Graphics tablets for digital artists

Graphics tablets for digital artists

Graphics tablet for artist

Technology is forever moving forward and computer input devices are no exception. The PC Graphics tablets (see my review of the Aiptek PC graphics tablet here) have moved on leaps and bounds and offers the digital artist and designer superb freedom and versatility needed in todays competitive market.


What is a graphics tablet?

A graphics tablet is an input device used by artists and designers that allows the users to draw and paint via the tablet onto the screen of a computer, be it a desk top or laptop screen, without having to depend on the mouse and keyboard, as the mouse is just not designed for the freedom, versatility ans sensitivity needed to paint and draw intuatively on screen. The PC Graphics tablet is made up of two separate sections including a flat tablet and pen. A graphics tablet may also be referred to as a drawing tablet,digitizing tablet, graphics pad, drawing pad or PC tablet to name but a few variations, but all are the same.

A graphics tablet come in many sizes, from 3" by 4" (7.6 by 10.2 cm) versions to larger 7" by 9" (17.8 by 22.9 cm) version and as an artist, the bigger the better to allow you to have that natural freedom the PC Graphics Tablet and pen gives you. Talking od size there are larger graphics tablets targeted towards professional designers and architects. Size is one of the main factor to which price bracket the graphics tablet falls into, but as mentioned, try and buy a PC Graphics Tablet at the largest size possible for you budget.

As an artist, what to look for in a Graphics Tablet?

Sensitivity

The idea of using a graphic tablet as a digital artist is to simulate the freedom and ease of use like natural materials such as paint brush and pencil. To this end any graphics tablet you purchase must have a good range of pressure sensitivity in the drawing surface of your graphics tablet. High pressure sensitivity of at least 1024 levels is really a must and allows you to control a number of important points when and painting on screen. Color and line thickness, which is simply by pressing the stylus more or less heavily, mimicking drawing with an actual pen are all determined by the sensitivity of the graphics tablet. There is not point wanting to do delicate detailed work wit a tabley which sensitivity is just not up to the job. Pencil and brush strokes that tapper off and fade out are only possible with a PC tablet with a high sensitivity.

Graphics tablet pen / stylus

Your graphics tablet should come with a pen that allows you to work the surface of the tablet itself. Some come with the need for a small battery and other do not. Some are stand alone and have no wires connecting them to the tablet but others do. You should consider your requirements when you chose, but as an artist using the graphics tablet is all about simulating using natural materials. With this in mind I would recommend a stand alone pen.

Many pens will come with buttons built onto the pen, and some pens have an erasing end. This is an excellent feature because the buttons can be programmed for specific functions such as a right-click or double-click, and the erasing tip can perform a delete function in one swipe. Some tablet manufacturers offer additional pens and other pointing tools that you can program independently.

As an artist who could be using the same graphics tablet and pen for long periods of time, the size, feel and weight of the pen needs to be considered. Like the graphics tablets on the market, they come with all sort of pens so make sure that when you chose look at the pen as this will be in yiur had all the time.

Graphic tablet size

Size is one of the major factors you will need to consider when you chose a graphics tablet with cost being one of the main factors and the work you intend to use the tablet for. In my opinion, as an artist working digitally, there is nothing worse than trying to paint and draw on a graphics tablets that are to small as it feel unnatural to an artist who is used to drawing or painting with large sweeping motions.

The most popular sizes of graphics tablets have been 4x5, 6x8, and 9x12 which matches up neatly to the 4:3 aspect ratio of traditional computer monitors. As technology moves on there has been a increase of wide screen monitors and companies such as Wacom and Aiptek have produced graphics tablets that work with and are built to take into account wide screen monitors.

For myself it bigger is better as you need the freedom as you would when painting and drawing with natural materials, but as the graphics tablets get larger the cost rises.

How much do they cost graphics tablets cost?

This can vary from $100 to $1000 and more but graphics tablets come in many different sizes and cost brackets and you should decide what you require your tablet for before you buy. One piece of advice would be to look at the specification of the graphics tablet for such things as sensitivity which I mentioned earlier in this page, as depending on what your requirements are, its not always the most expensive is best. Take a look at my review on the Aiptek PC Graphics tablet I did here, as the specificatons on the graphics tablet were exactly as I needed but the tablet was fraction of the cost of a leading brand..


As an artist using digital tools, the graphics tablet is only the input device and this must be coupled with an art, drawing or painting programme and watch out for my hubs on this.

The Aiptek graphics tablet, cheap, with some good specifications. See my review by clicking the link in this caption, below.
The Aiptek graphics tablet, cheap, with some good specifications. See my review by clicking the link in this caption, below. | Source

Fantasy art produced on the Aiptek graphics tablet

The first image below is named Cave Dragon and was produced on the Aiptek graphics tablet. You can see an insight and some step-by-steps on how I produce the digital dragon art by clicking this link - How to paint Dragon Art.

The second image below is the Sand Dragon and was also produced on the Aiptek PC graphics tablet. You can also see an insight and some step-by-steps on how I produced the digital dragon art by clicking this link - How to paint a Dragon

Cave Dragon, produced on the Aiptek PC Graphics tabletin Photoshop CS2, Click the link below to see an insight into how I did it.
Cave Dragon, produced on the Aiptek PC Graphics tabletin Photoshop CS2, Click the link below to see an insight into how I did it. | Source
The Sand Dragon was produced using the Aiptek graphics tablet in Photoshop and you can see an insight into how I produced the paint by clicking the link below.
The Sand Dragon was produced using the Aiptek graphics tablet in Photoshop and you can see an insight into how I produced the paint by clicking the link below. | Source

Deviant Art page - see more of my art here, both traditional and digital

As an artists I like to show my work and at Deviant Art I have a selection of work on show. From fantasy art to traditional art, in both traditional mediums and digital, so take a look here at http://unholy-scribe.deviantart.com/

Take a look at some of my other work here on my Deviant Art page, both traditional and digital, just click the link below
Take a look at some of my other work here on my Deviant Art page, both traditional and digital, just click the link below | Source

Do you use a graphics tablet? 5 comments

Richard 5 years ago

Another superb hubpage from you Jon.


Richard 5 years ago

Another superb hubpage from you Jon.


Jonathan Grimes profile image

Jonathan Grimes 5 years ago from Devon Author

Thanks Richard, plenty more to follow and look out for more Graphics Tablet review coming soon.


Josef H 4 years ago

I work as a freelance designer for http://peopleperhour.com

I use a wacom tablet, a model of 2010.

I would really like to buy one with a touch display mainly because I like to see what I draw instantly.

Do you think I should wait till touch screens are cheaper?


Jonathan Grimes profile image

Jonathan Grimes 4 years ago from Devon Author

I understand what you mean as drawing on the surface of the tablet but having to look at a screen can be a bit odd to begin with. The high end drawing tablets which allow you to drawing directly on the the tablet surface, which id the screen, can be expensive. Technology is moving at a fast pace and touch screen computers and tablets are common place. I am sure it will not be long before the tablets market catch up and more affordable direct screen drawing tablets are available. I hope so anyway as if they drop in price I would consider one.

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