5 Great Tablets for Drawing


Wacom Cintiq 12WX

We already had a primer on Wacom's art tablet design prowess, so it's time to move a bit upmarket. If you're in a position to drop four figures on digital art supplies, you're in for a treat.

Wacom has a few ranges of tablets with different styles, features and price points. The Cintiq is the most expensive line by far, but if lower-end tablets haven't satisfied you, it's worth taking a look at the 12WX. It's the entry-level Cintiq...in other words, it's a reasonable price point for professional-level equipment, and still falls under the "tablet" designation. (The other Cintiq models would be better described as semi-permanent tabletop equipment -- definitely not portable. And they cost as much as a lifetime's worth of laptops...but they're really nice!)

The Cintiq is designed to mimic the feeling of drawing on paper, and users claim it's the best available replication of the experience. A 12-inch (30.5-centimeter) LCD monitor provides a crisp display with sharp contrast and 16.7 million colors. That same hard-working screen is loaded with sensors for sensitive and accurate pen input -- it can even determine the angle of the stylus. The Cintiq features a full palette of drawing, painting and editing options (as it should!) but these pro-quality programs reportedly blow others out of the water (and unlike the higher-end programs that can be added to other tablets, these are included in the Cintiq's price). That alone could spare you a couple hundred dollars' worth of unexpected or impromptu add-ons.

Lesson learned: Don't always assume nicer things are out of reach; sometimes, they're worth the investment. So if you're serious about your art -- like, really serious -- the Cintiq is worth considering.

Author's Note

"Gifts for the Aspiring, But Untalented, Artist." Thanks, Gizmodo. You always cut to the quick.

As a former aspiring artist, almost (but not completely) devoid of talent, there's no way I could resist a peek at this article. And, while researching the various tablet options, the idea of getting a tablet for art is rather appealing (even though I've so far resisted the impulse to acquire one for day-to-day use). But think! All my failed drawings, the ideas I thought were good but turned out not to be, can just be shunted off and stored forever on my computer, instead of sitting in real life on the easel in my bedroom, where their presence silently mocks me. With a tablet, I can indulge in my whims, and then I could hide the resulting sketches forever on my hard drive, just like my abandoned screenplays.

When I clicked on the link, my eye cut right to the Wacom Cintiq 12WX. It's the smallest Cintiq available, although its silhouette vaguely recalls '90s-era handheld video games. Thought those were pricey back then? The Cintiq 12WX rings up at about a grand. At that price, potential buyers (and I'm including myself in this category) should be sure their interest in the craft is more than a fleeting fancy. Even an LCD screen and super-sensitive stylus won't make a master out of me.

There's nothing quite like spending a ton of money on a fleeting interest to convince yourself you're a true untapped prodigy, or that you've found a hobby to sustain you for life. (Like my guitar. And my scooter. And, for that matter, all the money spent on my college art classes.) But, as we've already discussed, the tablet market is flooded with options, and practically any artist should be able to find one perfectly tailored to his or her talents. I think I'll scale back my expectations accordingly, since Gizmodo suggested another option: The $40 Crayola Trace & Draw. Even though it requires good old-fashioned paper, this kiddies' tablet might be more my speed.

Related Articles


  • Diaz, Jesus. "Wacom Intuos 5 Hands On: Multitouch Feels Good." Gizmodo. March 1, 2012. (July 13, 2012) http://gizmodo.com/5889713/wacom-intuos-5-now-with-multitouch-and-lickable-rubber
  • Diaz, Jesus. "Why Photoshop for iPad Marks the End of the Desktop Computing Era." Gizmodo. March 31, 2011. (July 13, 2012) http://gizmodo.com/5787574/why-photoshop-for-ipad-marks-the-end-of-the-desktop-computing-era
  • Goss, Annie. "Touched By A Tablet -- Choosing the Right Graphics Tablet For You." American Screen Printing Association. 2009. (July 9, 2012) http://www.screenprinting-aspa.com/touched-by-a-tablet-choosing-the-right-graphics-tablet-for-you/
  • Hannaford, Kat. "Samsung Takes on the Wacom Art Tablets With 10.1-Inch Galaxy Note." Gizmodo. Feb. 27, 2012. (July 13, 2012) http://gizmodo.com/5888496/samsung-takes-on-the-wacom-art-tablets-with-101+inch-galaxy-note/gallery/1
  • Liszewski, Andrew. "Gifts for the Aspiring, But Untalented, Artist." Gizmodo. Dec. 3, 2011. (July 13, 2012) http://gizmodo.com/5863213/gifts-for-the-aspiring-but-untalented-artist
  • Reed, Brad. "Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 makes brief appearance on Amazon, release set for July 30th." BGR. June 14, 2012. (July 19, 2012) http://www.bgr.com/2012/06/14/samsung-galaxy-note-10-1-release-date-july-30/
  • Sanders, Lorraine. "Is Samsung Galaxy Note the ultimate fashion tool?" SFGate.com. July 13, 2012. (July 19, 2012) http://blog.sfgate.com/chronstyle/2012/07/13/is-samsung-galaxy-note-the-ultimate-fashion-tool/
  • TechNewsDaily. "Best Tablet Computers for Drawing." Sept. 23, 2011. (July 9, 2012) http://www.technewsdaily.com/3203-best-tablet-computers-for-drawing.html
  • Verducci, Anthony. "How to Sketch By Computer (For Cheap)." Popular Mechanics. Dec. 4, 2009. (July 9, 2012) http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/how-to/tips/4338774?click=main_sr
  • Wacom. "Cintiq 12WX Pen Display." (July 19, 2012) http://www.wacom.com/en/Products/Cintiq/Cintiq12WX.aspx


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