressure levels.

Drivers: The Tablet's Drive Is Important

Drivers are extremely important software is when it comes to the installation of tablets. Although most tablets are compatible with both PC and MacOS, you have some that are unstable and later on cause issues. your driver can affect how well your tablet works with your computer in relation to the sequence and lag times. However, I do recommend even after installing the initial driver that you look for updates on the driver over time.

Some tablets come with drivers which will notify you when there are new updates, but there are some that I never updated. If you’re a PM person or Mac person occasionally you update your computer and drives on it. It only makes sense to do the same with any hardware that you have that work with software.

Pen type: What Type of Pen Comes With The Wacom Tablet

Would you prefer to have a pan that is battery free, battery powered or rechargeable? I choose battery free; all of Wacom’s pens are battery free. You really never have to worry about if your pain is going to die or if you’re going to need a new battery for your pen. The types of pens that require a battery in the long run will cost you for maintenance and if you recharge your pain you have two then wait for to charge before you can continue your project. All of this is pain to deal with.

Wacom’s pens only required the nibs (tips) to be changed once it’s been worn out. Not to mention whenever you order a wake him tablet they sent you multiple nibs so we really never run out. Some of their nibs I also created to give you a more realistic experience when you are drawing on the tablet’s surface. You can either use a really smooth or textured one.

Creative Workspace

Customization: A Great Tablet Should Have Customizable Features

Options. Yes everyone wants options. Having the ability to create your own keyboard shortcuts on your tablet can be really beneficial if you are working on a laptop where you don’t necessarily have a separate keyboard or just want the options to be right next to your surface area. Having the option to create shortcuts can help you find tune the way you work, improving your workflow.

When you are working on that project for a client that is time sensitive you want the quickest way possible to get the work done and this includes being able to create personal shortcuts to make your creative process flow.

Tablet size: In A World Where Size Matters

They say bigger is better in everything. Although you can probably get away with working on a 8 x 6” surface area tablet you might want to invest in something bigger. The reason in this case bigger is better with the tablet is because of the work surface area.

Working on something that is 6 x 4“ versus 10 x 6“ make a big difference depending on the type of work you are going to be doing. If you’re like me where you will be creating digital work that are full of details whether it is in graphic design, digital painting, or photography retouching. You want the ability to be able to maximize your surface area.

The drawing distance from one point to another A small area is shorter than it is on a larger area.  This can make refining your work extremely tedious if you are working on a smaller pad.

Tablet Budget:The Price of The Tablet  

If only the price is right. All right let’s get down to it. If it comes to your finances and choosing a tablet based on price then you can find a tablet for beginners less than $100. However, the professional drawing tablets normally have more advanced features and will cost 3 to 4 times the cost of tablets created for beginning digital artists.

You can always start with what you can afford and later upgrade as you evolve as an artist and earn more from your art. This is exactly what I did when I first started because I had my own doubts about even investing in a tablet. I talk to myself oh it is not going to feel real and it’s taking away from the process, but it really wasn’t.

This was just a mindset I had because I had been drawing on paper for so many years that I had a fear and did not want to change. Now that I have been creating digital art for over seven years now and four years using a drawing tablet I would not go back for the world.

Tilt recognition: A Tablets's Tilt Recognition Feature

This feature is a feature that separates do use of tablets between the beginning illustrators and professional illustrators. Tilt recognition can allow you to produce different levels and strokes and styles as well depending on the angle you are holding your pen. Looking for more control as possible over your artwork, this may be a feature you find very necessary.

To be honest this feature is not necessary to get the stroke sizes or styles you need. What will really in the long run other than the tablet itself improves your work in digital art will be your judgment on your brush size as well as opacity levels. These two things will be determined by the software you are using whether it is adobe Photoshop or painter.

Again, Wacom create the best graphic tablets recommended industry wide. Always say to myself “whatever is cheap does not last”. You can take this example to some Sneakers but at a retail company that cost $25 versus a branded company sneaker valued at $120. You can almost bet that the sneaker that cost more will serve you more in the long run under extreme environments and over the same amount of time.

