With which graphics tablet to start?

ISKN Repaper, Wacom, Gaomon, X Pen, iPad or even unknown brands, the offer of graphic tablets has never been so large. Should I choose between an 8", 10" or 13" tablet? With what screen resolution? With or without a screen? How many buttons and keys? Bluetooth or USB? As a beginner, you can quickly get lost. We give you here some tips to understand what parameters to take into account, and thus make your own opinion to select the best tablet.

Preamble: What is a graphics tablet?

What is it for?

The graphics tablet allows designers, beginners as well as experienced ones, to create graphic works on computer with precision, this one acting, thanks to its stylus and to its surface equipped with sensitivity sensors, like a drawing book on which you would draw, with a live digital retranscription on your computer screen. This product becomes essential for professional graphic designers, as well as for amateurs who like to keep digital traces of their works, or who wish to use various tools thanks to the power of drawing software, without having to invest in a collection of markers and brushes.

What types of graphics tablets are available on the market?

Graphic tablets without screen.

As a beginner in the world of digital graphics, when one speaks of a graphics tablet, one imagines mainly a drawing surface without a screen that one uses with a digital stylus. This is the type of product that is most frequently found on the market, and which can be, at first glance, a good option for beginners wishing to get started in digital drawing. There is a plethora of models available, and they come at all prices, which vary according to the quality and precision of the drawing area and its pressure sensors, but also according to its options. These graphics tablets are therefore easily found at an affordable price, but beware! By investing too little, on the one hand, you could end up with a poor quality product, but above all, and we'll come back to this, this kind of device without a screen can quickly become difficult to use, as the hand-eye coordination between your tablet and the computer screen is not natural for anyone who wants to enter the world of digital arts.

Graphic tablets with screen.

If using a graphics tablet without a screen can be complicated at first, opting for a tablet with an integrated high-definition screen can be a solution. Indeed, these devices offer a work surface, composed of an LCD or Super AMOLED screen, which allows you to work directly on it, and see your work being drawn under the tip of your stylus. These are therefore a real alternative, with improved ergonomics to draw without having to worry about hand-eye coordination. However, if this seems like the perfect solution, a few black points come into play for beginners wanting to buy a touch tablet dedicated to graphics. Indeed, in addition to the different drawing sensations than the traditional paper/pencil, your budget must be consequent. A high-resolution screen is a must, and the sensitivity levels and parallax (the offset between the stylus tip and the line forming on the screen of your graphics tablet) must be of an unparalleled precision. The size of the screen must also be important in order to gain comfort when drawing on this kind of device. All these elements are expensive, and turning to the first small entry-level Chinese tablet of this type does not seem like a good idea if you don't want it to end up in your drawer.

Hybrid graphics tablets.

One last type of graphics tablet stands out for the beginner designer who wants to go for easy-to-handle products when choosing a new graphics tablet. The hybrid graphics tablet, like the ISKN Repaper, allows you to draw directly on a sheet of paper, placed on the working area of the device, with your favorite pencil, thanks to a magnetic ring placed on it. The active surface of the graphic tablet detects the position and the inclination of the pen thanks to its magnetic sensors, and the pressure levels act at the slightest touch to retranscribe the drawing on paper, directly on the screen of your computer, or in the memory of the tablet.It is then possible to rework your drawings with the tools of your favorite graphic software. This type of tablet is a good choice for beginners, who keep their traditional drawing habits to make their sketches, without having to worry about the feeling of drawing with a pen or hand-eye coordination, but can gradually make the transition to computer thanks to the screenless mode. In addition to being ergonomic, the affordable price of this tool makes it the best value for money, compared to a tablet without a screen that can only be used with a computer, or to touchscreen graphic tablets with a screen, which are too expensive for anyone who wants a first experience of digital drawing.

The simplicity of pencil and paper, the power of a graphic tablet

Here are some tips on how to choose a graphic tablet as a beginner.

What price to invest in a graphics tablet to start?

