The graphic tablet is a fantastic and practically essential element for any design professional, whether a graphic designer, illustrator, architect…
It’s essential because in the digital and immediate world in which we live today, the fact of working an image directly in the way you want changes everything. The traditional way involves scanning or photographing the work and retouching it afterwards.
I have been using a graphic tablet since 2003, when I bought a medium size Wacom Sapphire, of which I have very good memories. Currently I work with a Huion and I am also happy.
It is true that I have never stopped drawing and painting with traditional methods, but the graphic tablet is for me an essential element. To make illustrations for websites, printed catalogs or animations, or for preparatory sketches, photomontages, retouching illustrations and paintings.
Anyway, keep in mind that no matter how much you buy an expensive graphic tablet, you will make the difference if you have acquired fluency and consistency in the stroke, whatever your style is. The work of a great illustrator with a small 35 euro tablet will always be much better than that of someone who has just started but has a tablet with a 25 inch screen and a value of 3,000 euros.
- 1 Types of graphic tablets
- 1.1 Graphics tablets for beginners
- 1.2 Tablet for professional drawing without screen
- 1.3 Professional graphics tablets for on-screen drawing
- 1.4 Portable graphic tablet
- 1.5 Accessories for graphics tablets
- 1.6 Graphic tablets for children
- 2 Top digitizer tablet brands
- 2.1 Wacom graphics tablets
- 2.2 Huion Graphics Tablets
- 2.3 XP-Pen graphic tablets
- 2.4 Ugee graphic tablets
- 2.5 Gaomon graphics tablets
- 2.6 Parblo graphics tablets
- 3 Frequently asked questions about graphics tablets
- 3.1 Difference between graphics tablets with screen and without screen
- 3.2 Is there any graphics tablet with screen but cheap?
- 3.3 What advantages does the graphic tablet have over traditional painting?
- 3.4 What is the difference between traditional painting and graphic tablets?
Types of graphic tablets
(beginners / professional without screen / professional with screen / portable / complements / children)
Graphics tablets for beginners
If you do not plan to make drawings very often or very elaborate, or if you are a teacher and want a more comfortable way beyond the mouse to give classes, probably a simple tablet of about 50€ will be enough for you. Moreover, within the different sizes available, it is likely that a Small (10’5 x 15 cm / 4 x 6 inches) will be enough for you and you do not need a Medium size (15 x 21 cm / 6 x 8.2 inches).
In recent years, the HUION brand has made a strong impact with digitizer tablets in a very affordable product range. The tablets of the Inspiroy series are a good example of this, since many of them do not even exceed 50 €.
HUION HS64 | XP-PEN G640 | PARBLO A610 Plus | GAOMON M10K2018 | HUION 1060 Plus | One de Wacom | Ugee M708
Tablet for professional drawing without screen
If you are taking your first steps in the world of illustration or design and you think that the thing is going to have more travel even intermittently, I think it’s worth at least buy a Medium size and spend between 70 and 90 € at least. Apart from the price -that sometimes from a small to a medium size does not go up much-, something that I have agreed with illustration professionals and that they already commented since the first graphic tablets came out, was the importance of working on a medium surface minimum (15 x 21 cms / 6 x 8.2 inches).
With small size tablets it is more uncomfortable to draw because there is a big disproportion between the surface of the tablet and the surface of the computer monitor. Then, two factors to take into account; the amount of sensitivity points when pressing the pencil on the surface is something to take into account, as well as the degree of inclination of the pencil on which the pencil keeps drawing.
Ugee S1060W | Huion Inspiroy H1161 | XP-Pen Star 06 | Gaomon M1220 | XP_Pen Deco PRO M | Wacom Intuos Medium | Wacom Intuos PRO M
Professional graphics tablets for on-screen drawing
Although I have been many years with graphic tablets without screen and I have felt very comfortable and light doing professional work, if you are serious about digital illustration and you have the resources to afford it, it is a fantastic option to have a digitizing tablet with screen.
Gaomon pd 1161 11.6 | Huion Kamvas Pro 13 | Aibesy Ugee 2159 21’5” | XP-Pen Artist 13.3 Pro | Huion Kamvas Pro 20 | Wacom Cintiq 16 | Wacom Cintiq pro 16 dth
Portable graphic tablet
These digitizer tablets are those that, in addition to having a screen, do not need to be connected to the power supply or to a computer.
