What’s the skinny on the 2021 iPad Mini 6? Apple Pencil, for one
Apple has now dished out the 6th-generation iPad mini with all the main features of the others in the ever-growing iPad family.. Long gone are the days when you needed an iPad Pro to use the Apple Pencil, though the Pro still gives you considerably more processing power. But the mini is plenty powerful for gaming, running art apps, and more. Here’s some info on this interesting device that’s bigger than a phone and smaller than a full-grown iPad.
The 2021 iPad mini, with its 8.3″ (diagonal) screen, is big enough to do a lot of things on–gaming, movie-watching, video calls, and yes, sketching. It’s probably is too small to substitute for a larger one as a primary portable art studio. Many artists wish there was something larger than the 12.9.” But for those going out into the world, having this portability could make for a real gain in productivity.
You still have to shell out for the 2nd-gen Apple Pencil. So saving money isn’t the best reason to get the mini. A better reason is that you want to be able to have a small tablet to sketch or work on your art on the go, that you can then port over to a larger device when you get back to your studio. It is a fun, speedy thing that once you pick up you might not be able to put down. Its antireflective screen is easy on the eyes, though you still might want a matte screen protector that feels like paper.
As you can see in the picture, the Pencil is about as long as the length of the screen. You can stick the Pencil to the sides magnetically (thanks for the idea, Surface!).
2021 iPad mini features
The Mini 6 is similar to the iPad air. It has a Liquid Retina design that’s “all screen,” and features a Touch ID button. So almost all of that 8.3″ is good, arable screen real estate. It’s also got USB-C charging. It’s got support for 5G and has fast Wi-fi 6.
Its bezel comes in about 1/3 of an inch thick, which takes away just a little space from its 8.3” screen. It’s not exactly “all screen, no bezel,” since the bezel is slightly bigger than the larger iPad Pro’s, but that’s OK. I think it’s good to have a little area you can grip.
Basically, if you’ve already got a larger iPad Pro, iPad or Air, those all take the Apple Pencil now, the Mini is more like a light dessert. It design is sleek and updated, so there’s more visual difference with other iPads than just size. Its release price was higher than the 2019 version, the last time they upgraded the mini. (That’s actually not that long ago in Apple years, and many people use their iPads for a long, long time.)
The lowest-end model only differs in storage, at 64GB, with the priciest at 256. Unlike Android devices, Apple still stubbornly doesn’t allow SD cards, but you can always get more Cloud storage or use other storage options. 64 GB really isn’t much, though, especially if you use a lot of layers. A 128 GB model would have been a nice compromise.
2021 iPad mini specs
ios 15 Powerful A15 Bionic chip with Neural Engine LTE option Magnetic connector 2266 x 1488 resolution (a bit higher than last gen) 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone and wide color 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone and wide color gamut A15 Bionic chip with 64‑bit architecture 6-core CPU 5-core graphics 16-core Neural Engine 326ppi panel (same as last one) Weight under 1 lb. 64GB and 256GB Top button with Touch ID to use Apple Pay and for secure authentication 100% recycled aluminum Rounded rectangle display 500 nits brightness Antireflective display No more home button Volume buttons at top No headphone jack Comes with fast 20W charger Thickness 6.3 mm 12MP ultra wide front camera that supports Center Stage (keeps you front and center during video calls, making your audience ooh and ahh). Also, 12MP wide back camera Landscape stereo speakers 10-12 hours of battery life fast Wi-Fi 6 5G for the LTE Comes in purple, starlight, pink, and space gray
Being an inveterate Pencil-misplacer, on my iPad Pro I use a simple pen loop Velcro’d to the back, which has saved me many hours of searching for the Pencil—I combine that with a free Bluetooth-device finder app. But magnets are just fine.
The iPad mini is plenty powerful for art apps, gaming, and streaming—you wouldn’t expect less. It is a really fun thing to have, and can fit in just about any bag (not a pocket, though). While it may not be a must-have if you’ve already got an iPad Pro or other drawing device, having that extra portability might get you out sketching more and capturing those autumn colors. See the 2021 iPad mini on Amazon
A guide to the best tablets for artists in 2019 – 2020
Creating art digitally more popular among artists than ever. Why should you use one, and which is the best drawing tablet 2019 – 2020?
