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Community Tablet Discussion

Hello! This is a post we've decided to make to help people who are shopping around for digital art tablets. Much of this will rely on user input, along with our own personal recommendations.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced artist, shopping for a tablet can be one of the most individual, confusing experiences out there. There are so many different kinds at different pricepoints, but be aware that as a general rule, tablets are 'get what you pay for'. What you need will depend quite a bit on what you plan to do with it. If you're a casual doodler, you likely won't need a $400 dollar Intuous, much less a $1600 dollar Cintiq.

The first thing to figure out is your personal preference in regards to drawing on a traditional tablet, or if you're more comfortable drawing directly on a screen. Just be aware that the latter options, while lacking the mental disconnect between screen and where you draw that normal tablets have, are often far more expensive. I highly recommend doing everything you can to test between the two types before deciding to make a purchase, but if you are unable to do so there are many cheap traditional tablets you could try just to get a feel for it.

For easy reference, I will refer to the type of tablet that you draw on which is separate from your monitor as a 'traditional' tablet, and the type where you draw on it directly as a 'cintiq-type' (as that's most recognizable for people).

For beginners, here is a small list of cheap, traditional tablets I have heard of that you may wish to try, all under $100:

Monoprice

Huion

Turcom

Wacom Intuous Draw

Wacom Intuous Refurbished

These are small, cheap tablets that would be good for beginners to try while they work to get used to digital art and the disconnect between the tablet and the screen.

If you are an artist who is looking to upgrade from a cheap traditional tablet to something better, my -personal- recommendation based on experience is the Wacom Intuous 4. I took art as a contract job for a website and needed something better than what I had, and have not regretted my purchase since. My only complaint would be the rough surface texture, which will eat through your nibs, but I got around this easily via a screen covers.

The Wacom Intuous series are widely regarded as the best tablets on the market, thus the expense.

There are many options, however, and many artists will go through a couple of tablets before finding one that suits all their needs, so don't be discouraged if it takes you a few tries. It's usually fairly easy to re-sell a lightly used tablet or to donate them if you're feeling generous.

As for cintiq-type tablets, you may be able to try them via display models at stores. Unfortunately, unless you manage to find a good deal for something probably refurbished or heavily used, you are unlikely to find one that won't cost at least a couple hundred dollars, which is a costly gamble to take for something you might not like in the end (I have tried cintiqs and personally didn't care for it, myself). I would definitely recommend at least making a real effort to get used to traditional tablets before giving up, as it can a while. It took me over a year to get the hang of one!

I am now opening the comments for discussion over people's experiences and recommendations for tablets so this can become a post that is a good resource for new and not-new artists! What tablets have you tried? What were the pros and cons? Are you looking for recommendations based on your needs? Go for it.

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Comments

sirmeo
Nov. 9th, 2016 12:16 pm (UTC)
My first ever tablet was a cheap Aiptek tablet they don't even make anymore, so I guess there is little point reviewing it now. It helped me break into using a tablet though, so I recommend getting a cheap-o tablet if you have never had one before just to see how it works out for you! I know many people who went and bought an expensive Wacom tablet and ended up not liking using a tablet.

I've had Trust Slimline - another cheap tablet, worked okay but nothing special. It was almost impossible to draw a straight line on these two tablets, but they were "fine" for their time.

My current love is this - http://www.ebay.com/itm/UK-1X-UGEE-M708-14x8-Tablette-Graphique-Art-Conception-ultra-mince-ecran-large-/191756301069?hash=item2ca590f30d:g:d9QAAOSwnH1WZ~6U
It's a "generic", very affordable tablet. Mine is "UGEE" but I know it's been re-branded under several different names... Parblo seems to be one, but I know there is at least one another name this tablet goes under.
- I find this tablet to be really good. Like really good -- easily the best tablet I've used, and I also have a small Wacom bamboo and have used Intuos in school, and I find that this table definitely matches the quality on those tablets. Might even be better.
- The tablet has 2048 pressure levels which is... okay.
- The tablet is also surprisingly sturdy -- I've piled stuff on it, spilled milk and food on it and only needed to change the cable one time.
- Tablet has 8 programmable buttons. I never use them, but they do work (at least in their default settings) in case you need them.
- The price. Did I mention the price? You can get one for 50-60 euros easily. Very affordable for those on budget or just looking for a tablet to mess around with occasionally.

- For downsides I have to say that finding replacement pens is somewhat hard -- if you break your pen, you might end up with a replacement pen that just doesn't "feel" the same your last pen did. And as with all "generic" tablets, drivers can get gimmicky and annoying. Also I'm using a PC so I don't know how this works with Mac. I've used this table successfully with W8, W8.1 and W10.
Sometimes some programs (like World of Warcraft) can cause my pen pressure to stop working, but simply restarting my art program has always fixed this.
- Also, many (all?) non-Wacom tablets use batteries for their pens, so you need to always have a fresh supply of AAA around just in case. If your tablet becomes funky all of a sudden, always try changing your pen battery before doing anything else, low-battery pens can be an... experience :P I've heard some brands use rechargeable pens now, but mine needs batteries. The battery usage is not bad though, they do last a long time.


If you are new to tablets or just want to upgrade your older cheap tablet, I definitely recommend this tablet.

_

Also, I have a general tip:
Do not get a "small" tablet unless you know what you're doing. I know they're cheaper and thus attractive "first tablet", but seriously, do yourself a favor and get one that's sized A4-ish. Working on A5 (or SMALLER... I once had a work place tablet that was like A6 tops) strains your hand more, I've found out.
If you have tendency to get sore wrists when working, and have a small tablet, please try out a bigger tablet!

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