The reality is that there are not many models with these characteristics, and those that we find do not have a battery with many hours of autonomy.
Simbans picasso tab
Accessories for graphics tablets
Other aspects to take into account are also the support for graphic tablets, since, for example, in the case of graphic tablets with screen, it is much more comfortable to work with the screen tilted and many models come without support.
It is also essential in all of them the glove that protects the surface of the tablet from direct contact with the skin of the hand.
Finally, it is also necessary to take into account possible screen protectors, as with mobile devices.
Graphic tablets for children
Here we would almost be talking about toys, and the most remarkable of these features are the digital boards of the Homestec brand, most of which do not even reach 20 euros.
Of course, we are talking about very simple products, which although they have a screen on which to color with a digital pencil, do not look for nuances in the sensitivity of the pressure or wide ranges of colors in the image. We are talking about the simplest products on the market, whether for writing or for less sophisticated drawings.
Top digitizer tablet brands
The following are the six specialized graphics tablet brands that dominate the international market at the moment: Wacom, Huion, Xp-Pen, Ugee, Gaomon and Parblo.
Wacom graphics tablets
They have been in the business the longest. They were born in 1983 in Otone, Japan.
Their name Wacom is the Japanese contraction of the words “Wa” (harmony or circle) and “Komu” (computer).
It is the historical reference both for their most recent competitors and for all of us who have been users of graphic tablets for the last two decades. Until not so long ago, they were the best because there were no others. Nowadays they have to work very hard to stay strong because they have better and better competition.
It must be said that precisely because of this long journey in the market and because of the affection we end up keeping for everything we know better, there are many professionals and companies that are wary of using other models that are not Wacom. And the fact is that many of us started in the 2000s with Wacom, and at that time I don’t remember there being anything else.
Among its models, the Intuos is already a classic and a fantastic tablet. And in even higher ranges, the Cintiq model has a huge pull and is used in companies like Audi or Volvo and in the very studios of Pixar.
Wacom One | Wacom Intuos Small | Wacom Intuos Medium | Wacom Intuos PRO M | Wacom One Creative Pen Display de 13’3 | Wacom PTH 860 Intuos PRO | Wacom Cintiq 16 | Wacom Cintiq pro 16 dth | Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 16”
Huion Graphics Tablets
Huion is a Chinese company that was born in 2007 and is headquartered in the city of Shenzhen, China. Like the other brands shown here, it specializes in graphics tablets, which in our opinion is a good thing as it allows to concentrate all resources on a single product and make it as good as possible.
In 2010 it became the leading company in China exporting products in this category and is currently present in more than 50 countries.
Huion’s devices are good value for money and they have a wide range of graphics tablets for all those who are starting out and don’t have a big budget but need certain features. Many of their tablets have a sleek and slim design as well as a light and manageable weight. They are easy to store and easy to carry.
Although there are much better graphics tablets out there, I currently use the Huion Inspiroy 1161. I am happy with it and that is why I have put it above as a professional graphics tablet.
Huion H640P | Huion HS610 | Huion H1060P | Huion Kamvas Pro 13 | Huion Kamvas 13 | Huion Kamvas Pro 13 | Huion Kamvas 20 | Huion Kamvas Pro 16
XP-Pen graphic tablets
XP-Pen technology Co. is Japanese like Wacom. It started in 2005 and has been expanding. They also have very good value for money devices and are currently on par with Huion and Wacom.
It is a brand specialized only in graphic tablets and its main purpose and motto is that creators let themselves be carried away by them in an essential but fascinating transition from traditional painting to the digital era.
XP-PEN G640 | XP-PEN Deco 01 | XP-PEN Deco 01 V2 | XP-PEN Deco Pro | XP-PEN Artist 12 HD IPS | XP-PEN Artist 12 Pro | XP-Artist 15.6 Pro | XP-PEN Innovator 16
Ugee graphic tablets
Ugee tablets are characterized above all by their practicality. State-of-the-art design and user-friendliness are the hallmarks of UGEE, sometimes even ahead of its competitors.
Its models can be used on PC, MAC and Windows. They are easy to use even if you are just starting out, they have quality and their stroke is sensitive and comfortable.
They usually have a large screen surface and good resolutions even in their cheapest models, with more than 5000 lines per inch.
The most outstanding feature of Ugee is its quality-price ratio. An excellent choice if you don’t have a big budget but don’t want something too simple.
