The following is from XP-Pen, for users who are having cursor trouble with Paint Tool Sai. They have given me permission to share this free download of SAI for users who are having issues. (I’m going to remove it end of March, but can send it to users on request if they are having trouble with their XP-Pen and Sai.
1. SAI only supports windows version.
2. Actually, SAI has a lot of bugs and the users question there are 2 ways “maybe” can solve them.
Method 1. Use this installation of SAI:
Download it from Google Cloud. When the download is complete, please EXTRACT then open the folder to run SAI.exe. Try to test this version cans solve users question.
b. If this doesn’t work, please follow the FAQ below about how to setup SAI, please see the attachment.
Method 2. If the download of SAI above does not solve the issue, please follow these instructions:
Q: My tablet won’t work with Paint Tool SAI; the cursor will not move at all. Other creative software does not have this issue.
A: Please follow these directions:
Ensure that all tablet drivers, including your XP-Pen driver, are uninstalled completely. To do this, open Start >> Control Panel >> Programs and Features and check your programs list. Reboot your computer after uninstalling any tablet software.
After rebooting, click “Start,” then search for “Tablet preferences.” If you find a match, you still have tablet software installed; please repeat step 1.
Reinstall your tablet’s latest driver from the Support >> Downloads section of our website. Reboot once more.
Ensure that your tablet functions correctly in software other than SAI.
Open your SAI installation path, then open “misc.ini” in a text editing program such as Notepad.
Scroll down to “TabletMouseSimulation.”7.
If it is set to 0, please change it to 1, then save and exit.8.
If it is set to 1, please change it to 0, then save and exit.9.
A new Wacom Intuos 2018 is here! The Wacom Intuos tablet design, up to now, has not been changed since the old days of 2015. (The Intuos line was formerly known as Bamboo). We’ll take a look at the difference between new and old and whether the new one is an upgrade or something that goes more… sideways.
In the last few years most art tablets, including tablet PCs, have gone far beyond 1,024 levels of pressure. The Intuos (non-Pro version) was starting to feel like a dinosaur in that respect. The new Intuos 2018 has 4,096 levels, plus a number of other changes to design and functionality. Most of these are for the better.
However, there is one major change that’s not great. Wacom has removed multitouch from the new Intuos. Only the Intuos Pro and older Pen and Touch models (and all Cintiqs) still have it. More on this below.
The active area takes up a greater percentage of the tablet, but the actual active area hasn’t changed–it just now goes almost to the edge of the surface.
There are still four customizable, application-specific Express Keys, even though their arrangement has been changed.
The new Intuoses, like the old one, come in only Small and Medium.
They still come bundled with drawing programs at no additional cost.
The pen’s reading speed (PPS) and tablet resolution (LPI) are still the same.
There’s still a tether so you can lock the tablet.
The pen is still battery-free. It still does not have rotation sensitivity and still does not have an eraser end. (In some markets, there was an Intuos pen with an eraser end; I’m referring to the U.S. market because that’s where I am.)
More pressure sensitivity
There are now 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. This way, there’s not such a huge difference from the Intuos Pro and Cintiqs, which have 8,192.
Wireless use with Bluetooth
This time, the Intuoses have Bluetooth. You no longer need to buy the optional Wi-fi kit to use your Intuos wirelessly. Only one model, the small, more affordable Intuos S, does not have Bluetooth. All come with a USB cable so you can use them wired.
Newer: The new Intuos comes bundled with up to 3 programs: Currently, they are: Corel Painter Essentials 6, Corel Aftershot 3, and Clip Studio Paint Pro. With the Medium size, you get all three. With the Small with Bluetooth, you choose two. With the least expensive new Intuos, the Small without Bluetooth, you get just one–a choice between Corel Painter Essentials 3 or Corel Aftershot 3.S
So, they’re now offering a range of versatile programs that cover digital painting, drawing, and photo editing.
With the older Art Pen and Touch Wacom offered the same tablets with different software, some of which were programs in trial versions or were free anyway. I prefer the new way.
