Best Drawing Tablets for Beginners – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

In the days before computers, the artist was quite content with a selection of pens or brushes, some paper or canvas, and a good deal of patience. These days, how things have changed! Drawing tablets are all the rage, and offer up an alternative way to produce art.

Of course, many traditionalists will scorn them, but it’s worth at least understanding the benefits they offer. You never know, it could be a revelation!

In this article, we’re going to go deep into the benefits of using one, the key considerations when buying one, and finally, we’ll share some of our favorites that are currently available.

Let’s crack on then!

At a Glance: Our Choice Of The 5 Best Drawing Tablets For Beginners On The Market

Note: The links above take you to more information, current prices, and customer reviews on Amazon. If you do purchase something we get a small commission, which has absolutely no effect on the eventual price that you pay.

Here’s what we cover in this article:

What is a Drawing Tablet?

A drawing tablet is an electronic tablet-sized device that you draw on by hand, using a stylus. The stylus looks like a pen and the pressure-sensitive tip allows you to draw subtle variations in lightness or darkness, depending on the pressure applied, resembling the experience of drawing with a real pen. Many artists are surprised just how good some of these machines are these days.

There are two main types. Those that have no screen and are simply a surface you draw on with the stylus. With these, the image is sent to a computer so you’ll need a Mac or PC. Manufacturer Huion calls these ‘pen tablets’.

The other type is (often called a ‘graphics tablet’) and lets you see what you’re drawing right in front of you on the tablet screen. For this reason, they’re more versatile, better for traveling and using ‘on the move’ but they’re obviously more expensive. Huion calls these ‘pen displays’.

Why Use a Tablet?

Still on the fence as to whether a tablet is the way to go? Need more convincing? Ok, here goes…

Better Art

You read it correctly, it might help you make better art.

A tablet is a whole new creative challenge to get your head around, and with that, it will force you to learn new skills. Because this new medium is so different, you will likely stumble across some forms of art you hadn’t tried before, such as photo manipulation or video editing.

This is especially helpful you’re in a lull, and lacking inspiration. A change-up in drawing medium might be just the ticket to get you out of your comfort zone and bring out your best art.

Time-Saving

Traditional art, whether you’re in a studio or with an easel outside, involves a lot of setup tasks. You need to mix paints, blend colors, restock paper, etc. A tablet drastically reduces a lot of that extra preparation time, letting you focus on creating your art (which is the most important thing, right).

Plus there are so many things tablets do quickly. For example, stuff like shading-in is really time-consuming. With a good tablet, it can be sped up dramatically. Instead of having to carefully shade in an area, with a tablet, it’s as simple as using the paint bucket tool and filling in the area.

Or let’s say you have a particular object you want to repeat. Rather than having to painstakingly copy by hand, you can copy and paste, just as you would on a computer.

Other time-saving features include express keys (also known as hotkeys) that let you set up shortcuts for common commands.

Erasing

Another time-saving device, but such an important one we thought it deserved to be called out on its own.

It goes without saying that when you’re drawing with ink, what you draw stays. There’s no undo. When you’re using good quality coloring markers or expensive paints, making a mistake can be a costly affair. Even with a pencil, you can get a slight smudge if you erase too much. The good thing about a tablet is you can undo every single stroke.

Interestingly, this gives you more artistic license as you can’t really mess up.

Limitless Tools

With a tablet, the options are limitless for the type of drawing medium. Whether it’s brush, marker, or charcoal and pastels you want, the stylus will often have it (the better models obviously have the bigger selection of tools).

This really frees you up if you do mixed media art too, as you don’t need a ton of supplies at your disposal. They’re all there electronically.

Buyer’s Tips: Key Considerations

Size

They come in different sizes: small, medium, and large. You should choose based on the type of art you like to make. Choose a larger size if you enjoy drawing large, sweeping motions and continuous lines (such as in life drawing), the extra space will make it much easier to do.

Smaller tablets on the other hand are fine if you like drawing intricate details but they are easier to carry around, obviously.

Stylus Pressure Sensitivity

When you’re drawing with a pen display tablet, the amount of thickness and transparency you get is controlled by the amount of pressure you apply. It tends to be that the higher the pressure sensitivity, the more responsive and natural the stylus will be.

The better tablets offer from 2048 to over 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, for a proper silky smooth drawing experience.

Screen Resolution

Screens vary in quality, using a metric called ‘LPI’ which stands for ‘lines per inch’. This tells you how many lines fit into an inch on your tablet’s screen.