In this article we go over the categories of drawing tablet and pick our favorites. The categories are graphics tablets, tablet monitors, tablet PC 2-in-1s, and mobile tablets.
Why use a tablet to draw? Tablets speed up workflow. You can deliver to your client a lot faster. WIth the accurate pens, you can also take written notes. Easily sync and share your work. You can make changes to your work whenever you want. They’re an art studio you can carry around.
Reviews of 2019 – 2020 drawing tablets
The following are some capsule reviews. Check out the rest of the blog for more detailed ones. Click on the images to see more info, reviews, and to shop.
Best overall art tablet 2019 – 2020: iPad Pro
If I had to pick ONE, it would be the iPad Pro (read our review). I like the 12.9″ size. It combines portability, a powerful processor, and tilt and pressure sensitivity. With the Apple Pencil and robust drawing apps, the iPad Pro suitable for professional art. You can even use it as a Cintiq along with your Mac. And the new regular iPad also works with the Apple Pencil.
Mobile tablets ideal for illustration, design, photo editing, and digital fine art. A lot of drawing apps now offer almost as much as full Photoshop. You can paint, edit photos and video, and create graphics with the help of pen or finger. If you want to use Procreate, it’s only available on iOS. While you may also want to have a larger tablet monitor, the iPad Pro is a versatile companion.
Looking for Android? We recommend the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3. The Wacom S Pen has angle sensitivity and provides a smooth draw.
Best graphics tablet 2019 – 2020: Intuos Pro
A graphics tablet attaches to your computer while you look at the screen–this is the least costly type of tablet. You can spend from around $40 to several hundred dollars on a graphics tablet with pressure sensitivity.
The Intuos Pro offers an wide array of features including 8,192 pressure levels, tilt, customizable tablet and pen buttons, a variety of pen nibs, and great build quality. The Medium is the most popular. The Intuos is the choice of professional artists. While many prefer to draw on the screen, a generation only had screenless tablet and some still prefer them.
Why is the Intuos Pro again a pick? We think it’s the best graphics tablet 2019 – 2020 because Wacom keeps ahead of the rest.
A tablet monitor that attaches to your computer where you draw directly on the screen. The most popular one is the Cintiq (above). There are several kinds of Cintiq–the traditional ones such as the one above, and the Cintiq Pro (below), which is thin and light.
Wacom Cintiq Pro
The CIntiq Pro (above) is a good value as it has all the Wacom features while being relatively affordable. You can use a stand or VESA mount with it. If you want buttons, you will need to use the Wacom Express Key controller. The Cintiq Pro 24 and 32 have 4K screens.
The Cintiq Pro is a great tablet for those transitioning from an Intuos, for emerging professionals, and for anyone who wants great art features, affordability and portability. Larger, traditional Cintiqs are still ideal for in-studio use and still the choice of top animators.
If you’re looking for a 2-in-1 CIntiq type of experience from Wacom, check out our writeup of the MobileStudio Pro.
Less expensive: XP-Pen Artist 22E
Wacoms are pricey and there are many alternatives that cost much less and offer most of the features. We have tested a lot of these and you can check out our detailed reviews.
Wacom stays ahead of the crowd and is still the top pick of artists. With its advanced features, solid build quality, and customization, most professionals feel that a Wacom is worth the cost.
A tablet PC 2-in-1 lets you run full Photoshop and the ability to use an active pen. Once a specialized niche, a computer with a pen and pressure sensitivity is the norm now. Clamshell models let you open them all the way, while others have detachable keyboards.
This was the most difficult category to choose from, as there are now so many tablet PCs on the market. Specs and overall usability as a laptop were the main criteria for these best 2019 tablet PC picks.
The 2019 Lenovo Yoga C930 has a Wacom digitizer with a feeling of natural writing. It weighs a reasonably light 3 lbs. and boasts an aluminum body and FHD screen. (Note: I’m not talking about the Dual Display Yoga Book that has the separate E-ink display, though that’s cool too).
