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Best Pressure-Sensitive Graphics Tablets

Updated on November 18, 2013
Graphics tablet photo
Graphics tablet photo | Source

Compare Features and Brands of Best High Pressure-Sensitive Drawing Tablets 2013

One of the most important attributes when you are considering a graphics tablet are its pressure-sensitivity levels. This denotes the responsiveness of your graphics tablet to pressure, or to be more specific, the levels of sensitivity of the working area or surface of your pen tablet. For some users, the averagely responsive tablet will work just fine. In fact, a lot of people who are not professional designers or artists by vocation will probably not even notice the difference.

Currently, drawing tablets generally have 256, 512, 1024 or 2048 pressure sensitivity levels. This feature will determine things like the thickness of your line, opacity, transparency and so forth. You can set up your tablet to use this feature the way you like it best or the way it's easiest for you.

This characteristic is supposed to enable you to have best control over your art or design work, as you can determine many factors which you would not be able to even imagine while drawing traditionally. Paper and pen are still irreplaceable, but these tablets are becoming a need for anyone who designs and draws for a living, and even for people who take their hobbies seriously.

Bamboo photo
Bamboo photo | Source

What is Pressure-Sensitivity?

Pressure-sensitivity of your graphics tablet is literally its sensitivity to pressure you apply on its surface. The levels of pressure-sensitivity can vary within the range of 256, 512, or 1024 levels, but there are some really great tablets that have these levels at the impressive 2048 which is currently the best level.

This feature of your graphics tablet will best determine how natural it will feel when you use it for digital drawing, as it gives you the realistic feel of using a pencil on paper (except for the friction of the paper). You know that feeling when you press your pencil too hard to the surface, and the line is thicker and darker? You will be able to do the same with your tablet, if you want to.

There are two ways pressure-sensitivity works with tablets. The surface of the graphics tablet can be sensitive to the pressure, or the pressure is detected in the pen stylus. Either way has the same result, although it's more common and generally better for the sensors to be in the stylus because the surface of tablets can be damaged relatively easily if you are careless.

To conclude, the main task of pressure-sensitivity is basically to allow you to feel more in control of your strokes and movements, and to make you feel no different working on tablets than you would feel if you were working with a pencil and a paper.

Stylus should not be heavy

To take best advantage of pressure-sensitivity, make sure your stylus is not too heavy.

Keep in mind that when the stylus is heavy and thick, you will not be able to take full advantage of your pressure sensitive tablet. The problematic pen/stylus is the one that requires a battery to be placed inside of it, making it heavy, thick and overall imbalanced for your hand, which makes it hard to finish your digital project.

This will be a problem if you are used to using light and relatively thin pencils and tools. However, if you don't have issues with using pens such as these, you may as well give it a shot. There is a good test you can do before you decide, though, in order to make the best choice.

Do you remember those thick pens with multiple colored ink? They were quite heavy and imbalanced, so they are the best tools for making a small experiment. Take one of those (or any large pen you can find if you can't find one) and try to draw something with it. It's best to make sure this process lasts for about half an hour. If your hand hurts, avoid buying a graphics tablet with this type of styluses. If it doesn't, then keep them in your list of options.

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Pens attached with cords will reduce your experience

Also note that there are certain brands of graphics tablets that sell pen tabs with the stylus attached to the tablet itself. While this is not generally a big problem for hobbyists, it can mean a major difference for someone who wants to work on serious projects or likes perfection when they draw.

I am one of those people who cannot stand when the stylus is attached to the tab. While it isn't that much of a hindrance generally, it can reduce your focus and you won't get the best out of your tablets pressure-sensitivity.

What I am referring to are situations when you are concentrated on keeping the lines at a certain thickness, and then the chord slows down your arm motion. If you can live with that, then it's fine. If you would rather have more freedom to use your drawing tablet to its very maximum capacity, then get one without the attached pen stylus, as this would be the best solution for more digital drawing freedom.

Photo | Source

Here are some excellent pressure sensitive graphics tablet for your consideration:

Graphics tablet size vs. graphics tablet pressure-sensitivity

You will need to keep in mind that the surface size of your ideal graphics tablet may not necessarily be large. Test your brush strokes. This is relatively easy to do, and here is how you can learn which size of drawing tablet is best for you.

Take a piece of paper, format A4 and start drawing something. Don't think too much about it, just draw the first thing that comes to mind. Keep in mind that your hand needs to be relaxed, and you shouldn't worry about making a perfect drawing here. Use the paper as you usually do and as you like it best. After you've made a nice sketch, observe the result.

Did you use up the whole space on the paper? Are your lines long and "edge to edge"? If so, you need a large tablet for your digital art. If you have taken up about half of the paper and you have some empty space around the drawing, you should consider a medium size graphics tablet as your best option. And lastly, if you're the precision type, with small strokes and your drawings are always rich in small fine detail - you can make do with a small graphics tablet, although a medium tablet would still be alright for you.

Pressure sensitivity is important for everyone equally though, and I'd recommend going for 1024 levels as a good measure, but those who are very detailed and like to be precise and tidy should even go for the best - 2048 - if their budget will allow it.

Are you on a smaller budget?

In case you are on a small or limited budget, you may not be able to afford a really neat expensive graphics tablet. Wacom may even be out of the question for you, as their price ranges are not as accessible for some of us.

This is not the end of the road, however, as Wacom is not the only brand of excellent drawing tabs. There are, in fact, some graphics tablet that are on the same level with their products, and don amazing designs, great pressure-sensitivity and come in various sizes for your choosing. Some of those are quite popular, and there are users who prefer them to Wacom.

In case you are a beginner, it's actually best to start off with something like this until you are confident enough with using a graphics tablet for your digital art - and some even stick to their first tablet for a long time. Remember, there is no such thing as a digital tab that will magically rob you off your skill - your talent and skills are the main thing when creating gorgeous art and your best weapons.

Before you buy a graphics tablet

There are some things you need to decide on when picking a graphics tablet for your unique needs and digital projects. If you are still unsure after this article, Graphics Tablet Wiki should help you make an informed and best final decision.

Another review of Wacom Bamboo Create

Do you have your own graphics tablet? Which is it? Are you satisfied with it?

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