Best Tablets for Art Students

Best Drawing Tablet For Beginners:

The first thing that you need to do when it comes to choosing a tablet for beginners is to choose one which will suit your needs. You have different requirements depending upon what kind of work you are going to perform on the tablet. If you want to draw simple lines then a pen and paper would be suitable. However if you want to create complex designs or drawings, then a tablet would be better suited. There are various types of tablets available today.

Some of them are styluses, pressure sensitive pens, touch screens and so on. All these types of tablets have their own advantages and disadvantages. So before making up your mind about which type of tablet to buy, you must decide whether you require a stylus or not.

Stylus: These are used to draw with a brush. They are usually small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. A stylus can be very useful for those who cannot use a pen due to physical limitations such as children, seniors, or people with poor eyesight.

Pen: Pens are generally used for writing letters or notes on pieces of paper. Pen is used mainly for copying out things from books or magazines.

Touch screens: These are the latest addition to the family of tablets. They act and work on the same principal as a smart phone or a tab. They react to your touch and assist you in interacting with whatever is displayed on that screen.

These are the three main types of tablets which are used mainly for drawing and sketching purposes.

Why You Should Buy A Tablet Instead Of A Laptop:

Before you set out to buy a drawing tablet, you might be wondering why you should buy one at all.

Wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper to just get a laptop?

Well this really comes down to personal preference. There are benefits to both devices. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.

Portability:

Laptops: This is probably the main reason why most people like laptops more. They are easy to carry around and most of them have long lasting batteries. For most students who need to travel from class to class or for professionals who travel a lot, portability is a key factor when choosing their device.

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Tablets: While tablets are getting smaller and lighter every year, they still cannot beat the portability of a laptop. Unless you buy a tablet with a dedicated keyboard (See our article on the Best 2 in 1 Tablets) you will have to carry around a separate keyboard if you want to take notes quickly and efficiently.

Connectivity:

Laptops: Due to their size and components, laptops come equipped with all kinds of ports and connections. This allows you to easily connect to projectors, external monitors and a host of other devices.

Tablets: Due to their size limitations, tablets do not have very many connection options. You are pretty much limited to WiFi and Bluetooth. While this is enough for most people, others who require more connectivity may want to check out a laptop instead.

Durability:

Laptops: With the exception of the screens, laptops are pretty durable devices. The metal and plastic construction makes them feel solid and secure. The hardware inside is also very resistant to shocks and other hazards.

Tablets: They might be sturdy, but tablets have more exposed and delicate internal parts. A drop or two might be all it takes to break the device.

Strength:

Laptops: If you need a machine that can handle heavy workloads, a laptop is a much better choice than a tablet. With extra memory and processing power, a laptop can handle processor and GPU intensive tasks with ease.

Tablets: While they can run fairly powerful software, tablets just cannot match the strength and rigor of a laptop. If you need a machine that can really push the limits of its hardware, you should look elsewhere.

Keyboard:

Laptops: Most laptops come with an inbuilt keyboard. If you are buying a 2 in 1, then you are covered as well.

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Tablets: If you want to buy a stand alone tablet, you will have to buy a separate keyboard for it.

Takes Less Space:

Laptops: They might not be as small as tablets, but laptops do take up significantly less space than tablets. If you are tight on space, a laptop is a better choice.

Tablets: Due to their compact size, tablets take up much less space than laptops. If space is at a premium for you, then a tablet is definitely a better choice.

Now that you know what the pros and cons are, let’s take a look at some of the different types of tablets that are out in the market right now.

1- Wacom Intuos Graphics Tablet In my opinion these are the best drawing tablets for beginners. They are relatively inexpensive, but offer a smooth drawing experience. They also come with a pen and a mouse, so you only need to buy this one product for drawing and computer access. These tablets also come in both wired and wireless options. If you do not need the extra features of the Intuos Pro, I would definitely go for this one.

2- Wacom Intuos Pro These are the best drawing tablets for those who want to take their art to the next level. These offer a more immersive experience and the increased control granted can help you take your art to the next level. These also come with a pen and a mouse, but they cost much more than the non-pro versions. I would only recommend these to serious artists who want to get the most out of their money.

1- Apple iPad Pro There are a lot of different types of iPad available in the market right now. If you are looking for a tablet just for casual use, then you do not really need to spend a lot of money. A cheaper iPad or even an Android tablet will do the job. However, if you are looking for a tablet just for drawing purposes, then you should definitely go for the Pro model. The Apple Pencil is the best stylus available for tablets right now and combined with the large screen and powerful hardware, it is the best choice for artists.

2- Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 This is my personal recommendation for an Android tablet. It has a high resolution AMOLED display which makes looking at pictures and watching movies a joy. It also comes with a stlyus which adds to the overall drawing experience. It is more expensive than an iPad, but it offers a lot more features than an iPad.

