A mouse and keyboard are the only input devices most computer-users need. However, graphic designers and computer artists often use additional hardware like drawing tablets. These devices let every level of artist work more fluidly with digital media by drawing on a pad or screen to create digital artwork. Primarily designed for use by professionals, some of these devices can be very expensive while other models are more affordable, for.
These pen tablets for graphic designers offer the best pen sensitivity, many of them having up to 2048 levels of pressure that can be detected. This lets an artist adjust pressure to control line width and weight, making it ideal for a wide range of artistic projects. These models also have the best surface areas to work on, including large regions up to 27 inches across. You also get great secondary usability features with these tablets such as controls and shortcuts, touch-input by hand, or even display screens that show the artist what’s currently being worked on.
This is pretty much the most expensive tablet on the market, but for good reason. It has a 27-inch HD touch-sensitive display screen which you use the pen directly on to create your work. You can enter commands using buttons on a remote or by touching the screen itself, and the included pen has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity. Read Full Review
The Cintiq 27QHD Touch has pretty much every feature an artist could want from a drawing tablet which starts with the drawing surface itself. On many tablets, the drawing area is a pad that you draw on while looking at a separate computer screen to see the results. With practice, this can become comfortable but isn’t quite ideal. However, the Cintiq 27QHD Touch has a drawing pad that is a high-resolution 27-inch HD screen designed to display exceptionally true colors during the creative process.
This tablet works with a wide range of graphics software, including just about all industry standard programs and is compatible with both Macs and PCs. Due to its large size, it includes a support stand which you can position in a number of ways. The touch-sensitive screen lets you navigate and move around your work with ease, plus there’s an included remote with numerous buttons and inputs. The only real downside to this model is its very high price but there is another version, the Cintiq 27QHD, which doesn’t include touch commands and is priced somewhat lower.
This is a good choice for any artist interested in moving beyond a mouse when creating digital artwork. It's much less expensive than the Cintiq 27QHD Touch but also includes fewer features. You still get a stylus with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, a 9x12 work area, and a mouse and tablet buttons for additional input and controls. Read Full Review
Genius offers a number of different models at a range of prices, but the G-Pen M912A is one of the best ones to start with. It is quite large in size, with about a 9-inch by 12-inch work area. This area is a basic tablet without a display screen, but it still works very well. The pen also includes a stand, so that you can place it close by when not in use without having to worry about misplacing it.
There are several buttons on the tablet you can use to navigate your work, as well as an included wireless mouse that works without batteries and lets you easily interact with your graphics program of choice. The included pen with this tablet has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, just as much as far more expensive models, giving you great control over line weight and detail. This tablet works with Windows and Mac as well as supporting a wide range of graphics software.
While the Wacom Cintiq series of drawing tablets may be the dream model for most professionals, the Intuos Pro Medium is a great device for someone just beginning professional work. This is a standard tablet pad, rather than a display, but it includes 2048 levels of sensitivity and a 9x15 work area. There are even a few other sizes available if you want a smaller or larger option. Read Full Review
For most graphic designers and digital artists, this is a much more reasonably priced model than something like the Wacom Cintiq 27QHD Touch tablet. The pads on these tablets work well, though they aren’t displays that show off your artwork as it’s being created. However, once you’re used to looking at a screen and moving your hand on a separate surface, these tablets work very well.
The pen included with this tablet is quite sensitive and precise with 2048 levels of pressure, letting you adjust the line weight of your work by pushing down harder or softer on it. The frame of the tablet includes several customizable buttons and a button-ring that can be pressed in four different directions which you can set to perform different commands in your favorite applications; the work area also functions with finger-touch commands. There are also small and large sizes available, but the medium provides the best combination of size and value.
This is not necessarily a professional drawing tablet, but it is a great first model for someone just starting off with digital artwork. It is available at a very reasonable price and still provides some pretty good overall functionality thanks to four hot keys, several shortcut keys, and a pen with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity. Although other models might have more features, this is a great place to start as a new professional or art student. Read Full Review
This is a pretty bare-bones drawing tablet which is perfectly usable if not terribly exciting. It does not have a display screen or wireless remote, and the drawing area on the pad itself is fairly small at about 6 by 10-inches. The included pen is quite good with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, as much as you’ll find with far more expensive tablets. There are four programmable buttons on the device itself and 16 function keys along the top of the pad, which you can use to navigate software and manipulate your work. This tablet supports Windows and Mac, plus you can use it with a wide range of graphics programs. What this model lacks in features it definitely makes up for in price and ease of use. The suggested retail price on this device is a fraction of the cost of many other tablets and well within the budget of most aspiring artists.
This is an ideal option if you’re looking to try out a pen tablet without spending a lot of money. The work area is a bit small at just about 2x4 and you don’t get any shortcut keys or programmable buttons, but the work area allows finger-input to navigate your work. While professionals may find this one too limited in terms of features, it's a great choice for a student or someone looking to develop his or her digital art skills. Read Full Review
This is a wireless tablet that works for both right or left-handed artists and it’s very easy to set up and use. One of the best features on this tablet is that the work area is sensitive to a number of different finger-inputs. You can use your hand and make various gestures on the pad to scroll, zoom, and otherwise navigate through your work. The included pen has only 512 pressure levels, which is much less than professional models include, but is great for someone starting off with digital art who wants to learn to use a tablet. You don't get a digital screen or other fancy features with this tablet but the reasonable price point makes it a great art tablet for first-timers.