Everything is digitalizing and we need to take note of it. PCs have even managed to enter the world of drawing, and now you can draw everything on your computer with pencil in your hand as if you were doing it on a sheet of paper, thanks to a devilry called a graphic tablet. It might seem like an alien device to the less tech-savvy, but actually understanding how it works is simple.
drawing tablets for drawing are nothing more than tables that can emulate a sheet of paper and recognize the user’s movements, allowing them to draw with a pen without ink or graphite on an electronic surface.
They connect to the computer via USB cable and materialize all the drawings made by the user in real time on the computer monitor. The most famous are certainly the Wacom, but there are countless of them around, both with integrated screen and without. Depending on their accuracy and functionality, these boards, also called digitizers, are available at different prices.
This is the definitive guide in which you will find the best drawing tablet , but we will not limit ourselves to offering you the best examples to use with your Windows PC, tablet and Apple iMac, from the entry-level to the more professional. We will also reveal all their most important features in detail to make you understand independently which one to choose .
Best Standalone Drawing Tablet
What exactly is the drawing tablet?
What is a drawing tablet used for?
What are the main uses of the drawing tablet?
The graphic tablet is an indispensable tool for drawing and illustration, for both enthusiasts and professionals. In addition to being used for digital illustration or 3D modeling, it is also used in photo editing since it allows you to perform most operations with greater precision and in less time.It is also often used in architecture, industrial design and even education, and some banks and companies also use it to collect customer signatures. Among the best programs that you can use with drawing tablets are Photoshop, Pixelmator, Blender, Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo.
How to choose Best Standalone Drawing Tablet
As just mentioned, to find the most suitable tablet for you you need to learn to evaluate the technical characteristics of this type of device. So let’s take five minutes of free time and see, together, what are the specifics to which we need to pay more attention.
drawing tablets can be in A3 (29.7 x 42 cm) , A4 (21 x 29.7 cm) , A5 (14.8 x 21 cm) or A6 (10.5 x 14.8 cm) formats , like sheets of paper, or they can have formats customized suitable for various purposes.
For beginners, smaller drawing tablets are recommended, such as those in A6 or A5 format, but of course it all depends on your specific needs. Note that on a smaller tablet, since the work area is rather limited, movements easily reach large distances on the computer screen.
The term active workspace refers to the size of the area where you actually draw on the tablet. It is usually indicated in mm or inches. As can be easily understood, the greater the active work area, the easier the movements on the tablet are made, especially in relation to their translation on the computer screen.
One of the first features you need to look at in a drawing tablet is its resolution : a value that can be expressed in DPI (dots per inch) or LPI (lines per inch) . A higher resolution tablet translates on-screen movements more accurately than a lower resolution tablet. The average value that might be fine for a novice user is 2,000 LPI.
The stroke of the drawing and the intensity of the coloring change according to the pressure exerted on the tablet. It is therefore important that the tablet is able to recognize as many pressure points as possible. In fact, the greater the number of pressure points recognized, the greater the accuracy of the tablet in recognizing the pressure exerted by the user and greater fidelity in the reproduction on the screen of the strokes made on the tablet.
Mid-range drawing tablets can recognize 2,000 to 3,000 pressure points, but there are also more advanced tablets that can recognize over 8,000 different pressure points.
The response rate is a value that indicates the frequency with which the tablet communicates the position of the user’s pen or hand to the computer. It is measured in PPS (points per second) , in RPS (report per second) or in the case of drawing tablets with integrated display, in ms (milliseconds ) . The best drawing tablets are those that have 150 PPS / RPS upwards, as they are able to communicate more quickly with the computer and report the user’s movements more precisely.
Type of connection with the PC
drawing tablets can be connected to the computer via USB cable or via Bluetooth . USB tablets are cheaper on average and have the advantage of not having to be powered by external batteries (they take power from the USB cable). The Bluetooth ones have the advantage of being wireless, so they can be used comfortably away from the computer, but they must be powered by external batteries (batteries or rechargeable batteries) and require a computer with Bluetooth support (or a special adapter).
There are also tablets equipped with HDMI ports that connect to external TVs or monitors without going through a PC and tablets equipped with a 2.4GHz wireless receiver which, like the Bluetooth ones, need batteries to work.
Some high-end drawing tablets have their own display that allows you to work without the aid of a PC. We can imagine them as tablets dedicated to drawing that allow you to work very comfortably directly on the drawing that is being created. Unfortunately, their prices are far from affordable.
The pen is the main tool through which we interact with the graphic tablet, its quality is of fundamental importance to obtain good drawings. Fortunately, it is almost always included in the price of the tablet, but it can be of various types. The more advanced ones, for example, in addition to being ergonomic and easy to grip, have programmable keys that allow you to call up specific functions, change the thickness of the line, etc. It should be noted that some nibs must be powered by AAA batteries, which are hardly included in the product package.
Pens, as well as drawing tablets, recognize a well-defined number of pressures, so make sure you are using a pen with a very high-pressure sensitivity , i.e. a pen that can recognize many levels of pressure.
The pen isn’t the only component you can use to interact with a drawing tablet. Other tools you may need (and often have to be purchased separately) are the airbrush , the interchangeable tips for the stiletto , the transparent sheet for tracing the drawings placed on the tablet or the glove for the pen grip (which covers the little finger. and ring finger in order to avoid scratches or accidental strokes).
Keys and multi-touch support
Graphic tablets can have two or more programmable keys to which the user can associate the functions he prefers. In addition, there may be a wheel, a spherical key or a circular device to zoom, rotate and scroll images (a bit like the central mouse wheel).
On tablets with multi-touch support, you can use hand gestures to zoom images, rotate them, or perform other operations supported by the device.
drawing tablets can be used with various software , from Photoshop to technical drawing applications. However, in many cases they are supplied with software that allows you to fully exploit their potential. If you are undecided between two digitizers with the same technical characteristics, choose the one that comes with the software that seems best suited to your needs.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the drawing tablet?
With drawing tablets you can draw as if you were using a real pencil, which gives you a number of important advantages. For starters you can make strokes with much greater precision, plus the tablet is sensitive to pen pressure, so you can draw darker and thicker lines or just sprinkle the screen with shading.Before you consider buying a digital tablet, however, you need to know that the best models can have quite high prices. Furthermore, it may happen that at first you find it difficult to get used to the new device, on the contrary if you learn to use it continuously you will no longer want to work without it. Below we show you a table with the advantages and disadvantages.
Can the drawing tablet replace the mouse?
Being an input device, the drawing tablet can easily replace the mouse, especially for those who work on graphics and drawings. The impression that derives from its use quickly conquers users who begin to use it thanks to the natural sensation of holding a pen, and the joints of the hand and wrist, strained by the continuous and unnatural use of the mouse, thank you.
Can the drawing tablet be virus-prone?
The input devices are not prone to viruses, but if the tablet has its own operating system, a virus may infiltrate it, especially if it is connected to a computer via USB cable.
How to improve the use of the pen on the drawing tablet?
Often the excessive smoothness of the pen on your device can be difficult to manage, especially if you are not particularly experienced. A trick to use to increase the friction of the pen a little and not slide it too fast on the tablet is to place a sheet of paper between the pen and the device.