Older: The older Intuoses have different names according to what software they’re bundled with. I always found this a bit confusing. The customer may not even realize the tablets are the same.
The new Small with Bluetooth is 250g (8.8 oz.) and without Bluetooth, 230g (8.1oz.). The old Small weighed 290g (10.2 oz). The new Medium weighs 410g (14.4 oz.) and the old Medium weighed 480g (16.9 oz).
The pen is now called the Wacom Pen 4K (LP-1100K). It looks similar to the old Intuos Pen, but has 4096 pressure levels, or four times its predecessor. (For some reason, Wacom skips some multiples; it skipped 2048 in this new-generation Intuos ands skipped 4096 in the Pro tablets, going from 1024 to 8192). Now the nibs are stored in the barrel. It comes with a nib in the pen plus 3 replacement nibs. The compatible Felt and Flex nibs also will fit in the barrel. The Pen Ring that was sometimes available is gone.
Intuos 2018 with 4K pen. Image by Wacom
Now, to keep the pen from wandering away, there’s a tray, an indent in the top of the tablet that will keep your pen in sight and not rolling off the table like a meatball off spaghetti.
Another difference is the footprint and weight. The new Intuos 2018 is sleeker, taking up less space on the desk, and it’s a bit thinner, about the thickness of a smartphone. The models are all a bit lighter as well.
The top part of the Intuos is about an inch smaller than before. The pen tray doubles as the Express Keys. The pen, when lying in the tray, is sitting over the keys. By redesigning the buttons, Wacom saved some space.
Formerly, there was only the pen loop, which was rather tight and a bit annoying. The pen loop is still there, but you can now use it to carry the pen with the tablet and not as way to keep the pen from rollin’.
The tablet is also thinner, with the top part being thicker than the bottom. It’s now 5 mm in the lower part and 8.5 mm in the upper part. Slender, man.
Medium and small; nibs in pen barrel; thinner footprint. Images: Wacom
This design, while not in itself a reason to get a new Intuos, uses less plastic and is smarter and better than the old one.
What’s the disadvantage?
To keep the price down, Wacom has removed the multitouch feature. Yes, I was shocked too,You’ll have to buy the pricier Intuos Pro to get touch.
(See our Wacom Pen and Touch review about the 2015 models, which as of this writing are still for sale though no longer are on the Wacom site).
One unfortunate result of taking away touch was it was a nice feature for kids, who could use it to finger paint. It also made it so if you lost the pen, you could use your finger if you had to. Now you’ll have to use your mouse if you can’t find the pen.
Without touch, you don’t have gestures, which allow you to pan, zoom, and navigate. You’ll have to use the pen and your art software commands, or keyboard commands, or Express Keys.
Touch made it possible to use the tablet as a trackpad. And, you could take advantage of the growing amount of touch commands in Adobe and other software–commands that, arguably, are mostly used by professionals.
Handwringing aside, touch isn’t needed, it’s just useful. Wacom had almost branded themselves by offering it since it was only NOT available on one art tablet, the down-to-basics Intuos Draw.
Ironically, it’s hard to get a tablet PC that does NOT have a touchscreen.
Is it worth upgrading to the new Intuos?
The levels of pressure, as I often remind people, don’t matter all that much. I can sense the difference in smoothness between 1024 and 2048, but not after that. Additional levels do offer more accuracy, but we’re talking millimeters. For most people, 1,024 levels are enough.
Bluetooth is a really nice feature. Some reported loose ports for the USB in the old Intuos, so it’s a good thing that you can stop using the USB. You’re saving money by not having to buy the Wi-fi kit. Working wirelessly, you can now put the computer at more of a distance away if you wish.
Storing extra nibs inside the pen stand is convenient, since you might not always keep the pen stand with you. This is another smart design move.
The new tablets come in black, pistachio, and berry, which may make artists run to the refrigerator instead of sitting down to work. (Berry, a vibrant pink, is only available in certain markets). Pistachio is an aqua color.
