If you're new to digital drawing, you'll quickly want to make your life easier with a graphics tablet. Here are our recommendations.
If the traditional graphic arts still have a bright future ahead of them, the democratization of computers has brought with it the popularization of digital drawing. And as with any form of art, it is important to choose the right tools. And the good old graphics tablet is a good solution to get started without breaking the bank. Works with any Windows or Mac PC, it replaces the mouse with a stylus for more precise drawing, while giving you access to many styles of "brushes".
The market is rich in choice, but no worries! We have been looking for the most interesting models of the moment. So you just have to find inspiration (and on this point, we can not really help).Note that if you are looking for a more versatile alternative, touch tablets are more and more interesting. Not only do they have a very good screen, but they are portable, stand-alone and the software ecosystem is now very successful, especially on iPadOS. The best choice for us is the iPad Pro 12,9 M1, but you can find alternatives in our tablet buying guide.
And if you need a good PC to run your favorite authoring software, we invite you to visit our laptop guide.
A major player in the market, Wacom has long proven its expertise 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 7-inch work surface for a weight of 249 g. You will understand, it is far from cumbersome on a desk and it can easily slip into a bag when traveling. Especially since it works directly in Bluetooth, which allows you to skip cables when connecting to a computer.
Wacom Intuos S Bluetooth
Despite its dimensions, the Wacom Intuos S Bluetooth is no less precise. Its customizable stylus supports 4 different pressure levels for detailed tracing. And with only 096 freely programmable buttons, the Wacom Intuos S Bluetooth is very easy to use, whether you are right-handed or left-handed. Not to mention that it comes with three free drawing software: Corel Painter Essentials 4, Corel Aftershot 6, Clip Studio Paint Pro. Finally, its price, which hovers around a hundred euros, makes it a particularly attractive tablet for beginners.
Find the Wacom Inuos S Bluetooth at 85 euros at Amazon
Ergonomics seem 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, 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 is easily adjusted for drawing with the left hand. Not content with understanding 8 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 skips Bluetooth, relying on a classic USB cable, it is generous with regard to the physical buttons. The Huion H610 Pro V2 thus has 8, which can be programmed to give you access to 16 different shortcuts. And here again, the price not exceeding a hundred euros is particularly interesting for those who are new to digital drawing.Discover the Huion H610 Pro V2 at 59 euros
If entry-level models have shown their limits and you're not interested in a model with a display, the Intuos Pro is right for you. Compared to the classic Intuos, it has a larger work surface for it and above all offers a size L which exceeds the A4 format. In return, 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, useful for optimizing your workflow. Connectivity side, it's complete: you have the choice between Bluetooth or USB-C.
Among the new functions, we 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 the best in terms of tablet without screen, only the high price may cool some.Find the Wacom Intuos Pro S for € 230 at Fnac Find the Wacom Intuos Pro Medium for € 380 at Amazon
Let's go straight to the real (and only) downside of this graphics tablet: its price. The Wacom Cintiq 16 can often be found at a price of around 600 euros. One may wonder what justifies such a high price, 2, 3 or even 4 times higher than a classic 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 Full HD definition screen of the Wacom Cintiq 16 offers an excellent display surface, while reproducing colors fairly faithfully thanks to good calibration. Calibration which, by the way, adapts to many types of external displays. 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 pressure levels and makes the latency almost imperceptible. A good thing that would almost make us forget that we draw on a graphics tablet.Find out more about the Wacom Cintiq 16 at 599 euros
If you want a much larger workspace, we recommend that 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 the same. Be careful though, it will take a lot more space on your desk!Find the Wacom Cintiq 22 for 999 € at Amazon
Screen tablets are convenient, but they are complicated to transport and often require a dedicated power supply which makes them inconvenient to move. 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 function, a compromise which 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's nice to use, but only supports 2048 pressure levels where most of the competition is more at 8192 levels. The 13,3-inch panel adopts a Full HD resolution and offers a 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.Find the XP-PEN Artist 13.3 Pro for 330 € at Amazon
As with a computer, mouse, keyboard or screen, it is important to take several points into consideration when choosing your graphics tablet.
There are three types of graphics tablets. The so-called “classic” tablet is the most common. 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. Next came tablets with screens. More expensive and cumbersome, the latter nevertheless allow better supervision of the current project. Be sure to calibrate the built-in screen, however. Finally, the “scanner” tablet is rarer. It allows you to digitize and vectorize a paper drawing.
In our opinion, four essential points should be checked before purchasing 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 to the drawing. No need to take a large tablet if the work area is only a quarter of the device. Conversely, a small tablet which gives pride of place to its drawing surface will tend to sacrifice the physical buttons.
- Ergonomics. A touchscreen tablet can be complicated to learn, it is essential that you have all the keys in hand to learn how to use it quickly and especially without (too much) constraints. An abundance of physical buttons will quickly get you lost. To start, favor tablets that do not embed more than 8 buttons. Likewise, be aware that a tablet with a screen is often heavier and more bulky than a traditional tablet.
- The precision. The stylus is just as important as the tablet itself. The more pressure a stylus can take, the more precise your stroke will be. Below 3 levels, better to avoid.
- 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. Likewise, make sure your drawing software supports your graphics tablet.
Drawing on a graphics tablet does not provide the same experience as traditional drawing, which can be confusing for the first few 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. However, a battery-less stylus (also known as a “passive” stylus) can 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 reward you with a better technique of drawing. To draw better, nothing replaces constant and often long training.