Take It From An Experienced Digital Illustrator

I’ve created over hundreds of digital paintings and illustrations with the tablet that I have, which is the Wacom intuos Pro. I believe it is perfect for me because it is as simple as plug in and go. The installation process was easy and after that creating on the tablet was relatively easy and fun.

Below are some more examples of illustrations I’ve created on the tablet which cost no more than $350.

Dusu - Fantasy Character Illustration

Fantasy Character Illustration

Niobe - Fantasy Character Illustration

Fantasy Character Illustration

Great Tool For The Everyday Passionate Artist

Art is my passion and whether I am creating visual work traditionally or digitally my goal is always to improve. Having the right tools and resources can be hard to find, especially when you are just starting out in a new genre like digital art as a traditional artist. I was a college student when I first experience using the drawing tablet I recommend as the premier choice for artists.

The local college I attended our lab had two different rooms with the Intuos pro and the Cintiq. At the time my skill level and digital painting wasn’t as high as it is now, but the only drastic significance difference that I saw between the two tablets was one had an on-screen direct option and the other one you had to use your hands to coordinate with your eyes on the screen.

Starting out I did not have a budget of more than $400 to spend, so my choice came down to the price and the specs that I looked at for the Intuos Pro. I look forward to upgrading to a Cintiq see if there is any drastic change in the quantity of the artwork that I produce, which would be interesting. Sometimes I spend 20 to 50 hours painting digitally and illustration. Two examples of this is are below.

The Tablet Made For The Everyday Artist

Are you ready to upgrade your tablet? If you are already an artist using a tablet looking for something better this is the best graphics tablet I recommend for everyday use. As I mentioned earlier the local college this is the primary tablet that they have throughout their digital arts lab.

If you are serious about investing in a tablet for your career add her as a freelance graphic designer, photo retoucher/editorial photographer, and or freelance illustrator you need this tablet. Starting on a budget this tablet doesn’t cost an arm or leg because with just 2 to 3 paychecks you can save enough money to get it while still paying for your other bills.

Yes, we all have bills in needs as adults and if you’re in college you may have expenses for clothes and your survival so you may not have a lot of money to invest in buying $1,000 tablet. This is the perfect tablet for artists building a portfolio to showcase their work. Digital painting is going to only become more popular over the next five, 10, 20 years. Having experience in a tall like this will definitely help if you are taking the career route so work for an entertainment and arts Company.

Top Recommended Tablet: Wacom Intuos Pro Pen and Touch

Best Digital Drawing Tablet For Pro Artists

The Best Digital Drawing Tablet

Wacom Intuos Pro Medium


The Intuos Pro is the best drawing tablet for digital art.

**This was the price at the time I put this article together.

Features & Specifications of The Wacom Intuos Pro
Wacom Intuos Pro Drawing Tablet Specifications
Active Area8.7 x 5.8 inch
Pressure Sensitivity8192 levels
No. of USB Ports 1 Port
Keys Onboard8 customizable ExpressKeys
Wireless CapabilityBuilt-in Bluetooth
Multi-Touch TechnologyYes
Weight1.5 lbs

Pros:

The tablet has as many as 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, multitouch, and built in Bluetooth. It is the most precise and accurate graphics tablet out there. If you like drawing on paper and like the feeling of it I’ve haven’t liked the strokes are not perfectly smooth this drawing tablet captures your hand movement to create a strokes and I realistic manner.

The intuos pro’s Battery free pen is also very comfortable because of the hand-grip it was designed with which is very comfortable. Wacom also sells texture sheets for those looking for a rougher surface to work on or something much smoother.

Equipped with eight customizable keys it also has a radio menu which is referred to as the touch ring. This allows you to be able to scroll, zoom in and out, and rotate your canvas on whatever software you are working on. This menu is also dynamic in allowing you to change your brush sizes or layers.

The tablet is very intuitive to use and highly customizable with the software Wacom provides for desktops. Even the Bluetooth option works flawlessly without any lag remotely. You can literally take the tablet and sit on the couch and work at a distance depending on how big your monitor screen is that you’re working on. You will appreciate how natural using this tablet feels if you are a person still on edge about even creating artwork digitally.