The Lenovo’s 12GB of RAM and long battery life make it a workhorse when running full Adobe programs. The C930 got positive press from Laptop Magazine and other publications. The included active pen garaged in a port in the back that charges it is a selling point for me.
The Surface Pro 6 has come a long way. The N-trig Surface Pen is a lot better than it used to be. It now has great accuracy, 4,096 levels of pressure, and tilt sensitivity. It even has an eraser end.
The Surface Pro 6 detaches from the keyboard to give you a dedicated drawing device. The pen even has an eraser at the end. The bright screen is a sharp 2736 x 1824 pixels, higher than the Lenovo above. It’s probably the most popular 2-in-1 and a best tablet PC of 2019.
What to look for when choosing a drawing tablet in 2019 – 2020
Size matters with tablets. Pick what you’re comfortable with. With graphics tablets that have no screen, medium is the most popular. Small can be confining when drawing, and large can tire the arm and take up a lot of space. The best drawing tablet 2019 – 2020 is a comfortable one.
With tablets with screens, large, 27″ sizes can be a joy to draw on. Rather than positioning the tablet monitor upright, aim for a 30-degree angle, so that you don’t tire your arm. Even a smaller, 13″ tablet monitor can be used for professional work.
Most tablets with screens still have HD resolution. Affordable tablet monitors have a wide variety of resolutions from fairly low to HD. Some tablet PCs and the Cintiq Pro 24 and 32 offer 4K.
The digitizer is a layer under the tablet surface. There are several type of digitizer including EMR (electromagnetic resonance), ES (electrostatic) N-trig, and Synaptics, as well as some lesser-known ones, and the iPad Pro has its own kind. The way the pen makes contact with the screen affects accuracy. Most graphics tablets and tablet monitors use EMR.
You want a pen that’s accurate, comfortable to use, not too heavy, and offers good pressure sensitivity. The maximum now is 8,192 levels, but the numbers aren’t all that important. If you’ve got a tablet with 4,096, 2,048 or 1,024, you will be fine.
Some pens are batteryless because the charge comes from the contact with the screen. Other pens have batteries and a few have cords. Batteryless pens are lighter and more convenient. Some battery-free pens are hollow and others have a bit of heft that may make it easier to draw. I usually weigh them and I think the sweet spot is 16 to 18 grams.
Some tablets offer tilt sensitivity which gives a natural-feeling drawing experience. Tilt means that the way you hold the pen will affect the appearance of the line. The best drawing tablet is one with tilt.
Some pens have eraser ends. Wacom pens for the Cintiqs, MobileStudio Pro and Intuos Pro let you customize the buttons to many commands.
With most affordable tablets, the pen buttons have fewer customization options and most of the affordable tablets don’t offer tilt. Wacom’s Pro line has tilt. Wacom Intuoses also offer a wireless connection option and the CIntiq has a controller to program keyboard shortcuts.
The surface of your tablet affects your drawing experience a lot. Wacom has a more paperlike surface, whereas the iPad and most Wacom alternatives have smooth glass. Using a matte screen protector can help you get some tooth, which many artists enjoy. Some screens are too glossy and slippery. A matte screen protector can help with those.
The driver is software. You download the lastest ones from the company’s Web site. Drivers let you program buttons to pick your favorite keyboard shortcuts, such as Photoshop commands. This saves you time. Some people get great mileage from customizing commands while others might choose to not use them. But everyone has to download the driver to get the tablet to work. Drivers for computers will not also work on mobile devices.
You want something durable with connectors that aren’t loose. Less expensive products are often made of plastic, which is less desirable, but usually acceptable.
Programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator are thirsty for processor power, and the files they create can be large.. So, you’ll get best results with a computer that has at least 4GB of RAM (preferably more). It also should have an i7 processor (you can get away with an i5 for light use).
How we help you find the best art tablet for your needs in 2019 – 2020
The best drawing tablet in 2019 – 2020 is one that helps you create art without wasting time on things that don’t work. My decades of experience have helped me test and recognize the tools that give the best results. I receive tablets to review. I’ve also tested many a tablet at CES. I keep up with industry developments to bring you a go-to place for 2019 – 2020 drawing tablet reviews and news.
