Review

Top 3 Best Drawing Tablets of 2019 – A Review by An Actual Artist

Hey everyone, my name is Gaius(Guy-is) I’m an artist/illustrator & I been using tablets for almost a decade now. I’ve owned &/or used pretty much every brand there is & I’ve definitely had my fair share of buyers remorse.

The tablets I’m going to be discussing in this review I use pretty much daily for my career so I’ll be discussing everything you need to know about them.

I’m not going to waste your time with a huge list today, I’m only focusing on products I highly recommend because they’re the best drawing tablets. So good I only use these specific tablets when it comes to my career.

Before we get started I wanted to talk about what you can expect from this review. I noticed a lot of tablet reviews only dig into what, which isn’t enough information in my opinion. Considering I’m an artist that actually uses these tablets daily I thought I could take my review one step further.

So today we’re not just talking about what the tablet stats are,  we’re gonna cover Who The tablet Is For?”, “The Pros & Cons”, “How the Tablet Helped Me Personally”, “Why I Recommend It” & I’ll even provide a section of artwork I created with each tablet.

 If you’re not much of a reader I recommend you only focus on these sections

  • Who’s it for
  • the Pro’s & Cons
  • What I made with it.

If find you’re detail oriented & focused on avoiding buyers remorse, I think you’ll enjoy the entire review.

 So let’s jump into it.

If you’d like to skip ahead you can use the quick links here.

1. Wacom Cintiq 16″, 24″, 32″ Digital Drawing Tablet

The Wacom Cintq 24″, Pro Pen 2(bottom of the tablet) with my art on it. Magnetized Smart Remote(Right side of the tablet)

PRICE$799.00-$2,279.00
Cheapest Reliable Place To BuyAMAZON
My Rating 9.5/10
ShippingFree

Whos It For?

  • Beginners who know their seirous about digital art(non hobbiest), intermediate &  Pros
  • Both digital artist & traditional
  • graphic designers/illustrators
  • t-shirt/clothing designers
  • 3d Printer artist/ VR artist
  • Fashion Designers/Designers
  • Animators
  • Game design

Pros

  1. No Parallax
  2. Reinforces Natural Drawing Coordination
  3. Large Screen (Great for detailed work, large photography, T-shirt design)
  4. Super Accurate Pen
  5. Pen Doesn’t have to be recharged.
  6. Excellence Screen Brightness
  7. 99% ABR color calibrated
  8. 4K resolution (3840 x 2160 px) Higher resolution then competitors
  9. Magnetized Smart Remote w/ great battery life & 17 express (shortcut)keys
  10. Lighter than competitors 7 the older model
  11. Low Fan Noise.
  12. Reduced glare on screens
  13. 8192 pen pressure (great for 3d, or retouching work)
  14. Windows & Mac Compatibility
  15. Best Wacom Drawing Tablet

Cons

  1. Comes with mediocre built-in stand, but the superior ergo stand is not included
  2. The price point isn’t for everybody
  3. Not cordless
  4. 3d pen sold separately (only a con if your focus is 3d work, if not the Wacom Pro Pen 2 is all you need)

HOW IT HELPED ME?

It made making detailed work simpler  

The Wacom Cintiq Pro is my personal favorite of the three tablets. I own the 24 “. I really find myself using it more than any other Wacom drawing tablet I own. The massive screen & resolution is perfect for someone like me who creates a lot of detail-oriented work. This way I don’t have to zoom in & out every ten seconds to work on details.

Another spec that helped make creating detailed work simpler is the absence of parallax. This is a big problem I’ve had with cheaper non-Wacom Pen Display tablets. Parallax is when you’re drawing on a screen & the brush stroke is slightly out of sync with the tablet pen. You’d be surprised how many other tablet brands have this issue. I need accuracy when I’m working on a big commission or project & the Cintiq delivered. I found a lot of Wacoms competitor brands that make Pen Display Tablets tend to have this problem Huion specifically. Although their parallax issue is usually subtle for people who don’t use their tablet daily, its a huge issue for someone like me who works daily.

 It helped my Deadlines         

Deadlines are ever present in an illustrators/artist life so I’m really big on time management. Which is why I’m in love with the Smart Remote. The Smart Remote comes with 17 customizable express key, that allows me to easily save or undo a mistake with one click off a button. This is such a time saver. You can even customize the express keys for specifically based on the program your using, which shockingly there are brands out there that don’t offer custom express keys for different programs. The remote is magnetized so it conveniently sticks to the outer surface of the tablet, which is important because I like to keep my studio tidy.