Cons:

The only drawback on this tablet is sometimes I wish I had a on-screen option, but even without this feature I've been able to create some cool artworks. I've had the tablet for over 4 years and have retouched many editorial photographs with it and use it daily to even surf the web. 

All in all, this tablet provides you flexibility in your workflow and doesn't take an overwhelming amount of space.

The Upgrade: My Next Choice For Bigger Art Tablet Budget

Digital Drawing Tablet For Artists

The Upgrade Tablet For Top Insdustry Artists

Wacom Cintiq 13 HD

The best digital art tablet with on screen capability

This tablet is the most intuitive digital art tablet for professional illustrators. With direct on screen features, this tablet is an industry favorite.

**This was the price at the time I put this article together.

Features & Specifications of The Wacom Cintiq 13HD
Wacom Cintiq Drawing Tablet Specifications
Active Area11.75  x 6.75 inch
Pressure Sensitivity2048 levels
No. of USB Ports 3 Ports
Keys Onboard4 Assignable ExpressKeys
Wireless CapabilityNo Bluetooth
Multi-Touch TechnologyYes
Weight2.6 lbs

An Upgrade Tablet For A Professional Art Studio

Pros:

You looking for tablet with direct on screen features? The Wacom Cintiq is the best option for a tablet recommended. With this tablet you can work directly on the screen and tilt the pin to perform very much like your traditional pencils, markers and brushes. The Wacom Cintiq comes with over 8,192 levels and its pressure sensitivity.

This amount of levels allows you to shop variety of lines and you can apply more or less pressure to thicken the lines. It’s incredible to think that she could have that much control and sensitivity with a digital tool. To be honest it’s overwhelming because you will never really noticed how much sensitivity you have but when you work this will take away from you having to change brush sizes manually and also your opacity levels.

This tablet is virtually cordless, the only thing you need is your standard USB port and mini display port to connect to any windows or Mac OS system.

Weighing only 2.64 pounds, the Cintiq HD is one of the lightest and tennis tablets with on screen features around. The dynamic features of this tablet are mine blowing and even with its size ranging from 13 inch to 21 inches it is still portable.

What something with shortcuts and express keys this tablet comes with four user assignable features. The screen resolution for the tablet is also 1920 x 1080 pixels.

Cons:

The only drawback with having a tablet with on screen options is the heating factor of it. Unlike the Intuos pro which you can draw on for 8-12 hours straight the Cintiq does heat up because it is a heavier hardware, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. I have to roll it is almost a mini computer and itself. Not a feature concern is the driver for the Cintiq.

Once in a well you have to update it or it may give you problems which resolved in the driver crashing. The screen on this is equipped with nice LED backlighting, which makes working on it very pleasant. You can also calibrate the display with a color calibrator with its software. It does not have as many buttons as the larger version but is dynamic enough to create great work.

The flaws understand it or extremely small, which in return makes this product excellent with many plus features it has. This tablet/screen hybrid is perfect for industry work for the established artist and illustrator.

Best Digital Drawing Tablet For Photoshop and Painter

Whether you are looking for a tablet for photoshop retouch work or digital illustrations, all of the tablets work well for both software.

Graphic Design vs Digital Art Illustration

What is the difference between graphic design and digital art? Is there a difference?

Digital art is part of graphic design, but animals regards digital art differs in subject matter. Most graphic design work until do use for branding more so than digital art. Although, digital art is part of the process with some graphic design work are composed. For example, something considered graphic design would be a flyer, logo, album cover, brochure and more.

Digital art itself is evolving every year. It has widely grown in the areas of fan art, posterior illustration, character design, and as a form of visual art.

Truly, The difference is so though and purpose I believe is what really separates the two terms from each other. 

Thank you for reading this in-depth tablet review. If you found it helpful and you have made a choice regarding purchasing a tablet. I hope that you will use my website as a source, which helped provided you with a clearer direction and input regarding the best drawing tablet for you.

Kenal Louis Digital Illustrator

Kenal Louis Digital Illustrator

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