Got the illustrator blues? Pounding the pavement but not getting replies? If only illustrators could read minds, it would be easy to know what art directors want to see in an illustration portfolio. But not being psychic, many resort to plain guesswork.
Luckily, there are some things that art directors often say in in-person talks, articles, and videos. I’ve compiled a list here of valuable tips they’ve deigned to divulge. Some are things they say over and over, while others are less common but struck a chord.
These tips apply to both print “books” (term for portfolio, in case your a newbie) and online portfolios, and though targeted at be illustration portfolios, most apply to other creative fields as well, including fine art, graphic design and photography.
Here’s the list of illustration portfolio tips:
Ease of use is the most-mentioned recommendation for an illustration portfolio. Keep the focus on your work, not on your site design. Don’t make people click more than once to view a larger image. Instead, have thumbnails they can choose from. Navigation should be clear and simple.
Offer downloads of your tear sheets, preferably high-res. Be sure to put your contact info on each one, keeping the look (fonts, placement) consistent. Don’t make the art director do a “print screen.”
Make sure your site loads fast.
Separate your work into galleries on your site, such as animals, people, business, holiday, etc.
Post the type of work you want to get. If you’re no longer interested in working in a style, don’t include it.
Remember it’s all subjective, what one creative director sees as great art is another one’s nightmare. So don’t get discouraged, and be ready for lots of conflicting opinions.
Keep in touch, but not too much. Send postcards twice a year. Holidays are good time to send. Postcards might be kept up on a wall. Include tear sheets and/or postcards in your analogue portfolio as takeaways.
8 1/2 x 11″ tear sheets are good to have in your portfolio as takeaways or downloads, as these can be kept in a filing cabinet.
Put your art ON things and show them or mail them. Some ADs love little doodads and clever promo pieces. Portfolios don’t have to come in cases.
With a paper portfolio, check each page to be sure it’s clean before you show it. A piece of shmutz or, worse, something scurrying is a sure way to never get a good-news call from an AD.
It’s good to put art in clear plastic pages in your print book.
Don’t drop off original art. Things can get lost or damaged, nothing is 100% guaranteed. Save your fancy handmade portfolio for in-person visits.
Keep images all in one format. That doesn’t mean you have to make all the images vertical, just the way they’re shown. Don’t make people flip the book (or iPad!) around.
They like to see blogs, to get to know you. Keeps them engaged.
They’re watching you. One rep says she keeps tabs on artists she’s interested in. She said be an artist who produces consistently, not one who does things in spurts then fades. So show them you’re still out there, keep your site updated (even if it’s just moving things around), and connect with industry people on social media to subtly help them watch you.
Be a polymath. If you’re open to doing more than one type of work, by casting your net wider, keeping quality and style consistent, variety gives you more chances. Editorial, children’s book, people, animals, lettering, maps, patterns, food, and character turnarounds are all great to include.
Diversity is strength. Show characters of differing backgrounds, ages, and abilities. Also have diversity of format–include a multi-image narrative if you want narrative work. Show a variety of visual angles as well.
Got more than one style? ADs disagree on this. Most say to include a bunch of samples of each style and separate them in a portfolio. But some only want to see one style. Some illustrators actually use different names for their different styles. Their reps may present them that way, being aware that it’s all one multifaceted person. Basically, as long as you show you have mastered each style, it’s probably OK. You shouldn’t limit yourself.
Don’t have published work? Everyone starts somewhere. You can take things such as magazine articles, fairy tales, or stories and create pieces. You’re being evaluated on how you express ideas, so the concept should be clear.
Pick a meaningful point in the text you’re working from to illustrate. It doesn’t always have to be the most dramatic moment–it can be a turning point, a moment before or after an event, or a quiet scene showing the character’s personality–and your interpretive abilities.
Edit, edit, edit–a good print portfolio or online gallery (you can have multiple galleries) should have 12 to 20 pieces. Showing more than that risks viewer fatigue.
Put your best images as the first and last images in a print book or online gallery. That gives a positive impression and last impression.