It Helped my drawing coordination

One of the biggest things that sold the Cinitq for me is the fact that you’re using the same coordination you use when drawing on paper/canvas. I try to keep a 50/50 split between traditional & digital art. & one thing that always frustrated me about using graphics tablets is it forces you to build drawing coordination that is completely alien from drawing directly on the surface of paper or canvas. When I used a graphics tablet it would take me 30 minutes to an hour to warm up my traditional warming hand to get used to the difference in coordination. Once I got a Cintiq it alleviated this issue because similar to the process of creating traditional art, the hand coordination is focused on drawing directly on the tablet.

If you purchase the ergo stand it can actually help with avoiding the reinforcement of bad posture.

This should have been # 1 on this list because sitting for hours hunched over is terrible for your body. I’m no physical therapist but there is a ton of information on what desk jobs do to our body. I find my psoas muscle would cramp up after long hours of sitting down doing art. It causes a lot of back & hip pain for me. So I’m really grateful I was able to make the shift. It’s like an easel for digital art if you want to sit it will help with posture or you can just stand.

Why I Recommend It

Quality last longer than cheaper tablets I’ve owned

First & foremost you get what you pay for, my first Wacom tablet has lasted me 7 years & still works till this day. The older model of this Cintiq is now 4 years old & still works like new & I only upgraded because of the better features listed in the “Pros section”.

It’s present in most companies based in creative industries.

The second biggest take away for me when it comes to recommending this is that Wacom is the industry standard. The new Spider-Verse Movie was designed with Wacom products. Companies like Epic games are using this ( See video here). This means that if you want to work with or for these creative companies you should probably have a level of competency with the products they’re using.

Outperforms the competition

The third is it outperforms all the other tablets I’ve used. Also, keep in mind I have friends who work in creative industries so I’m not just including my own personal experiences.

My friends in creative fields love it

My friends in fashion design & game design LOVE  the Cintiq Pro! People who do a lot of t-shirt design, game design, & fashion flats find the large screen simplifies the design process.

Like me, they also enjoy being able to use the Ergo stand.

What I Made With It

Work in progress I’m currently working on my Cintiq Pro w/


2.Wacom Intuos Pro digital drawing tablet

The Wacom Intuos pro & pro pen 2

Price$379.00-$499.95
Cheapest Reliable Place To BuyAMAZON
My Rating8/10
ShippingFree

Who’s it for?

  • Beginners
  •  digital artist
  • illustrators
  • graphic designers/ designers
  • photographers

Pros

  1. Last longer than the competition (built from anodized aluminum and fiberglass composite)
  2. 8192 pen pressure (better than old model/most competition)
  3. No batteries needed for pen
  4. Comes with various free nibs (Everything you need to about drawing nibs)
  5. Windows & Mac Compatibility
  6. A lot more affordable than the Cintiq Pro

Cons

  1. Doesn’t come with the 3d pen, but does come with the pen pro 2 stylus.
  2. I prefer the Cintiq Pro 

How It Helped Me?

I owned the older model of this before upgrading. & I upgraded for two reasons. This review & selfishly the new features were really attractive. Specifically more gestures, pen tilt, & better pen pressure.

Phenomenal Pen Pressure (Same as Cintiq Pro)

The Pen pressure on this tablet is phenomenal, really makes the difference when you want to have a smooth transition in line weight or opacity.


I saved money because Wacoms models last longer than competitors

I got my first Intuos in 2011 & it still works 8 years later. I haven’t had to replace anything but the nibs, which is standard for all tablets. In my experience non-Wacom brands like Huion start to malfunction around the two-year mark.

Seamlessly introduced me to digital art & saved me money 

Before I had my Intuos I had no digital art experience. All the work I had made prior was traditional art. It made making art easy because I never had to buy new art materials. Because I was working mainly on digital art I was able to save a lot of physical space. At the time I was living in a small apartment in NYC so saving space was crucial.

Surprisingly helped make the creation of traditional art simpler 

Yeah, that’s right, it made the creation of traditional art(non-digital) easier. I could now work out my ideas & color studies/theory on my laptop in layers, I can undo mistakes. I could even photoshop my photography to create drafts I would later recreate traditionally.