If you have a Pen and Touch, you’ll probably be fine keeping it. It’s an individual decision. Intuoses are solidly built and can last for years.
Wacom’s redefining of multitouch as a Pro feature feels a bit off. It seems strictly a budgetary decision, not one that should affect your perception of how useful or “professional” multitouch is. It’s useful if you use it; if you don’t use it you probably won’t miss it. Non-professionals are likely to get some use out of, it but it’s true that that use may be limited. Pros find it important in saving time, as they can master a workflow that uses Express Keys and gestures.
If you’re puzzling over it, ask yourself whether you want to just draw, more like in real life, or also use gestures and use the tablet as a trackpad with your hand.
If you do like the touch feature, I suggest grabbing an Intuos Pen and Touch while they last. If you’re OK without it, then you’d probably be happy with the positive improvements found in the new Intuos 2018.
Note: the 2018 Intuos is still not for sale quite everywhere but you can see it at Wacom.
Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review: an all-you-need 2-in-1
This relatively powerful, relatively affordable, art-friendly 2-in-1 tablet PC laptop is on my list of top drawing tablet PCs. This is the second generation and came out in late 2017. It comes in 13.3 and 15″ versions. This Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review focuses on the 15.”.
(There is no upcoming 2018 Samsung Notebook 9 Pro, but the soon-to-be-released Notebook 9 Pen will be similar).
The 15″ Notebook 9 Pro is one of the lightest in its class on the market, and the included S pen saves you money on an extra pen purchase. It also rests in a built-in silo, so you don’t have to keep looking for a place to stow it.
It’s not super powerful, but it can handle Photoshop, light gaming, and general use. The best thing about it, and Samsung’s myriad other S-Pen offerings, is the smooth Wacom EMR pen experience.
Type of tablet
2-in-1, nondetachable Runs: Windows, comes with Windows 10 Home and Creator Update
Wacom EMR, S Pen, 4096 levels, tilt sensitivity Uses Windows Ink
Comes in 13.3″ and 15″ Nondetachable keyboard 360-degree hinge 8th-gen Intel i7 processor (on Best Buy model, only on the 15″) The 13 also has an i5 version. Aspect ratio 16:9 Can charge with portable charger Display: LED LCD. HD 1920 x 1080p Brightness 350 nits Color gamut: 106% sRGB, 77% Adobe RGB Windows Ink Weight: 3.79 lbs (15″) 2.91 lbs (13″)
RAM: 16GB (15) 8 GB (13). RAM not upgradeable Storage: 256 GB (can swap to larger hard drive) 720p HD Webcam with microphone Samsung’s Dual Channel Memory (quickens multitasking, viewing, and rendering) Windows Hello facial recognition Modes: Outdoor, quiet, HDR mode for videos
1 USB-C 2 USB 3.0 headphone, Micro SD HDMI Dimensions: 13.7 x 9.4 x 0.7 inches (15) 12.21″ x 8.54″ x 0.63″ (13)
What’s in the Box
Notebook Pro 9 Battery (3-cell) Charger
The Notebook 9 Pro has a solid build quality with utilitarian style, meaning, not much style. It has an all-metal, aluminum alloy body. It’s slender but solidly built, doesn’t bend, and has nicely rounded edges that won’t dig into your hands and thighs.
Its two hinges let you pose it into laptop/tent/stand/tablet.The hinges are sturdy and hold the positions without making the screen wiggle. It takes a little effort to open it from a closed position.
When bending the laptop into a tablet, I immediately accidentally shut off the power key, which sits on the right side where it’s easy to do that.
The other easy accident is putting the S Pen back upside-down, which I also immediately did. If you put it in wrong, it can get stuck and even cause damage.
It’s fine for lefties, but as one Samsung Notebook Pro review observed, lefties may do well to get a longer pen to be able to reach scrollbars.
The screen has really good color to the eye, bright without being oversaturated. It’s sharp (though not 4K) with realistic colors and deep blacks. You can pick different color profiles.
