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.

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