I’m not the only fine artist that uses this process. Professional Fine Artist like James Jean & Erik Jones use their tablets to map out their traditional(non-digital) artwork in photoshop. if your interested in this process & want to know how an artist like the ones I mentioned use tablets to map out their art, you can read about it here.

Why I recommend it for artists or aspiring artist?

Simply put the Intuos is the best graphics tablet on the market. It has phenomenal pen pressure for 3d designers & people who work with detail. I would go deeper int to detail but I kind of already did, the Intuos Pro has pretty much the same specs as my #1 tablet with the one caveat that it is a graphics tablet, therefore you don’t get the benefits related to Pen Display Tablets I discussed with the Ciniq pro

What I Made With It



3. Ipad Pro 12.9″ Gen 1 and Apple Pen 1 w/ procreate

I haven’t owned the new iPad pro Gen 3 or the Apple Pen Gen 2, but I will purchase it soon & update this post if I think it’s an upgrade from the previous model.

iPad Pro 12.9″ with my photography on it

Price$1095.00
Cheapest Reliable Place To BuyAMAZON
My Rating7.5/10
ShippingFree

Apple Pen 1st Gen

Price$93.49
Cheapest Reliable Place To BuyAMAZON
My Rating7.5/10
ShippingFree

Who’s it for?

  • Beginners
  • people who draw a lot but don’t want to be stuck in the house/ or artist who travel a lot
  • photographers
  • Pros that are open-minded to using new programs

Pros

  1. You can automatically upload photos from DSLR camera to your home computer using wifi (great for photographers)
  2. Travel sized
  3. Great screen size
  4. some apps like Lightroom work faster than their desktop countertop, although the iPad isn’t faster in another context.
  5. Great beginner tablet
  6. Procreate comes with screen record (Great for Process post on Instagram)
  7. pretty strong processor

 Cons

  1. Doesn’t come with the Apple Pen.
  2. You have to purchase procreate (drawing app you’ll most likely be using) for $5.99
  3. Not the full version of Photoshop & other apps

HOW IT HELPED ME?

It is literally the easiest tablet to take on the road

As an artist I find my work to be what gives me joy & purpose to my life. but lets behonest working from home is incredibally lonely. & If your like me & you know how depression can creep its way into your life when your stuck at home working on deadlines, vitaman d/sun deprived, & haven’t been outside nearly as much as you should. I’m saying all to say I love how light my iPad Pro is. I love hoping in an uber going to the met & drawing on it. I love casually working on projects at my Parents house while laying on their sofa. 

Ipad comes in handy during tradeshows, networking events

Now I know this is something i haven’t seen any review discuss. So in 2017, I showed at The Other Art Fair at the Brooklyn Expo Center. I didn’t sell a lot of work their which was a huge bumber. BUT thankfully I had an iPad which has aps for creating an emal list. It also allowed me to show my collection of prints & other artworks that didn’t fit in my booth. Long story short I woul’ve left empty handed if I didn’t bring my iPad.

Why I Recomend It

Like I said its the perfect travel tablet.

It’s light, slim, has a bunch of accessories specifically made to protect it when traveling, & its an iPad.

You can make professional work on it

Not only am I able to make work I feel is high quality with the procreate ap, but other artists are too!

Don’t believe me, check out James jean’s illustration for Blade Runner Here. If you’re not ffamiliarwith James work, he is one of the biggest illustrators/artist in the world. He’s worked with brands like Prada, Mcdonalds, & Staple.

You can draw on older iPad models with the Apple Pen Gen 2

That’s right if you own an iPad that isn’t the pro there is a possibility it might be compatible with the Apple Pen 2nd Generation. I still suggest the iPad pro because other iPads can’t compete with the best computer tablets out there.

What I Made With It


Major Take-Aways 

I’ll Review Cheaper Tablets Soon!

If the tablets above are outside of your budget don’t worry, I’ll review other more affordable alternatives soon.  If you can’t wait I suggest or saving your money or at least try to find another Wacom Tablet you can afford.

There’s a reason the professionals are using Wacom.

I have some illustrator friends who didn’t have the money for a quality tablet brand, so they purchased from brands like XP or Huion. To no one’s surprise, their tablets are no longer in working condition just a few years removed. Also, the warranty for Wacom vs other brands is shocking.