The higher the LPI and better and sharper the image quality will be.

Best Drawing Tablets For Beginners – Product Round-up & Reviews

1. Huion H420

Huion H420 USB Graphics Drawing Tablet Board Kit

Click to learn more / buy from Amazon

This smaller drawing tablet is perfect for any beginner wishing to have a play around with this new technology. At 4×2 inches, its screen size is big enough to get an idea of how to use a drawing tablet and create some basic pictures. Huion is a great brand that has created a budget drawing pad that is compatible with all of the major graphics applications.

PROS

  • Excellent price
  • Not intimidating for beginners
  • Comes with a carry case and glove

CONS

  • Truly for beginners, anyone used to drawing pads may want more
  • Very small screen size (although great for kids)

Let’s take a look at this product…


2. Wacom Intuos Draw CTL490DW

Wacom Intuos Draw (Old Version)

Click to learn more / buy from Amazon

The Wacom brand is famous for creating some of the most popular drawing tablets, so it’s of no surprise it makes an entry in the list. The Intuos has a screen size of 8 x 6.7 inches, making it a bit larger than the H420 but still considered a compact tablet. The pen used is pressure sensitive, the harder you press the thicker lines you will get on screen. The four express keys are especially useful as a quick button to undo/cut/copy/paste makes your life as an artist much easier.

PROS

  • Still a great price for a drawing tablet
  • Comes with online tutorials, perfect for beginners
  • Tablet looks good, crisp design

CONS

  • More expensive than Huion
  • Works best with larger monitor screens
  • Tutorials are needed

Let’s take a look at this product…


3. Ugee M1000L

UGEE M708 V2 Graphics Drawing Tablet, 10 x 6 Inch Large Drawing Tablet, 8192 Levels Pressure Battery-Free Pen Stylus, 8 Hotkeys, Compatible with Windows 10/8/7 Mac Os Artist, Designer, Amateur

Click to learn more / buy from Amazon

I know I said to keep it small to medium for beginners, but the Ugee is too much of a good thing at a good price to miss out. A large drawing area of 10 x 6 inches gives you plenty of room to create a masterpiece for a very reasonable price. With 8 customisable keys and a pressure sensitive pen that with a click turns into an eraser, the Ugee is quite brilliant even if it is big.

PROS

  • Pen that becomes eraser, not all drawing tablets have this
  • 8 user-defined keys
  • Excellent price for beginners

CONS

  • Very large screen might be too much for beginners
  • Pen requires AAA battery, not rechargeable
  • No bag or other accessories come with this price

Let’s take a look at this product…


4. Wacom Bamboo One CTL471

Wacom Bamboo One CTL471 Drawing Pen Small Tablet for Windows and Mac including Black Standard Nibs

Click to learn more / buy from Amazon

The Wacom brand is known for making high-quality drawing tablets and the Bamboo line is arguably their most popular product. With a drawing area of just under 6 x 4 inches, the sleek design of the Bamboo looks and feels like a quality tablet. The accuracy of the stylus is very good and reliable meaning you can use strokes of the pen as if you would a brush with no problem.

PROS

  • Trusted brand
  • Battery-free pen
  • Good price for the accuracy you get

CONS

  • Pen can’t be an eraser
  • USB connected only
  • More expensive than others

5. Artisul D10

Artisul D13-13.3' LCD Graphics Tablet with Display + Freestyle Stand Bundle

Click to learn more / buy from Amazon

Readers, I know these are all for beginners but some may want to spend the money and get something wonderful straight away. This is where the Artisul comes in. My expensive pick of the list has everything you could want; a fully HD display, accurate and realistic strokes, pressure sensitivity, customizable keys and it feels great to hold. For any beginners who have a higher budget, this is for you.

PROS

  • Wonderful screen
  • Excellent accuracy
  • Feels great to hold and work on

CONS

  • Expensive
  • USB connected
  • Large 10” screen might be too much

Let’s take a look at this product…

So, Which Should I Buy?

My overall winner would have to be the Wacom Intuos. It’s around the same price as the Ugee and Bamboo but it seems a lot more user-friendly. Yes, the Huion is great for price but the Intuos has the accuracy for the higher price.

The Artisul is a great product but for many beginners spending that amount is too much to try out a product. Wacom Intuos gets my vote for the best drawing tablets for beginners!

Kara Mars