This content was originally published on Delaware News Hub and adapted to the UK market.
The days of paint pots and canvases are over. The technology has digitalised almost every form of art. Although there is debate over whether or not newfangled concepts are truly works of art (we’re talking to you, NFTs), technology has undoubtedly made art more accessible.
Graphic designers and illustrators can simulate different mediums with digital technology. They use a tablet, a stylus or a touch-sensitive surface, as well as creative software such Adobe Fresco. This flexibility, along with the quick turnaround time and the final product, is what makes digital art attractive from a business perspective.
The tablets, styluses, or pads can be quite expensive. If you’re not familiar with the art-based technology jargon, it can be a little confusing. We think a drawing table is the perfect place to begin. We can give you a good idea of what to look for when choosing one.
Why should you consider using a drawing pad?
A good tablet — plus your software and pen — will affect how well you’re able to translate your drawing skills to the screen, or, if you’re a total beginner, the control you have over your artistic process. Meanwhile, different software — such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop — will offer different mediums and editing options.
What types of drawing tablet are there?
The majority of drawing tablets fall into one of the following categories:
Graphics Tablet — The simplest of the bunch, essentially a touch-sensitive pad with a pen that you can plug into your computer so you have more control over your cursor (and therefore your digital pen) while drawing. Your computer will reflect the movement of your stylus as you move it on the pad.
Pen display — Probably what most people think of in terms of drawing tablets, these panels will let you see the tracks of your stylus or pen as you go. These tablets are not connected to a computer and can produce artwork on their own.
Tablet Computer — iPads and their ilk are powerful minicomputers for which drawing is just one of many other functions. For the best results, you will need to purchase a stylus or other accessory for better control and creative software.
When shopping for a tablet, keep these categories in your mind.
You don’t have to be an artist to use one.
Any artist can use a tablet. Before buying, consider your skill level. You might find it difficult to use a graphics table if you are not comfortable drawing while looking at the hand as it moves across the page. A pen display or an iPad may be more suitable in this case.
What is the best screen type for a drawing table?
The screen of a tablet is crucial to its performance. A high-resolution screen is essential if you want to create photorealistic art. If you want to draw on a casual basis and practice your skills, a tablet with a lower resolution is more cost-effective. The thickness of a screen will affect parallax — the shifting of a line or object based on a person’s perspective, caused by the distance (however small) between pen and interface, separated by the screen. Parallax is minimized to maintain a consistent perspective.
How sensitive is the drawing tablet?
It can be different sensitivity levels, but again, consider what is best for you. Some may prefer a touch-sensitive tablet that can detect even the smallest brush from a pen. Others might want a less-responsive tablet they can press more forcefully on to hold a line steady or prevent accidental markings.
A tablet’s feel is also important. It won’t feel like drawing on paper but the material, make, and size of the tablet will determine its glide, friction, or give. The tactile quality of a tablet is important, especially if your setup is extremely specific.
How large are drawing tablets?
Size and heft is one of the most important aspects to keep in mind — whether you want a tiny, portable thing to carry everywhere with you for sketching or a heavy-duty unit equipped with loads of extra features that will stay on your desk. The size and weight of a tablet are usually determined by the active area of the device (i.e. You can only draw on the active area of the tablet. Think about this when you are considering the portability of your tablet. You never want to run out drawing space.
What is the tracking speed?
This is the time lag between the strokes of your pen on the screen and the lines appearing. The higher the tracking speed (measured in PPS — points per second), the less the lag, and the more instant the result. And while lag is annoying at the best of times — even just in things like loading our email inboxes — it can make finer work like drawing simply impossible.
How can you select a stylus for your needs?
Some tablets come with a stylus. If not, you will need to purchase one separately. If you choose to buy a stylus, make sure it has features that you require and a grip that you enjoy. There are also different types of styluses: battery-powered (thicker, requires extra batteries), rechargeable, (slimmer and less reliable), or the latest EMR (wireless charge from tablet).
What is the best drawing tablet?
You should always try a product before purchasing it. It’s important to consider how it feels. Here are a few ideas to help you get a better idea of what kind of tablet to buy.
Here are the top drawing tablets for 2023.