As a beginner, choosing a graphic tablet model can be difficult given the large number of products available on the market. It is possible to choose a tablet without a screen, which is the least expensive, but requires a lot of patience to master the coordination between the hand drawing on the tablet and the eye focused on the computer screen. A tablet with a screen will have the advantage of being more ergonomic, but the price will rise quickly, and the need for quality equipment is essential for this type of device. In any case, whether with or without a screen, in order to avoid the disappointments that usually come with low-priced peripherals, it is preferable to go for a model whose brand is already well known (Wacom Intuos and Cintiq, Huion, Gaomon, X pen artist pro, ...), which will invariably increase the price, and whose use will not necessarily be compatible with the idea of a first purchase for a beginner in digital painting.The solution can then come from hybrid tablet models, such as the ISKN Repaper, whose design has been carefully thought out by French engineers, and which offers an affordable quality-price ratio for the beginner, and which will provide him with a versatile tablet, which will last over time and will allow him to progress over time by offering to draw on paper, and to retouch on computers. This can be the right option to start without headaches!

Size, battery, memory: are you more of an adventurer or a couch potato?

A graphics tablet is chosen above all according to its needs. Because of their mains connection, or because of the need to have a large tablet with a large screen to work in detail, graphics tablets with a screen are more sedentary, which will satisfy the graphic designer working on a fixed desk. The graphic tablets without screen will have the advantage of being lighter and more portable, but will require the user to bring a laptop while traveling, in order to see what he draws. That leaves the hybrid tablet, of medium size, which offers more versatility in its handling. Its size allows it to be carried around, and its independence from the computer, thanks to its active area allowing drawing on paper, its internal memory offering a large storage capacity, and its rechargeable battery not requiring constant connection to the mains, make it the best choice for travelers wishing to use their graphics tablet quickly and in any occasion.Then simply transfer the files directly to your computer, tablet or smartphone to edit your sketches at home in your favorite drawing software.

Compatibility with software and apps, an essential component in the purchase of a first graphics tablet.

In the digital world, the graphic creation phase undeniably involves the use of an adapted drawing software. The choice of your graphic tablet will also have to be made according to its compatibility with your operating system, under Windows and Mac OS, as well as with the most used graphic softwares (Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom for the photo retouching, Gimp, Corel Painter, ...). In addition to being compatible with laptops and desktop computers, for work on the go, a graphics tablet that can be associated with a mobile device such as an Apple iPad mini or pro, an iPhone under iOS, or with all tablets or phones under Android, will allow you to have access to many drawing applications available on the Apple store or the Google Play Store, and to draw wherever you want. The more software compatibility your tablet has, the more choice you'll have, and the more opportunity you'll have to work with other people using different software.

Performance, connectivity, shortcuts and accessories: everything to make your job easier.

The first thing to look at is the connectivity available on your future graphics tablet. USB ports for a wired connection with a USB cable is the first thing to check, so you can work on any type of computer. Some laptops also offer Bluetooth connectivity, and having this capability with your graphics tablet will free up your desktop, and also allow you to easily connect it to your phone or media tablet. Also consider shortcuts, those little buttons embedded in the frame of your graphics tablet and on your digital styluses. While you can still access your graphics software's options with keyboard keys and mouse buttons, customizable shortcuts let you access your software's preferred options (undo last action, select a tool, etc.) with a single press. This will make your tablet a more interactive tool, and allow you to work fluidly with your graphics tablet. Finally, take a look at the performance claims. The best graphics tablets will be the ones that allow you to draw accurately, thanks to the pressure levels that allow you to draw accurately. More than 8,000 pressure levels, like on the ISKN Repaper, are a minimum for anyone who wants to fully engage in digital painting.

So, which graphics tablet should I choose?

ISKN Repaper, Wacom Intuos, Wacom Cintiq, X Pen artist pro, Huion, Gaomon, ... Many tablets are available in stores when you start in graphic arts. Choosing the right offer when you start is a real headache since there are so many models of graphic tablets. You can turn to an online guide to analyze each tablet, but remember that your opinion should be based on your needs. As a beginner, don't rush into anything; there's no point in opting for an exorbitantly priced tablet that you'll only use a third of its capabilities. Conversely, opting for an entry-level device with too little capacity may put you off digital painting. An intermediate model that bridges the gap between traditional and digital drawing, and that can be used anywhere and in any situation, such as a hybrid tablet like the ISKN Repaper, can meet your needs from the short to the long term, all without hurting your pocket.