It’s glossy but not overly slippery or glarey and doesn’t attract a lot of fingerprints.
The display is bright at 350 nits, and colors are faithful, with deep, rich blacks.
The slightly raised bezel is thin, not the minimal “infinity” style, but i I don’t mind having what I’m doing separated from the environment around it.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard is backlit. Keys are comfortable and quiet, chicklet with each key slightly curved. It would be nice if they had more travel.
The keyboard when on the bottom, does not retract, but the keyboard and trackpad both stop working when folded back. So, if you want keyboard shortcuts you would need an external Bluetooth or USB-connected keyboard.
The trackpad is large, accurate, and accepts gestures.
The 1.5-watt speakers don’t seem to be a priority. They don’t have much bass or oomph.
The machine boots up really fast, and it’s fast and responsive; I didn’t get any annoying blue circles as can happen on lower-power computers even with undemanding tasks.
The 8th generation Intel chip, the dual core i7-8500, is the same used in the most recent MacBook Pro 15. The 15″ Notebook 9 Pro has a 2GB dedicated graphics chip that’s about half again as fast as the 13’s integrated chip. Both sizes are fine for Photoshop and the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite, video editing, and light gaming.
The 9 Pro is not a super powerhouse but it’s fine for digital art, students, and general productivity or busness.The quadcore Lenovo Yoga 720 is more powerful, but heavier.
It comes with some bloatware, such as Samsung apps you may not have much use for and can remove.
At 3.9 lbs., the 15″ is lighter than the same size Yoga 720 or HP Spectre. It’s still a little heavy to carry around but you won’t find something lighter at that size. The 13″ is a pound lighter and easier to slip into a messenger bag. The pen weighs hardly anything and the included charger is compact. The Notebook 9 Pro is lighter than Yoga 720 15 or HP Spectre 15.
You can charge it with a portable battery charger (not included) via the USB-C port.
About 7 hours of mixed use on both models.
The battery-free, Refined S pen fits into a silo in the front of the laptop base. The pen is skinny and short, and very light. Its fine point is .07mm.
Having a silo is super convenient since you don’t need to worry about keeping a separate pen someplace.
Should you want a larger implement, older Wacom EMR tablet-PC pens as well as the golden Staedtler Noris are compatible. The tilt sensitivity works with these pens as well as the S-Pen.The older tablet PC pen I tried on it didn’t produce an offset.
As with the Galaxy Note, the pen opens up Air Command, where you can do things like screenshot and annotate. Beyond the usual Windows Ink settings, there aren’t specialized pen settings.
Drawing on the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
Having a 15″ display is almost like having a Cintiq MobileStudio Pro 16, without quite the power so many art features, but the size makes up for it in many ways.
Being able to stow the stylus right in it makes working less fraught with anxiety over losing the little devil. Though you may definitely want a larger, slightly heavier pen for heavier work.
The pen has great accuracy, nearly no parallax (offset), and is calibrated right out of the box. It’s also very sensitive. Even though it’s superlight, gently running it over the screen produces a line. Lines come out fluidly, almost like ink. The fine tip makes it precise in hitting icons. Palm rejection works fine.
Tilt sensitivity doesn’t seem as obvious as with a Cintiq pen. I’ve gotten something resembling barrel roll with some apps using the S Pen, but I don’t think this is a feature intended to create designs the way it was in the old Wacom Art Pen for Cintiqs.
If you want to do 3D, it comes with Microsoft 3D, which is, as they say, fun for all ages. It’s sort of a premade way for young Makers to assemble a quick monster or robot. You can also go a lot farther with it.
Most who penned a Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review were very satisfied. Some praised the color quality as well as speed. While some wish the screen were 4K, others don’t mind. One pointed out that a higher resolution screen would cause issues with scaling Adobe icons. Most thought the speakers were just OK.
lightweight can charge via portable charger (not included) via USB-C well-built value fast, smooth Wacom EMR, S Pen included
Must remember to put pen in silo the right way or can get stuck RAM not upgradeable Speakers lack oomph Bloatware
This Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review is a pen’s-up. It’s speedy, affordable, portable and all you need for general art use. If you had one of the old Samsung slates, this will replace that with the same drawing experience and a lot more power.
