Best tablet for illustration and design?

Currently using an iPad, finding it too limiting, anyone prefer otherwise?


  • I use an ipad with Procreate for illustration work. Fresco looks like a good app too, but I haven't found anything as intuitive and natural as procreate yet.

    I have an intuos pro medium PTH 660 for day to day design and photoshop work. It's way more natural than a mouse. The intuos pro is my go to wacom tablet and has rarely had any issues. I use it for all desogn aspects and for some illustration work, although it's not as direct as the ipad for making marks.

    Finally I have a 22" Wacom Cintiq as another piece of useful kit. I wish it was a pro, but they're rather expensive. The cintiq is excellent for photoshop and illustrator work. The direct link is very good.

    that's it!
  • To be honest, I use an iPad! Which application are you using for illustration and design? I love Procreate because of all the lovely brushes you can download and adapt.

    I used to have a Wacom tablet which hooked into the computer, but it was an oldskool one which felt too separate from the computer screen. It felt a bit unnatural to use. However, they've really come along now. I would maybe have a look into what they can do nowadays. x
  • Hi May. I use a combination of an XP-Pen display at home and an iPad Pro/Apple Pencil on the move (or sometimes on the sofa). I've got a paper-feel screen protector on the iPad, which makes all the difference.
  • Depends if you need a portable system, or somthing hooked to the computer. Also depends what kind of software you are using.
    Some software only work on Ipad, like Procreate, some have versions for either computer or Tablet depending on the version: Affinity Designer/Publisher have an Ipad version, and a computer one (windows and iOS) version. Same with Adobe illustrator (mobile version and computer version). One oddity is Fresco that works on Ipad and any Windows system. So tablet can be either iOS or Windows tablets (think Surface pro models) and also a computer on Windows (no desktop iOS).
    Some hi-end touch screen portable computer (HP, lenovo, Samsung) can also act like a tablet, complete with stylus with a proper pen pressure and tilt feature, much like an Ipad.
    for example this:

    I would absolutely stay away from Android tablets, even the more advanced as no reputable design software can be found there.

    If you don't mind being hooked on a computer, I would recommend a display graphic tablet, ie: one with a screen attached, there is plenty of brands around, Wacom being the most well known. Other brands like Huion, Xencelab and XPPen also have a good reputation.

    Having a screen will double your screen real estate, allowing you to have the full canvas for drawing on the tablet, and the other screen to stock separate tabs and tools...

    Some models are "mobile" somehow see below...

    It really depends if you're stuck to a particular software like Illustrator or Photoshop, and you may be limited with the kind of OS you might choose, so the choice of "hooked" or not will highly depend if those programs are available on the particular device.

    I presonnally have a cheap Ipad, and prefer the feeling of my 13.3 in XPPen display tablet, the drawing feels much more organic on the screen. I tried a Surface pro, which is by far the best drawing experience I had, but unfortunately out of my price range given that iy would have been a secondary tool. I like the size of my graphic tablet too, but reckon that the Ipad is best when I don't want to sit on the computer.

    choices, choices 😁
  • Hey May,

    I purchased a Wacom Cintiq 16 several years ago for my illustration work - which I still use in making artwork now. It was a more reasonable price in the Cintiq line (at the time) but works great.

    I find that using the Wacom is more paperlike (defo felt the difference when I got an iPad recently) so is easier to draw more organically, and having more space to use my elbow when making marks. I do love the ease of using an Ipad in how easy they are to transport and user interface.
    So now I mix it up and use both! Using my ipad for concepting and storyboarding and then moving on to my Cintiq for artwork development.

    I hope this helps! :)

  • I work on a Wacom Mobile Studio and it was the best thing on the market when I bought it. A bit more expensive than an ipad pro but the 4K screen and the pen are absoluletly awesome for illustration. Some cons would be the cooling system and the fact that I changed 4 screens in 6 years heh.

    Xcenlabs released a pen computer a few months ago that is probably the most advanced tablet on the market now. They improved exactly what Wacom had problems with and it looks very promising in terms of specs and drawing experience.

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