Paperless drawing tablets have been popular for many years among professional graphic artists and engineers, and they used to be quite the investment. Nowadays the price range has evolved and there are many affordable drawing tablets suitable for beginners or those just dipping their feet into digital art. They are perfect for beginner artists: you can save your work, edit it, undo mistakes and use all sorts of other media such as pictures or typography. And once you are done, just turn it off. No cleanup or storage of materials involved. Your designs will be preserved forever as digital files and won’t take any space.
Choosing the best drawing tablet can be a challenge, though. There are hundreds to choose from, and many factors to consider to select the best one at the best price. For most beginners, choosing one of the best affordable drawing tablet models is enough. More advanced users can make the most of extreme sensitivity, complex software with a million different options and programmable stylus to improve custom workflows. But for a beginner, the extra complexity can be overwhelming and discouraging.
When selecting the best drawing for beginners one of the things I would absolutely pay attention to is the connectivity. You want a tablet that works with both windows and Mac OS operating systems, and doesn’t require complicated setup processes. This will make it more likely you’ll get in the habit of using it instead of grabbing for your favourite beginners’ sketchbook instead when inspiration strikes. A digital art tablet needs to be easy and intuitive to use, just like pen and paper!
Best Drawing Tablet For Beginners Top Picks
The following are our top picks on the best drawing tablet for beginners category. You can read a mini-review of each of them below. We have chosen tablets that are affordable and provide a good user experience, which would be suitable for both students and beginner artists who want to explore digital media.
Huion H610PRO V2
This handy and very affordable drawing tablet is perfect for students, as you can use it for note-taking as well as sketching and more complex artwork. It’s compatible with both the latest versions of Windows and MacOS, but as a nice extra it also works with OS Android and can be connected straight to your phone. They do report some issues with some Samsung devices (except the Samsung Note series) so I would avoid it if you want to use it exclusively with a Samsung phone.
The stylus is battery free and has 8192 pressure levels, which makes it perfect for detailed work, and by default it comes with 8 pen nibs which makes it very versatile. The tablet itself is not terribly big (10×6.25inc surface, plus the frame, and has 8 customisable button shortcuts to the side. Perfect for the artist on the go, it’s extremely lightweight as well.
In terms of drawbacks, this tablet is possibly not as ergonomic as more expensive models such as Wacom ones but it also depends on what you are used to. And it requires a computer or mobile phone to work, you can’t use it stand-alone. But overall is a very solid drawing tablet for beginners at a very affordable price range.
Wacom is a household name in terms of drawing tablets, and they offer a dedicated line for novices which is probably the best drawing tablet for beginners money can get you. It has a batter free, pressure sensitive pen which is sensitive enough to be versatile, but not too much that requires perfectly steady hands. It is also very compact but still has an active working are large enough to be useful (6×3.7inc). As an additional benefit, you can configure it for left handed use, for the leftie in your life who is annoyed at never finding the right drawing tablet (or mouse for that matter).
It connects to both Windows and Mac OS devices via an USB cable, and works with most well known software including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Draw, Corel Painter, Manga studio, clip studio paint and many more.
It is however a cheap drawing tablet made with plastic, and it doesn’t have the luxury feeling of their elder siblings the Intuous Pro series (which we review below). So while it may be a great introductory tablet for a young teenager it may fell short of the expectations of an adult artist in terms of materials and manufacturer.
Wacom Intuous Art Medium
Battery free, lightweight and very compact, the Wacom Intuos Art Medium is another popular and affordable drawing tablet from Wacom. It includes the tablet, the pen and three extra nibs which are all pressure sensitive but not tilt sensitive. This is due to the fact that this tablet is designed to connect with an USB cable to the computer, and lay down in the tablet. If you must have a wireless drawing tablet there is a wireless kit available but that makes this tablet considerably more expensive and it’s probably not worth it.
This tablet connects to Mac OS and Windows computers easily, and can be used with most graphic design software in the market including open source choices. The best bit of it are the customisable express keys and multi-touch gestures which make this tablet a joy to use for work and play alike. The Art version comes with Corel Painter Essentials which is a good software to get started with digital art and design. It is very easy to install and get working.
The tablet resolution is 2500 lines per inch, and around 1000 presure levels. If you have a very large monitor (23inches and above) you may find the tablet is not sensitive enough for highly detailed work, but you’ll likely want to start looking at pro models instead.
HUION INSPIROY Q11K Wireless Graphics Drawing Tablet
If you have looked at the size of the above tablets and think they are too small for you, consider the Q11K instead. The working area is bigger at 11x7inches (three times bigger than most wacom starter models), and while it feels heavier than other models it’s also made of more durable materials. As an added benefit, it comes with 8 replaceable nibs which should keep you going for a long time. And lastly, and very very useful for beginner artists, this tablet comes with a 2 finger glove to you can avoid issues with your hands dragging on the tablet while you’re using it.
What we like about this tablet is how comfortable to use it is, particularly if you don’t have the trained endurance of an experienced graphic designer. You can rest your wrist comfortably and the stylus is easy to hold and has a lovely weight. It is battery powered, so you will need to charge it every so often. In terms of features, 8000 levels of pressure sensitivity should be enough for artists of all skill levels, and the pen is very similar in size and behaviour to a regular pen.
This tablet is wireless but you’ll still need to connect it to a computer for it to work. It works with both Windows and Mac OS computers and with most popular art software. You can even use it with OS Android tablets and mobiles, which makes it very portable and perfect for art students.
It doesn’t include any software and you need to charge it using an USB driver (included) so your work may get interrupted. However, you can just leave it charging at night using the USB wall charger included.
Wacom Intuos Pro Digital Graphic Drawing Tablet
Oks, so this one is more pricey than any of the above and I wouldn’t buy this tablet for a complete complete beginner who may not like using a drawing tablet after all. But if you are looking for a tablet for a beginner artist that has outgrown the cheaper models in the market, you just can’t go wrong with this one and it will provide years of useful service including in professional environments.
One of the best things about this tablet is the profession al Pro Pen 2 technology, which gives you hours of drawing at a high precision. It provides 8192 levels of pressure sensitivty, tilt-response and above all it feels like there is no lag at all. It’s battery free, so you will never had to interrupt yourself to charge it mid-way. There are other available pens that can be purchased separately.
The tablet is relatively large (13.2×8.5″) and the active area is a medium sized 8.7×5.8″ which is usually enough for most people and will still fit comfortably on a desk in front of a computer. It has express keys, radial menus, stylus side pens, and everything you would expect of a professional drawing tablet. For somebody who is serious about art and design, this tablet is a beautiful entry-level option.
The surface texture feels rougher than with other tablets. You may find that the nibs wear off quickly, but it comes with 10 ones out of the box so it should give you plenty of usable time. If you dislike the texture of the pad, Wacom offers texture sheets that will alter the surface feeling, making it smoother.
If you are unconvinced by the price, a more affordable drawing tablet from Wacom that doesn’t feel too basic is this one.
As you can see, there are many competitors for the best drawing tablet for beginners, each of them with their own pros and cons. Depending on your budget and personal preference you may want for an established brand such as Wacom, though competitors such as HUION are giving them a really hard time. Choosing a drawing tablet is very personal (the tablet surface, the stylus, the nibs, they all need to feel right) so buy from somewhere with a good returns policy which allows you to trial them and get a feel for your drawing tablet in person.