Have your own site as well as being on larger ones. An art director trying to choose from thousands of creatives on a big site faces choice paralysis, according to these tips on photography portfolios.
Make search easy. Use tags, categories, and hashtags. If an agent wants to see humorous animals dancing on Easter, you should make that possible using tags such as humorous, animals, dancing, and Easter. Sites such as Behance (free with free Adobe account) offer many options such as galleries, projects, and hashtags.
Make your work shareable online. Add sharing links to individual images and galleries.
Keep updating and removing images that no longer reflect who you are. Pare it down and stay in the present.
Think of turning through pages or clicking through images as dancing to a beat. Be aware of how the viewer will respond to the pacing of the images and page turns.
Having an unusual style of “book” to show in person, such as a handmade one, or an distinctively designed Web site can make you memorable, as long as it creative and matches your brand. If you’re not sure, keep it minimal.
Print or online, stay consistent.
We don’t have control over everything. What we do have control over is presentation. Image arrangement, easy navigation, and consistent branding are all tweaks that can go a long way. If you do the best at what you can, show it off in the best way you can, and carefully curate, your illustration portfolio can impress even the most jaded AD and help you land your dream assignment!
Yes, it’s already that time again, the time to find that perfect gift for the stylus-wielding artist in your life. Whether want to really spur their creativity, help them learn, or just make their life a little easier, you can find something in this guide (well, I hope). Or maybe you’re the artist in need of a gift. So, without further ado…
This little stocking stuffer lets you grip that slick Apple Pencil. Probably one of the least costly but most useful things you can get a digital artist.
Veikk A30 Graphics Tablet
Sleek and thin, this graphics tablets give you all the power without breaking the bank.
Tryone Gooseneck Tablet Stand
When you’re tired of drawing you can lay back and watch stuff on your tablet. Holds phones and tablets up to 10/5/”
This unisex Pantone watch gives a colorful burst of sleek design to your wrist. It even tells time.
Ergonomic Grip for Apple Pencil
Note: this fits the both the first- and second-generation Apple Pencil. It comes in black, white, and orange. It offers greater drawing accuracy.
Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker
A perennial fave around here. Help your artist stick to deadlines with this fast way of making coffee. Don’t forget a pinch of cinnamon!
2018 Lenovo ThinkPad x1 Yoga
A whole art studio in a laptop–the 14″ size gives you all you need while staying portable. Wacom pen included, Windows 10, up to 16GB RAM, i7 processor.
Blank Comic Book: Variety of Templates, 2-9 panel layouts, Draw Your Own Comics
A fun, inexpensive gift for kids and up to draw comics. A blank page or screen can be intimidating. There’s nothing like boxes to help you visualize, and paper still feels good.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
This Galaxy Tab S4 with the accurate, pressure-sensitive, lightweight S Pen will bring a grin to the face of any artist who likes a Wacom pen. Android OS. Try some Android art apps.
Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made
Fascinating, behind-the-scenes takes a look at how video games are made. Paperback and Kindle books.
This high-quality set makes art that will last. Also perfect for creating textures to digitize.
These socks were made for arting. Everyone needs a pair! Inspiration from, well, toe to toe.
If you’re looking for ways to customize your Surface Pen and even the Wacom Bamboo stylus, you’re in luck. Tablet Pro has found a way.
With the Tablet Pro Pen Tool, you can work smarter on your Surface by mapping the pen buttons to keyboard shortcuts such as undo. Or enable hover right, left, or middle click. You can remap the Bluetooth eraser as well.
To use the Pen Tool, you’ll need Windows 10 Home or Pro and a Surface Device and pen.
The Surface Pen is fully supported, and the tool also works on other two-button pens including the Wacom Bamboo Ink. Use the tool with your favorite 2D and 3D art programs. It can truly save you time.
You can also stand across the room and use Bluetooth to control a PowerPoint slideshow, or play and pause a video or switch on Cortana. Yup, remote control has come to your pen.
You do not need to use the Tablet Pro app along with the pen; it works on its own.
It will only set you back a few bucks and you can find it here in the Windows Store.
The folks at Tablet Pro have dedicated themselves to make life easier for digital artists. See more about Tablet Pro here.