The best drawing tablets for beginners

Become the next Pablo Picasso without the learning curve using one of these beginner drawing tablets.

A drawing tablet resting on a table

by Ryan Gilmore |

Drawing is a fun hobby for many and can be a great way to express yourself. Drawing tablets allow you to draw (obviously), take notes and play around with a computer - instead of paper. They sound like a great idea - instead of having to spend money on artsy paints, chalks and paper, you can do it all using your computer.

The issue with these drawing pads is that it can all seem a bit daunting, spending a good chunk of money on a device and then having to learn how to use it. As such, we've found the best drawing tablets for beginners that won't break the bank and will have you drawing something cool in no time.

What do I need to consider when buying my first drawing tablet?

  • Size - your biggest consideration when buying a drawing tablet is size. Bigger ones will cost more money but will offer greater precision. Smaller options are inevitably the cheapest, but you'll probably outgrow these as your skills begin to improve. It's probably best to settle for a mid-sized offering that won't cost too much and won't become cumbersome to use after a bit of practice.

  • Price - when investing in any sort of technology, setting a budget is a wise practice. What's practical for you? How much do you have to spare? Is this technology worth investing in? If it's only a part-time gig, or just for fun, we recommend not forking out too much for a tablet with all the latest features. But, it's up to you.

  • Features - tablets are continually improving their processing and updating their programmes, so it stands to reason to be interested in the tech with the best reputation. Getting excited about tech is our thing at What's the Best. From things like active drawing areas to pen pressure to screen resolution, there are so many different features that can help you out on your creative journey. What features do you want to prioritise and what are you excited by?

  • Ease - when choosing a drawing tablet, think about how you work best. Plus, you're a beginner, so don't be too worried if this tech seems out of your element. You'll get it, but it'll take practice. Luckily, accessibility is something that companies are trying to incorporate into their products so that no artist feels left out when they feel the need to create. For example, some tablets work with touch connectivity, whereas others depend on a stylus for drawing.

The best drawing tablets for beginners - UK 2022

As an entry drawing tablet, you can't go wrong with what the XP-PEN G960 offers. The large 8.35 x 5.33-inch screen features tremendous pressure sensitivity, four shortcut buttons and a stylus that doesn't require batteries in an extremely well-priced package. It's an excellent way to start drawing on your computer.

Pros: Great value and specifications

Cons: The screen may become too small as your ability progresses

If you want to take your digital art to the next level then this option from GAOMON is perfect. Featuring 28 customisable buttons on the 10 x 6.25-inch screen, this drawing pad is the ideal way to draw great quality pictures. The pen requires recharging and goes through nibs, however.

Pros: Most customisable option

Cons: Stylus will require charging

A large 10 x 6-inch option from UGEE, this drawing pad offers a load of accessories that'll make learning how to use a drawing tablet easy. Alongside the customisable buttons, this pack includes a battery-free stylus with eight replacement nibs and a stylish pen holder. It also has a drawing glove and a pair of white gloves to keep your screen clean.

Pros: A lot of kit and size for your money

Cons: Some report the stylus to be rather weak

Wacom is renowned for quality and this five-inch option is great for a beginner. The stylus requires no batteries and offers great accuracy. This drawing tablet even includes 90-day trials for either Corel Painter or Corel Aftershot, so you can test out your art or photo-editing skills for free.

Pros: Free trial of software included

Cons: Expensive option for small tablet size{:target=_blank :rel=noreferrer noopener}

If you already own a third-generation iPad Pro then you have a great basis for a drawing pad. With one of these Apple pencils, learning to draw will be easy, with plenty of drawing apps supporting the pencil. Being able to see the results on the same screen is a massive plus point, too.

Pros: Very simple to use and can be used for more than just drawing.

Cons: Requires an iPad Pro to work properly.


What software will I need?

There are plenty of computer programs that support drawing tablets, but the top-rated examples will cost you some money. The best software we've found is made by the tech giant, Adobe. Both Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop support drawing tablets and will help you do your most impressive work. Be warned, you'll need to purchase a subscription, but the programs are fairly easy to use and produce professional-looking work.

You'll also probably need to install a driver to calibrate your stylus. These are usually free to download from the manufacturer's website and will make your drawing tablet easier to use.

What other features should I look for?

Try and find one with a stylus that doesn't require batteries. These will save you money on replacement batteries and you won't have to worry about charging cables. These styli will go through nibs, however, so it's worth finding a tablet that offers some replacement nibs.

Shortcut buttons are a great time-saver, but are by no means necessary, especially for beginners.

What's the best way to learn?

Learning how to use a drawing tablet sounds harder than it is. All the tablets listed above are very simple to use, with even the most complex only featuring a couple of configurable buttons (you can even ignore these altogether when you're starting out). The main thing you'll need to learn is how to use your chosen software. Some programs offer free tutorials so you'll understand the basics of drawing and help you improve, but the best way we've found to learn the skill is to simply keep practising.

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