The best graphics tablets for beginning artists

September 21, 2022

Just getting started on your digital art journey? You need the gear the pros use.

Decided you’re ready to take the leap and start your journey as an artist of the modern age? Congratulations! You may have noticed that the top creative professionals — from comic artists, to game developers, to photographers, to illustrators and fan artists — use graphics tablets. Diving into the world of graphics tablets can be overwhelming, which is why I am here to help you figure out which tablet is right for you.

Why Wacom?

Wacom graphics tablets and displays have been the preferred choice of professionals in artistic fields for decades, thanks to a combination of durability, extremely high-quality components, our signature precise, battery free pens, and compatibility with practically every computer and piece of artistic software.

Wacom pen tablets and displays are built with artists’ needs in mind. Every tablet is built to last, which means you’ll be creating stunning works of art for many, many years to come. Looking to narrow down which Wacom tablet is right for you? Well look no further, because this guide has you covered!

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One by Wacom

This tablet is the perfect entry level product if you are new to the world of drawing tablets. One by Wacom’s surface is tough and durable, allowing it to stand up to years of prolonged use and travel. The pen is equipped with Wacom’s patented EMR technology, which means you never have to worry about charging it! The pen has two customizable buttons, allowing you to use it much like a mouse. The drawing surface provides a bit of resistance, making the experience of drawing incredibly satisfying and paper-like. One by Wacom comes in two sizes: Small (6.0 x 3.7 in), a perfect size for those just starting out, and Medium (8.5 x 5.3 in) for those who want a little more freedom to create.

You won’t find any unnecessary space around the drawing surface on this model — every inch of this tablet is functional, no matter what size you select. Plus, every purchase comes with a free trial of Clip Studio Paint Pro, the beloved tool of professionals who create all kinds of jaw dropping digital art like comics, manga, anime, animation, illustration, and painting. It’s also compatible, however, with virtually every artistic software program there is.

Set up is a breeze: just three quick steps to install and you’ll be creating art in no time. The One by Wacom comes in Wacom traditional black, or an eye-catching red, for those who want to make a statement with their art and their supplies!

intuos for art students

Wacom Intuos

The Wacom Intuos is the perfect tablet for artists who want to get closer to what the professionals use, while still staying within their budget. Like the One By Wacom, the Intuos’s drawing surface is slightly textured, allowing for a realistic drawing feeling as you work. The pen has the same patented EMR technology for unlimited hours of ergonomic, battery free creativity, and customizable buttons — but with the Intuos, you’ll also have built in storage space for extra nibs.

If you’re hoping to be less dependent on your keyboard, or use keyboard commands to level-up your workflow, never fear! There are four customizable, built-in buttons on the tablet itself. Need a shortcut to save, right click, or zoom in? You’ve got them right at your fingertips with the Intuos.

You’ll have two choices of sizes: Small (6.0 x 3.7 in), and Medium (8.5 x 5.3 in). You can elect to forgo the Bluetooth capabilities on the smaller model, but wireless pairing is perfect if you like to create on the go — it means that you can work without having to remember a USB cable, making it ideal for students. You can even connect your Intuos to an Android phone or device to make it even more portable!

Plus, the Intuos comes included with five trials of creative software: Corel® Painter® Essentials, Corel® AfterShot™, Clip Studio Paint Pro, Boris FX Optics, and Skylum Luminar Neo, allowing you to try out all the top professional software to determine which is the best fit for you and your creations. And for those who want to stand out from the crowd, Intuos comes in a cheerful pistachio green, as well as the traditional black.

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intuos for art students

Wacom One

If you are ready to upgrade to a display tablet, look no further than the Wacom One. The matte screen provides the same natural drawing feeling that has made Wacom the go-to choice for professionals for years — except that you write directly on the screen.

With a 13.3 inch screen and weighing 2.2lbs, the Wacom One is big enough to create with ease and comfort — and it won’t take over your desk or be too heavy to travel with. The built in, fold out legs keep the Wacom One slim and clutter free, while giving you free reign to adjust the display to your liking.

The software bundle includes Clip Studio Paint for endless digital creations, Bamboo Paper to turn your tablet into the perfect notebook, so you can use it for seamless and intuitive document annotation for school or work in addition to your creative output, and MAGMA for browser-based art creation and collaboration.

The best graphics tablets for beginning artists:

one by wacom

One By Wacom pen tablet

This entry-level pen tablet is a perfect way to get introduced to creating digitally, with the brand professionals trust. Portable, durable, and easy to use, this is the perfect device to get you started.

Wacom Cintiq Pro 16

Intuos pen tablet

Wacom Intuos is designed to for creativity. With its Bluetooth connectivity option, you’re free to take it wherever inspiration strikes. ExpressKeys can be easily programmed on Mac or PC as your favorite keyboard shortcuts, so your process can be your own.

Wacom Cintiq Pro 16

Wacom One pen display

The perfect entry point for beginning creatives interested in a pen display, the Wacom One has all the features you need in an affordable, durable device.

abeni jones headshot

About the author

Christina Tucker is a writer and podcaster living in Philadelphia who spends most of her free time watercoloring.

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