Ugee S640 | Ugee S1060 | Ugee M708 | Ugee S1060W | Ugee aibesy 1910B 19” | Ugee aibesy 2150 21’5”
Gaomon graphics tablets
This company became known in the Chinese market from 2011 and made the leap to the international market from 2016 with the GAOMON S56K.
The Gaomon brand offers very good value for money and that makes that even and being a young company is one of those that have more and more recognition and sales within the market of digitizer tablets.
They are an option to consider if you are looking for a tablet with a screen with good performance but you do not want to spend a lot of money.
Gaomon S620 | Gaomon M10K Pro | Gaomon M1220 | Gaomon PD1161 | Gaomon PD1561 | Gaomon PD2200
Parblo graphics tablets
The truth is that not much is known yet about this company born in 2015 in the same city in China as Huion, Shenzhen.
In their favor they have that they are specialized in graphics tablets and that they provide products of different price ranges aimed at different users, whether beginners or professionals. It should be said that the Parblo Coast 10 is selling very well. Right now it is not available on Amazon or Aliexpress.
Some of their most popular devices are:
Parblo A640 | Parblo A610 PLUS V2 | Parblo Ninos 6 x 4” | Parblo A610 V2 | Parblo A610 Pro
Frequently asked questions about graphics tablets
Difference between graphics tablets with screen and without screen
Well, the first thing is to point out that in the second case there is a screen but it is the computer monitor. That is to say, it is drawn by remote control. Personally this is the type of graphics tablets that I have used the most and I must say that you get used to draw “remote control” so to speak.
Another difference is the price. For while in the case of graphics tablets without screen you have fairly inexpensive options, in the case of graphics tablets with screen the price goes up quite a bit. There are few graphics tablets with screen under 250€.
Is there any graphics tablet with screen but cheap?
Huion kamvas Pro 13’’ | Gaomon PD 1161 11’6” | X-Pen Artist 12 HD | Aibesy Ugee 1910B 19”
What advantages does the graphic tablet have over traditional painting?
1- Infinite margin of error. The first advantage is that if you make a mistake when painting, you always have the option to go back. Just hit Control Z or the corresponding command and the mistake magically disappears. Painting with watercolor, for example, when you get it wrong you can throw the work away. And with charcoal or pencil three quarters of the same. In gouache, acrylic and oil painting mistakes can be corrected, but even so, sometimes it is very difficult to fix, correct or disguise some things.
2- No editing time. The second is that you have the image exactly as you want it at all times. This does not happen with traditional illustration because when you scan or take a photo of the original it is likely that you will have to edit it a bit in many cases. Here you see on screen what you want to see from the beginning.
3- The feeling of freedom. The possibilities offered by the fact of being able to change brushes so easily or design it to your liking, to zoom in or out at will in tenths of a second, as well as the ability to add and mix drawing with textures and photos and edit and manipulate everything to infinity. Everything that this way of working with a graphic tablet and digital photo editing offers makes it an incredible and fascinating technique for an artist.
What is the difference between traditional painting and graphic tablets?
I would say that for creative artists, there are two main disadvantages to tablet-based works, although one of them seems to have been solved.
Until NFT files started to be marketed, it was always said that not having an original for sale took the fun out of digitally produced artwork. The fact is that as an artist, when you make any work with traditional techniques, you always have an original that has a higher value than any subsequent reproduction. Why? Because the original is not replicable, it is an unrepeatable work.
Until recently, any work you made with the graphic tablet could be reproduced to infinity either by distributing jpeg files or printing TIFF files in print shop to satiety. There would be no difference between one file and another and anyone could have them. Now, with NFT files, with their difficult to hack and manipulate structure, it seems that the romanticism of having an original or non-replicable piece remains. In the end it is another way of digitizing the economy or, in other words, a new safeguard for capital.
The other problem that the graphic tablet has for me, and this in the day to day life of many artists is more significant than the previous one, is that it does not replace the grace of getting your hands dirty and using more palpable methods. Here I include the discomfort of many hours sitting and many hours looking at a screen, in a time when almost all of our lives are spent between screens. Painting pictures I can look up more and feel freer to sit, move around a bit or stand. Physically it is much more appreciated.
Thank you for reading this guide on graphic tablets. If drawing and traditional painting is your world, you may be interested in this comparative guide to 8 brands of professional oil paints.