Still, you might want to wait for the Notebook 9 Pen which you might think of as the 2018 Samsung Notebook 9 Pro. It’s not that different from the Pro but will weigh only 2.2 pounds because it’s built with a lighter-than-aluminum alloy called Metal12. You can see what’s ahead for Samsung’s new lineup.
Best drawing apps for iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and other styluses
What are the best drawing apps for iPad Pro? Artists love the iPad Pro, and so do the app developers who cater to them. I tried a whole bunch and picked these–it’s a pretty long list, because not every app will appeal to everyone.
Mobile art apps of 2017 and 2018 offer advanced features once found only in desktop apps. Some have Android and desktop Mac and/or PC versions as well. iOS 11 has made it easier to transfer files from app to app, in case one doesn’t do something that another does.
Most of the best art apps for iPad Pro strongly integrate the Apple Pencil and multitouch gestures. Most also support other drawing styluses, including Adonit and Wacom. (See the top drawing styluses for iPad and Android). These iOS apps also work on regular iPad and iPhone.
What should you look for in a mobile art app?
Mobile art apps run a gamut, with some strongly enabling drafting or constructing and including features like perspective grids, ellipses, rulers, and shapes, while others focus more on painterly effects, brushes, customizations. And some have all of these. Do you need comic panels? Shapes? Perspective? 3D? Good text tools? Vector? Realistic oil brushes? Replay? Most people will probably want a good pencil and pen tool, the ability for high-res paintings, layers, and easy sharing.
Links go to the app’s Web sites, which you can find links to the various app versions including AppStore, Google Play Store, and desktop.
Procreate Apple Pencil settings
Procreate is probably the most popular app with professional iPad Pro artists, and comes only on iOS. It has a stellar array of brushes, or make your own from a library of shapes and textures. You can also upload textures or use brushes made by other users. The app also cleverly uses iOS 11 by letting you do timesaving tasks such as dragging a custom brush off the Web or emailing a layer.
You can use huge canvases and unlimited layers, adjust Apple Pencil settings, and record and play back paintings. Some find it easy to learn while others may not find it that intuitive. If your needs are only light drawing and painting, then Procreate may be like splitting peas with a sledgehammer.
The current version lacks a ruler and grid, and doesn’t have vector brushes, symmetry, ellipses, or an easy way to make paper textures.
Autodesk Sketchbook apps’ appeal is an easy, intuitive interface combined with a lot of power. Sketchbook by Autodesk has many brush textures, and you can create your own. Its Copic marker library makes it perfect for manga. It has, radial symmetry (perfect for mandalas!), guides, and ellipses to help with perspective.
Drawing on the iPad with Sketchbook Pro is nice and uncluttered, as you can hide the UI. The free version, Sketchbook, gives you limited tools and just a few layers, while Pro, which is by annual subscription, adds a lot more. It’s a very simple app to use, without much learning curve. It’s an excellent drawing app for beginners.
Sketchbook doesn’t have things like wet paper, blending, or specific simulation of types of paint. The selection tools are there, but they could be more intuitive.
Tayasui Sketches/Sketches Pro has a pleasant, airy feeling the company describes as Zen. Its interface is wordless, so language isn’t a barrier. This is a fun and easy app popular among illustrators.
Tayasui’s UI keeps brushes and tools out in the open. You can change the icons to look more like real tools. You can set the tools to remember color. There’s a cool pattern brush that includes a set delicate hand-drawn patterns. The free version is great for sketching (you get the Rotring Pen and a handful of other brushes that emulate real-world tools, such as Acrylic Brush.) Supports gestures, Apple Pencil, and other Bluetooth styluses. It’s a nice, simple and easy drawing experience. Though it’s not the most extensive app, it’s smooth and works great.
