No more carrying around a set of paint pots or a heavy canvas to create art; technology has digitized almost all forms of art. From 3D printed sculptures to photoshopped images, art is constantly evolving alongside our increasingly tech-savvy world. But while there are debates about whether novel concepts can really be considered works of art (cough NFT cough), it is undeniable that technology has made more traditional art forms much more accessible.
Digital art is also more convenient for employers, leading to many professional graphic designers and illustrators being hired to do their work on a computer rather than on paper, which in turn influences the aesthetics of marketing and journalism. alike. Entire communities have grown up around the digital art space: Deviantart, Pixiv, and of course Tumblr. (The latter is the most popular, though it’s home to a lot more than just digital art, including text posts, movie screenshots, and sound bites.)
A guide to the best tablets out there
Digital tools allow artists to simulate a variety of media using the same tools: a stylus, a touch pad, and some creative software like Adobe Fresco. That flexibility, plus fast turnaround times and a digitized end product, is what makes digital art so attractive from a business perspective.
Of course, the styluses and pads in question can cost quite a bit, and that’s assuming you have a tablet or laptop to use them with, if need be. However, this contrasts with the physical world, where even if you had to be cheaper with paints or paper, the various drafts and ruined jobs that a single mistake can cause really adds up. And that’s only with one medium: investing in oil paints, acrylic paints, watercolors, pastels, graphite pencils, charcoal… they all cost money and can go out of stock quickly. So when you weigh up a one-time investment that provides access to virtually any kind of creative medium (as well as the panacea that is the undo button) against the more demanding and time-consuming physical drawing preparation work, there can be a real payoff. .
Why use a drawing tablet?
Physical tools, in addition to your software, will affect how well you can translate your drawing skills to the screen or, if you’re a complete beginner, how much control you have over your artistic process. Different programs will offer different media and editing options (Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop are always safe bets, but depending on what you want, there are alternatives that may be more suitable). Regardless of the software you choose, you’ll probably need some kind of tablet and digital pen. Have you ever tried to sign your name on a touchpad with your finger? If you find it difficult to even replicate a signature you’ve typed hundreds of times with a mouse or laptop trackpad, think about the pain of trying to do fine line work in the exact shapes and places you want. So a pen of some kind and a tablet to go with it are essential, but what should you look out for when looking for which model to invest in?
What types of tablets are there?
Most drawing tablets can be classified into one of three types: graphics tablets, pen displays, and tablets.
Graphic tablet: The simplest of the bunch, essentially a touch-sensitive pad with a pen that you can connect to your computer for more control over your cursor (and thus your digital pen) while you draw. The movement of your pen on the pad will be reflected on your computer screen.
Pen screen: Probably what most people think of in terms of drawing tablets, these panels will allow you to see the traces of your stylus or pen as you go. Instead of having to be connected to a computer, these are stand-alone tablets capable of producing art on their own.
Tablet: iPads and the like: powerful minicomputers for which drawing is just one of many other functions. Often using it for art will require the purchase of a pen or accessory of some kind for better control and the creative software of your choice.
What to think about when choosing a tablet?
First of all, consider your skill level. If you’re not entirely comfortable drawing without looking at your hand moving across the paper, you may find it a bit difficult to use a graphics tablet, since to keep track of your work you have to look at the monitor while moving your hand along. weather. time to draw.
Another consideration is the sensitivity of your tablet. Some may prefer a super-sensitive touch screen that detects every light stroke like a pencil nib, while others will want a less responsive tablet where they can press harder to maintain a steadier line or prevent accidental marks (another plus). of digital art, there is always an undo button, unlike smudges on a piece of paper).
The feel of a tablet is also crucial. Obviously, it won’t feel the same as drawing on paper, but the material and make of the tablet can determine how much give, friction, and slip you have. The touch aspect of a tablet is very important to consider, especially if you are someone who is very particular about their setup.
And of course size and weight is one of the most important features of a tablet to consider; Whether you want a small, portable thing to carry around for drawing or a rugged unit packed with a ton of extra features that will stay on your desk for everyday illustration work, it’s important to choose a model that suits your needs. .
Not to mention that the size of a tablet generally corresponds to the dimensions of its active area (i.e. the part of the tablet you can actually draw on), so in addition to portability, think about the size and detail of the work what is going to do try to do. It’s never fun to run out of room to draw; While this is another area where digital art has advantages over traditional media (most programs will let you zoom in on a drawing and reorient your tablet to the boundaries of the specified area), if you want to keep the entire piece on screen while you work, a tablet that fits the entire drawing within its active area is preferable.
In addition to its physical aspects, a tablet’s screen is critical to its performance. If you’re trying to create photorealistic artwork, a high resolution is probably worth it. On the other hand, if you just want to practice your drawing skills without fear of losing your work, an ordinary tablet with a lower resolution will be more profitable. Also, the thickness of a screen will affect parallax: the displacement of a line or object based on a person’s perspective, caused by the distance (even a minute) between the pen and the interface, separated by the screen. You’ll want to minimize parallax to keep your perspective consistent.
Another important feature to buy is tracking speed, which basically means the time lag between your pen stroke and the corresponding line appearing on the screen. The higher the tracking speed (measured in PPS, points per second), the shorter the delay and the more instant the result. And while lag is annoying at best, even in things like loading our email inboxes, it can make finer work like drawing simply impossible.
And if you want a tablet that It is not a computer itself, you’ll probably need to make sure it connects to the computer you already have. If not, you will need to purchase an adapter.
When you buy a tablet, keep in mind that you’re also buying the stylus that comes with it, unless you already have one (have checked that it’s compatible with your new tablet) or plan to buy one separately. Be sure to choose a pen with the grip you like and the features you need. Also, styluses come in their own distinct types: battery-powered (thicker, need extra batteries), rechargeable (thinner, less reliable), and the newer EMR (wireless charging from the tablet itself).
And above all, keep in mind that the operating system your tablet is running on will dictate which apps you can use, and therefore functionality: the ever-popular Procreate app, for example, isn’t available on tablets running on Windows. which makes Apple tablets a good option if that’s your preferred platform.
All that said, Mashable illustrator Bob Al-Greene reminds us: “The technical limitations [of the tablet] they don’t necessarily have anything to do with the quality of art you can make with it… The quality of the artist, not the technology, dictates the final product.”
It’s always a good idea to try a product like this, where feel is extremely important, in person, but here are a few ideas to at least start to get an idea of the kind of tablet you might want: