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Wacom Beginner Tablets

Updated on December 15, 2015
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Top 5 Wacom Tablets for Starting Artists 2015

When it comes to switching from drawing traditionally using pen and paper to digital art, the transition can be a bit hard if you do not have the basic knowledge of what kind of a graphics tablet is best for beginners. Digital art is the future, and it is hard to catch up with the latest trends if you only use a mouse to give those digital finishing touches to your drawings, photos and paintings. A good graphics tablet will facilitate any digital drawing and preparation you need to do, and if you buy the right tablet that will be easy to get used to, you probably won't need to change it for a very long time – or ever.

When it comes to graphics tablets, the leading manufacturer is Wacom – they have a long history of making fantastic tablets for artists that are ideal tools for your digital art endeavors. While there are some excellent graphics tablets made by other manufacturers that have fantastic design and specifications, for a starting digital artist it is still best to stick to Wacom tablets. We will talk in more detail about good Wacom tablets suitable for beginners below, but first we will discuss some basic differences between drawing on paper or canvas, and drawing and editing using a graphics tablet.

Graphics tablet friction

When it comes to friction, drawing and editing using a graphics tablet will probably feel very different than doing so by using a pen on paper (or any other technique you generally prefer). This is because the sensitive surface of the graphics tablet is much smoother than paper or canvas, and you will have much less friction to rely on than you would normally. However, there is a number of graphics tablet manufactured by Wacom that have a textured working surface designed specifically to feel like paper. This is a huge advantage for beginner digital artist as they will not have to get used to working on an almost frictionless surface. Of course, getting used to working on a completely smooth surface is not that hard either, and all it takes is a little bit of practice.

Stylus vs. pencil

Again, the principle is similar like it was with paper and tablet surface. While a stylus is a really handy thing that actually feels just like a real pencil in your hand, it still doesn’t offer the friction of a simple pencil. Of course, it is easy to get used to it with a little bit of practice. One advantage of a pen stylus is the fact that it won’t get spent and you don’t need to sharpen it. In case your tablet nibs get a little wear on them, you can buy a really cheap set of replacement nibs. This is where Wacom is fantastic – you can buy all the spare nibs and accessories you feel you will need and most graphics tablet manufacturers do not offer that.

Pressure sensitivity

Pressure sensitivity is something a beginner artist has to get used to when delving into the realm of digital art. Each graphics tablet is sensitive to the strength of your input – meaning that depending on the amount of pressure you apply through the stylus, you will get thinner or thicker lines, or different opacity levels. It will depend on your settings. This is something that takes a bit of practice, but an aspiring artist will definitely enjoy the advantages of controlling something that was impossible to control with a pencil. All graphics tablets are pressure sensitive, but better tablets that are more expensive have more levels of sensitivity – up to impressive 2048 PS levels. A good tablet for a beginner should have 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity. Although if you can afford a tablet with 2048 levels – by all means!

How to choose a perfect graphics tablet size?

This is something people usually don’t think about. General rule of thumb is to pay attention to how much paper you use to make a simple drawing. In case you work smaller, you need a smaller tablet. In case you have long strokes and generally freer movements with a pencil or a brush, you will need a large tablet. It’s that simple. Do not be fooled by thinking that the bigger the tablet, the better – you may wind up using just a limited area on its working surface, and that will be a colossal waste of money, and may even feel clumsy for you. If you are unsure, go for a medium size graphics tablet.

Wacom Bamboo Create Pen and Touch Tablet

Wacom Bamboo Create is generally the first tablet to recommend to a beginner digital artist simply because it offers a combination of features that is ideal for starter and pro artists. The first big advantage of this tab is its textured working surface which provides the necessary friction to make you feel like you are working on a piece of paper.

The stylus is extra precise and feels really good in the hand – it is battery free so it is light and ergonomic. You have an eraser on the other side of the stylus, and that is a pretty neat touch that will come in handy. The working surface of this tablet is actually quite large (8.5 by 5.4 inches), but not too large to make you feel clumsy if you are used to working small. Tablet resolution is 2540, and it has 4 programmable express buttons that will enable you to make shortcuts to your favorite tools.

It has 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is excellent, and comes in bundle with downloadable software such as Adobe Photoshop Elements, Corel Painter Essentials, AutoDesk Sketchbook Express and many more. This is one of the best beginner options, and it comes at a price that makes Bamboo Create a real bargain.

Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch Medium Tablet

Wacom Intuos Medium tablet has a textured surface, much like Bamboo Create. It comes with an ergonomic, battery-free stylus that will feel good and natural in your hand, which is great advantage for a budding digital artist. It is suitable for drawing, editing, manipulation and basically anything you need it for. The stylus has an eraser on the other end, and it has 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is enough for starter artists and professionals alike.

It features a new, sleek design and is bundled with extra nibs for your stylus and a lot of free downloadable software packages such as Photoshop Elements 11, Corel Painter Lite, and more. This model comes in three different sizes – small (CTH 480), medium (CTH 680), and large (CTH480S2), and an additional model CTL 480 which is considered the newer version of the Wacom Bamboo Create as it has the same specs but an altered look. Depending on the size you believe is suitable for you, the price will vary, but all in all Wacom Intuos is an excellent choice for an artist who is just purchasing their very first graphics tablet.

Wacom Intuos Pro Pen and Touch Medium Tablet

Wacom Intuos Pro is the best well-rounded tool for artists who want to buy an ideal graphics tablet with superior specs. It dons a really professional design along with many improved features such as 8 programmable express keys for your shortcuts, a multi-function ring with 4 fully customizable functions, and many more. When it comes to its basic specifications, this graphics tablet is more than impressive. The stylus, apart from being light and ergonomic for the best natural feel, has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity both in the pen tip and the eraser.

Wacom Intuos Pro comes in three different sizes: small, medium, and large. One huge advantage of this graphics tab is the fact that the package includes a wireless accessory kit, which means more freedom when working as you will have no cord to worry about. Much like all Wacom models, the Intuos Pro includes a software bundle in its price. Some of the programs that come with the tablet are Photoshop Elements 11, Autodesk Sketchbook Express, Anime Studio Debut 8, and more. If you are looking to buy a tablet you will never want to exchange for another one, our best recommendation would be Wacom Intuos Pro.

Wacom Bamboo Capture Pen and Touch Tablet

Bamboo Capture is a good solid Wacom graphics tablet that is good for editing, drawing, painting and more, and is suitable for beginners as it also has a textured surface that provides that pen on paper feel. It is a smaller than Bamboo Create and at its 5.8 by 3.6 inches of active working area it befalls in that group that is perfectly suitable for artists that are comfortable working on smaller formats.

This tablet also has 4 programmable express keys that will make it easy for you to enjoy drawing by creating shortcuts to your favorite and most used tools and brushes. The pen stylus is comfortable, ergonomic and practical, as that is what Wacom generally strives for. The stylus tip allows you precise input with 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity. This graphics tablet is ideal for photo editing and it is a good, inexpensive option for anyone who wants to use a graphics tablet simply to retouch and improve their photos.

Wacom Bamboo Splash Pen Tablet

When you want to buy your very first graphics tablet, there are a number of considerations to be taken into account before actually choosing the device. When it comes to the brand, Wacom is definitely the best. This is because even though there are numerous cheaper options, they offer only a fraction of what Wacom brings to the table. Simply put, your will save a lot of money in the long run if you buy a good graphics tablet immediately.

Wacom caters to beginners and pros alike, so you won’t have to worry that a graphics tablet you have in mind is too complicated and advanced for you. Their products excel in many areas, and simplicity is one of them as well. We discussed five Wacom tablets that are suitable for beginners and professional digital artists as well, and it is only up to your budget and personal preferences to decide which one is just right for your personal needs.

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Conclusion

When you want to buy your very first graphics tablet, there are a number of considerations to be taken into account before actually choosing the device. When it comes to the brand, Wacom is definitely the best. This is because even though there are numerous cheaper options, they offer only a fraction of what Wacom brings to the table. Simply put, your will save a lot of money in the long run if you buy a good graphics tablet immediately.

Wacom caters to beginners and pros alike, so you won’t have to worry that a graphics tablet you have in mind is too complicated and advanced for you. Their products excel in many areas, and simplicity is one of them as well. We discussed five Wacom tablets that are suitable for beginners and professional digital artists as well, and it is only up to your budget and personal preferences to decide which one is just right for your personal needs.

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    • Nicole Grizzle profile image

      Nicole Grizzle 2 years ago from Georgia

      These are really good reviews. I've had three Wacom tablets over the years: a Bamboo Pen and Touch, an Intuos 4, and an Intuos Pro Pen and Touch. This explains their features fairly well. I recommend, especially for any artists out there, to get as much pen sensitivity as possible. It really helps in the long run.

    • orandze profile image

      orandze 3 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Excellent reviews!