Adobe Photoshop Sketch appears minimal at first glance, showing just 5 brushes–pencil, marker, watercolor, ink, and acrylic. But each one has lots of settings like desktop Photoshop, including pressure, flow, size, and velocity. Tap on the “plus” and a plethora of new brushes appear, including Kyle T. Webster brushes. The app also as layers, shapes, grids, a wide variety of premade formats, and the ability to save to the Adobe Creative Cloud. You can a timelapse, share, and send to Behance. Adobe Photoshop Sketch manages to offer a lot while still keeping it simple and intuitive. This app has grown into one of the best free art apps for Apple Pencil and iOS out there.
This is one of the best drawing apps for iPad Pro if you’re just starting but want expressive brush options and are ready to tackle some more meaty features.
Adobe Illustrator Draw is a powerful vector app. No more fussing with Bezier curves and handles, you can just take your Apple Pencil and have completely natural control, turning out tapered, pressure-sensitive lines. Or just finger paint.
You can also do things like upload your own textures which, zap, get turned into vectors. So your art is all fully scalable. You can even export your files over to the desktop version of Illustrator, layers included. Adobe Illustrator Draw can streamline your workflow as an illustrator. You’ll need to have an Adobe Creative Cloud account to use it.
ArtRage a fine art painting app that lets you express yourself in truly painterly ways. It’s got brushes that emulate oil, impasto, pastels, rollers, pencil, crayon, airbrush, eraser, even glitter. You can even squeeze paint out of a tube. You can use layers, different paper textures, view brushes in a close-up window, and export to png, jpg, or the native ptg app, but not to psd. The app focuses on being close to painting in real life. One interesting thing this artist is doing in ArtRage is using the tools to hand-transform photos into paintings complete with brushstrokes. ArtRage settings for Apple Pencil and Bluetooth styluses.
The mobile version lacks selection tools, though, so you’ll need a workaround.
Infinite Painter states, “We are not Sketchbook. We are not Photoshop. We are not Procreate.”
The app aims to distinguish itself, and it does. Popular with Android users, there’s also an iOS version. The UI is nearly invisible, you use a pulldown menu. There are pattern tools–Path, Symmetry, Quilt, and Tile as well as brush masking for filters. There are built-in paper textures, and brushes act on them as they would in the real world–how cool is that? Also, you can paint with a brush on the canvas and it picks up the color. Infinite Painter also has features borrowed from Photoshop, like Clipping Masks and Curves. It also has canvas textures, symmetry, and ellipses. It lets you import photos from free photo site Pixabay, so you can bring an image in as inspiration, or use one on your iPad.
Infinite Painter does not have specific customizations for Apple Pencil or other styluses, nor does it have PSD import or replay, but we still think it’s one of the best free drawing apps for iPad and a good free alternative to Procreate–most of the free ones do not do as much as this one.
SketchClub is a fun, popular, sophisticated, and cheap iPad art app. I has a large, engaged community you can share your work with, as well as community-made brushes. It even has its own zine. It’s got plenty of advanced features, including Smudge and vector tools; bristle brushes; layer transform, customizable color theme, a fast brush and compositing engine, gif export and up to 64 layers. It has autosave and HD canvas recording and playback. Its inking and coloring panels are perfect for creating comics. It even lets you upload T-shirt designs directly to Snaptee. Sketch Club is about the users.
Inspire Pro is something like Painter and ArtRage, with oil paint, airbrushes, markers. It’s got a wide array of brushes, divided by media into sets. Like Procreate, you can make dual-texture brushes from shapes and textures. Inspire Pro has extensive customization of the UI and brush strokes. It’s designed as an Apple Pencil drawing app in that it lets you customize settings for that and other styluses as well. If you want brushes that simulate traditional media plus the ability to make extensive customizations, then this is for you.
Alas, Inspire Pro allows only one layer, so that may be an issue, bringing the experience closer to real-world painting. After buying it, there are still in-app purchases.
