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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

talentedfool
Nov. 10th, 2016 10:26 pm (UTC)
tl;dr

PROS:
+ Affordable (as long as you're within a cheap shipping company)
+ Customer support WAS incredibly friendly and prompt in responding
+ As long as it's working, it's a very competent tablet, and fine for first-time users

CONS:
- The cost of shipping in certain non-NA countries basically makes it the same price overall as just buying a WACOM
- As a smaller company, if you run into problems, you're less likely to find any kind of support or answer by looking around online - WACOM, as a more prevalent product, just has a lot more information to help you already out there
- Drivers sometimes just do not work and you are forced to use third party ones, sometimes multiple
- While understandable as a cheaper alternative, I just don't feel it's quite as good as WACOM, and if you're someone who is used to WACOM, there is a feeling of dissonance that's hard to get over



In the end, I do feel there is a reason WACOM is the leading brand in tablets. While I HAVE had issues with my Bamboo in the past, a) I was able to quickly resolve them thanks to a lot of information on google, and b) I have NEVER had ANY issues with my Intuos Fun since I got it. Not a single issue, and very easy and pain-free install.

I cannot recommend getting a Monoprice. I just cannot.

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