You Get What You Pay For

If you buy cheap don’t expect it to last very long. Buying a tablet is an investment in yourself & your career. That investment should last. Bellow, I are some photos that illustrate the difference in quality between Wacom & there competitor Huion.

The photo above is Wacom’s 2-year Refund/Warranty for the Cintiq Pro. That kind of warranty lets you know how confident they are that their product won’t fall apart. The longer the warranty the more confidence a company has in the quality of their products.

Now here’s Huion’s Refund/Warranty, 30 DAYS! I mean that’s pretty much everything you need to know about the confidence they have in their products quality. Your warranty should never be only 30 days for something like expensive tech.

Why is Huion so insecure about how long their product will last, well I believe it has something to with most their products being cheap knockoffs of Wacom products. To me that is all wrong, your focus as a company shouldn’t be to design a product with the sole focus of emulating what your competitor does at a cheap price.

Your focus should be innovation & creating a great user experience. Wacom & Apple do that, these are companies that. & That’s why their products made this list!

16 Comments

  • Steve

    Hi

    A very informative article. I’m not very technical but your reviews of each product are very thorough. I agree with you that you get what you pay for and I’ve always believed in spending a bit more to get a quality product, it serves you better in the long term.

    Regards
    Steve

  • John

    Great information on how these tablets have help your drawing style. I do like to work with photos from time to time, I will add some of my own features. Do you think that I would need a tablet like this or my cheap laptop that can use a pen.
    John

    • Gaius

      Hey John,

      Thanks for the kind words,

      It depends on if you’re happy with your laptop & pen set up. If the answer is “Yes” I say you’re probably fine with what you have. If you are interested in optimizing your work & taking it to the next level I do suggest a tablet. I think you’ll have better accuracy with one. & good pen pressure really comes in handy with photos.

      I think photographers & people who work with photos are typically happy with the Intuos Pro. Hope that helps, if not lmk I’m happy to answer any relevant questions you might have.

  • joyce

    Hi Gaius,

    What a very informative and helpful review on the drawing tablets. It is good to know that there are choices that beginners and those aspiring artists or illustrators have. I like your article because you have thoroughly discussed and cited the pros and cons of each product.

    Thank you for sharing this article and keep it up!

  • Tom

    Hey,

    Great post and thanks for sharing.

    I am from an Engineering background and these products would definitely help me in my Engineering Design business. It is a consultancy that helps all engineering industries with new innovations.

    I’m going to recommend these products to my boss tomorrow and see if he would like to invest in them.

    I will let you now what he says.

    All the best and keep up the great work.

    Tom

  • Philip

    Hi Gaius,

    Thanks for this article on the top 3 best drawing tablets of 2019. Would this be too advanced for kids of around 8 or 9?

    I am more of a laptop man myself but these tablets you have written on here have come a long way since they first brought them out. I am tempted to look further into your information here and see about purchasing one for a b-day coming up for a friend soon.

    I definitely clicked on the right review here anyway and thank you for not leaving any questions unanswered about the drawing tablets.

    • Gaius

      Hey Philip,

      That’s a great question, I wouldn’t advise any of these tablets for kids. I think graphic tablets are the most durable to being dropped so Intuos pro is prob best. But kids don’t really need all the features an adult or teenager would. A cheaper & small graphics tablet would work best. Preferably Wacom brand, like the other intuos(NOT THE PRO) or their bamboo. Parblo also makes small tablets I think would be suitable for children.

      I’ll write a post centered around tablets for helping kids build their digital art competency soon! That is where the world is headed so it will probably be one of the more important topics. Thanks for the great question!

      & Awesome I’m glad you found my content helpful! Thanks for the kinds words!

  • Michel Repluk

    wow impressive article, and i really liked the indepth comparrisons!

    Im just curious, my daughter is turning 15 and has been hounding me for a tablet, which one would you recommend for a teenage girl?

    • Gaius

      Hey Mike,

      Thanks for the kind words, I’m really happy you enjoyed my post.

      I think the Intuos Pro is a great tablet for teenagers. It’s a graphics tablet(which means it doesn’t have a screen), so it’s the most durable of the out of the 3 listed in this article.
      I think that’s important because it should last her 5-10 years like my first Intuos did. It’s also the cheapest.

      If she’s more interested in a tablet because of other features beyond digital art I would go iPad Pro.

      Hope that helps, & be sure to use my affiliate links if you decide that one of my suggestions are what you’re looking for.

      Best,
      Gaius

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