The update of the old ArtStudio is packed with features that utilize the Apple Pencil in this new version. The company is on its way to adding support for other styluses but right now it’s one of the best Apple Pencil apps in 2017. ArtStudio Pro lets you create stunning art. There are 450 brushes (150 of them free). There are also 40 filters, such as Gaussian Blur, Render Clouds, and Elastify. So you can edit photos and utilize text: it’s got 150 fonts and support for TTF fonts that you can add. If you have the old ArtStudio, you can upgrade to this one.
Medibang for iPad has almost as much going for it as its desktop version, and both are free. It offers so much it’s kind of dizzying. Similar to Paint Tool SAI, Medibang is a great app for comics and cartooning, since it lets you easily make panels of different shapes and layouts. There are also free comic book fonts. There’s a library of tones, word balloons, and other goodies. It has interesting pens like Symmetry, Turnip, and Sumi. You can also do layer masks and customize shortcuts. There’s autobackup in case of crashes. Supports Apple, Wacom, and Adonit styluses (remember to turn on pen pressure). It’s a fun ride. Users can create an account to save their work to the Cloud.
Paintstorm is extremely versatile and perfect for app geeks who love to experiment. Its devotees put up with some glitches here and there to enjoy this fun (though memory-intensive) program. The app may be a work in progress, but some glorious art is made with it. One of its more unusual features is being able to blend multiple layers together. There are all sorts of oil brushes, gradient brushes, shortcuts, Incredible options for customizing brushes, support for PSD and ABR, full support for Apple Pencil, rulers, ellipses, perspective brush tools, and the ability to correct brush strokes for any parameter. It’s something like Corel Paint. The mobile app offers the same exact features as the desktop Mac version. The free version (the one I tried) allows you to work in up to 10 layers but only to save to one and to open a single-layer file. The paid one allows PSD import and export. The app could use more type and comics-panel options.
There a lot of great art apps but these are some of the best drawing apps for iPad Pro and other styluses. So if you’re still using Paper by Fifty Three (a classic that’s not bad to get started with), don’t be afraid to try something new. All of them offer different versions of analogue art supplies, which are, in short, brushes, colors, and surfaces. Just think, this guy does his art in Excel!
Best cheap drawing tablets: our favorites for 2017-2018
Starving artist seeking the best cheap drawing tablets? Look no farther. Going digital without breaking the bank is a question on the minds of many. I’ve been lucky to be able to test quite a few cheap tablets and I’m a believer. I do not agree with reviewers who say you have to buy a Cintiq.
I’ve made a list that includes the 3 different types: cheap graphics tablets without screens, budget tablet monitors, and cheap drawing tablets with screen–Android tablets or cheap 2-in-1 tablet PCs. All come with an active pen.
If we were talking about traditional art supplies, I would say to spend more, because of factors such as pigment, fillers, and lightfastness. But pixels are pixels. It’s the experience of using the tablet, and its reliability, that matter the most.
A good cheap drawing tablet does most of the same thing as an expensive drawing tablet. Some might say you shouldn’t penny pinch, but the price difference can be huge.
Below I go over the differences and want to look for.
Ultra cheap pen display
I’ve tested and reviewed this PNBoo PN10 as a small ultra-cheap tablet monitor. It has Express Keys. I think this is a good choice for a small cheap drawing tablet with screen.
A cheaper graphics tablet is the Turcom TS 6610, which is similar (with small hardware and driver differences) to the Huion 610Pro. If you use the Huion driver, you’re better off.
Cheap tablets vs. Wacom
Cheap drawing tablets, and their pens, are made mostly of plastic and thus are lighter. Parts are metal, including the stand. Expensive drawing tablets have more metal alloy and tend to weigh more.
Features and hardware
These budget brands, and most others, use EMR, which is the same type of technology that Wacom uses in their digitizers. EMR is highly sensitive, so you will not be missing out in terms of pen responsiveness.
Lower-cost tablets usually have no tilt sensitivity, no multitouch (ability to finger paint). A cheap drawing tablet won’t get pressure sensitivity in vector programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape.