3- Microsoft Surface Pro These types of tablets are basically a trick by computer companies to convince people to buy their more expensive computers. They offer the processing power of a laptop, but lack the build quality. Still, if you do not care about the built quality and just want something light weight that can also be used to draw on, then you should pick one of these up. Just make sure to get the add on keyboard, because drawing on glass can be very tiring.

4- Microsoft Surface Go This is the cheapest of Microsoft’s tablet lineup. It is very cheap and great for basic computing needs. You should get this if you want a tablet that you can also use for work. It is still great for drawing and it can even run most of the art software you might need.

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1- Apple iPad (non-pro) If you are looking for something that is good for media consumption, then go for one of the iPads. They are cheap and have great screens. However, they do not offer the best drawing experience. If you just want to draw casually and do not care about the precision, then you should get one of these.

2- Google Pixel C This is my personal favorite. It has a great sized screen and is powerful enough to run art software with no issues. The keyboard is detachable which adds further functionality. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good Android tablet for drawing.

3- Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 This is the most basic model of the Samsung tablets. It comes with a stlyus which makes it great for drawing. I would only recommend this to beginners because it lacks some of the features that the other tablets have(Larger screen, pen window). Still, it’s a great product and can be found at a budget price.

4- Microsoft Surface 3 Similar to the Pro, this is just a tricked out Windows laptop. It’s not really a good tablet, but it can be used as one. The main selling point of this device is the stylus and pen compatibility. There aren’t really any apps that take advantage of this, but it still has some of the best drawing features. I would get this over the regular Pro since it is cheaper and can do more than just draw.

5- NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet This device was originally made to play games, but it can also be used for productivity. It has a great screen and is very powerful. It can run most art software without any issues. It also comes with a stlyus which makes drawing on the screen feel like paper. The only issue is that it does not have a keyboard attachment of any kind, so it is not good for typing.

6- Chuwi Hi10 Pro This is the best Chinese made tablet you can get right now. It is quite powerful and has a great screen. It can run most drawing software without any issues. The only major concern with it is the quality of the build. It’s not going to break anytime soon, but it doesn’t have the best build quality(It feels like a Nerf tablet).

I’ve been doing a bit of research on these.1- Apple iPad Pro (12.9 inch) This is the absolute best tablet you can get right now for drawing. It has a large and beautiful screen, it’s incredibly powerful, and it has an innovative keyboard attachment that turns it into a laptop. The only downside is the price, which is quite high.

If you want to be serious about your art, then this should probably be the tablet for you.2- Wacom Cintiq 13HD This is basically an iPad that is dedicated to artists. It has a screen that responds to your touch and it has all the ports you’ll need. It also has a extremely high quality display. This is the best dedicated drawing device you can get, but it’s quite expensive and not really a true tablet since it doesn’t run anything except drawing software(And it can’t do much else even with the software).3- Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7 This is the best non-Apple tablet you can get. It’s fairly cheap and has a great screen. It can run art software without any issues. This would be the best option for most people.4- Microsoft Surface Pro 4 This is probably the best do it all device you can get. It’s a tablet, laptop, and desktop. The keyboard is included and just snaps onto the screen turning it into a laptop. It also has a desktop mode, where you can attach a keyboard and use it as a desktop. It’s fairly powerful and can run most software. I would pick this over the Cintiq since you would get more out of it due to it being cheaper, having a better selection of software, and being able to do more than just draw.5- NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet This is the best Android tablet you can get. It’s more powerful than the other tablets and can run most drawing software without issue. The only real downsides are it’s price and the fact that it doesn’t have a keyboard attachment. Here you would need to buy a Bluetooth keyboard of your choice to make it complete.These are just my recommendations, but I am curious as to what you will choose. Once you pick a tablet, let me know and I will get you to download the necessary software.

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Sources & references used in this article:

An application of peer review for art education: A tablet PC becomes a language for students who are hard of hearing by M Namatame, N Matsuda – 2012 IEEE Seventh International …, 2012 – ieeexplore.ieee.org

A phenomenographic investigation on the use of iPad s among undergraduate art and design students by N Souleles, S Savva, H Watters… – British Journal of …, 2015 – Wiley Online Library

Library Instruction as Participatory Art: Engaging Students with Tablets and Active Learning by J Pollitz, J Markgraf – 2016 – minds.wisconsin.edu

Quiet interfaces that help students think by S Oviatt, A Arthur, J Cohen – Proceedings of the 19th annual ACM …, 2006 – dl.acm.org

Differentiating instruction for students with learning disabilities: New best practices for general and special educators by WJ Muckley – 1885

Tablets in education. Results from the initiative ETiE, for teaching plants to primary school students by WN Bender – 2012 – books.google.com

Qualitative interpretation of a microcomputer graphics course for gifted and talented adolescents by E Fokides, P Atsikpasi – Education and Information Technologies, 2017 – Springer