For vector art, the best option is to use Clip Studio Paint, where you can get pressure sensitivity with a budget tablet. Though those files stay in their native file type and can’t be exported to .eps or .ai files.
Cheap graphics tablets don’t have a wireless kit the way the Intuos non-Pro models do (note, that costs extra).
Most budget tablet monitors lack external, customizable Express Keys. Some do, though.
Cheap tablet monitors come with a stand, but the stand doesn’t swivel the way Wacoms do. Budget tablets usually have 2048 levels of pressure and Wacoms have up to 8192, though some still have 1024. All are fine.
Generally, a cheap drawing tablet won’t come with bundled art software. Wacom Intuoses do, though.
Wacom Intuos as a cheap drawing tablet
As you can see, two Wacom Intuoses are named as a best cheap graphics tablet. That may seem strange, but the small non-Pro Intuoses really aren’t that expensive. They don’t have all the features of the Pro line, but that’s OK for most people. I think Medium is the best size for drawing, but it depends. With the Intuos you get bundled art software.
Drivers for budget tablet brands do not offer as much customization as more expensive ones. They can also be harder to install or have occasional hiccups.
Wacom drivers are not immune from hiccups, but the installation process takes you by the hand more. Usually I find the budget ones to install quickly, but now and then there’s a hitch.
Low-cost tablets usually do not come with bundled art software. Wacom’s do, so that adds value.
Other differences are simply in the packaging. Some budget pen displays come in plain boxes without printing on them. The manuals may not be written in perfect English or may say “works with Windows 8” when the world is on Windows 10.
Don’t worry about that. Companies keep the drivers updated even if they don’t always keep the printed matter up to date. Download the drivers from their sites.
The screen tends to be smooth; there’s no texture as there is on some Cintiqs.
Many of the budget graphics pads and pen displays come with a generous assortment of accessories such as a drawing glove, bag, screen protector, and extra pen.
A lot of the low-cost tablet brands have interchangeable drivers, meaning those from one company can work on another’s. That’s a positive. If you have trouble with a driver, you can sometimes download a driver from a different site. In some of my reviews, I’ve noted where I had difficulties with drivers and tried alternative ones that worked better.
As far as support, most of the companies have ways of reaching them online, including forums, phone, and Skype chats. Some have offices in the U.S. and other countries and some don’t. Not all have Facebook pages and Twitter, as some are in countries where those are blocked. So you may need to use email or Skype.
Buying on Amazon is probably your best bet since you will have their return policy and guarantees.
Most of these are for sale only online, except the Wacoms. You won’t find cheap drawing tablets at Best Buy or other big box stores.
What to look for (and look out for) in an affordable art tablet:
Drivers should install without a struggle. Be sure you have deleted all previously installed tablet drivers first. (If you’re on a tablet PC, you can leave the tablet PC software. Only delete drivers that you or someone else installed onto the computer.)
If you do have a struggle, contact support of that particular company. You can also try deleting and reinstalling. It seems to me that installation is getting easier.
Drivers should work well across programs and for Windows and Mac.
Ports should not be loose. Loose ports are even a problem in some Wacom tablets. Cables should fit snugly into ports.
Don’t be alarmed if the screen squeaks at first when you use the pen; rub the screen with your hands a few times to quiet it down.
Cheap Android and 2-in-1s
I’ve included standalone, direct drawing tablets on my list too, including the Lenovo Yoga Book and Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S Pen, an excellent choice for a relatively cheap 10″ tablet.. There are some relatively inexpensive tablet PCs and Android tablets.
A lot of people want a 2-in-1. None are super powerful, though. If you want a lot of processing power at the lowest price, you may be better off using a PC with an attached graphics pad.
Students, beginners, hobbyists, and artists on a budget–including professional ones–all can benefit by saving money. Many people have been using these best cheap drawing tablets and are happy with them. I’ve been glad to have had the opportunity to try some.
You can always start out with an affordable option then move up. Or you may just decide to keep it.
You will find you can get good results without spending so much.