Best Drawing Tablet for Beginners in 2022

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: May 24, 2022 •  Guides

I’ve written lots of articles sharing my recommendations on digital tablets for artists, but I have been holding off on writing a guide for the total beginner, and I think I finally understand why that is.

See, so many of the guides out there on selecting and purchasing a beginner’s tablet for drawing are, to say the least, pretty long and complicated, and so I decided to find a way to make it much simpler for you to find the best graphics tablet for beginners and their needs.

So, rather than flood you with specifications and choices, I have instead focused on what is really important, and also turned to my own extensive experience – with art tablets, and as an art teacher – to make this the best and easiest experience possible for you.

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If you want it to be even easier, here are my top two choices:

  1. NEW Apple iPad Air (10.9″, WiFi, 256GB)
  2. NEW Apple iPad Air (10.9″, WiFi, 256GB)

    Best iPad for drawing and Procreate if you are on a budget or you are a student / beginner

    Latest M1 processor :: 10.9-inch liquid retina display for superior color, contrast, brightness :: Light & extremely strong :: Premium fit & finish :: Up to 10 hours battery life :: Early 2022 model

    Get it on Amazon
  3. Wacom One Digital Drawing Tablet with Screen
  4. Wacom One Digital Drawing Tablet with Screen

    13.3-inch FHD Pen Graphics Display :: Screen with anti-glare protector :: Wacom One Battery-Free Stylus Pen :: 4096 pressure sensitivity levels :: Up to 60 degrees of tilt for easy shading :: 99% sRGB color gamut :: Built-in stand :: Early 2020 model :: HDMI and USB-A connectivity :: Windows, macOS, Android, Chromebook

    Get it on Amazon

If you’d like to get into more detail – but again, really only the detail that matters – and learn a thing or two about what art tablets are, and what you may need, let’s get into it, with my all-new 2022 guide to the best drawing tablets for beginners.

Table of Contents

What Should You Look For in Your First Drawing Tablet?

So, my brilliant and beautiful new approach to finding the best drawing tablet for any beginner comes down to two basic questions:

  1. What Are You Going to Use the Tablet For?
  2. How Much Do You Want to Spend?

Really, with the hundreds of different tablet choices, all the facts, figures and specifications, the myriad of features and fancy capabilities, the opinions and recommendations, you can go totally nuts trying to select just one good and affordable drawing tablet, so this two step method cuts through all of that, and focuses only on what is really important.

What Are You Going to Use the Tablet For?

We can say that there are two basic types of computer tablets for artists – standalone and plug-in which can be with a screen and without a screen.

Standalone Drawing Tablets

A standalone tablet is a computer unto itself, a full-function digital tablet that you can use to draw, illustrate, animate and get on the internet, check and answer emails, message and chat, watch videos and listen to music, play games, even make and answer phone calls – and, oh yeah, draw!

Plug-in Drawing Tablets

The plug-in variety, on the other hand, do not work on their own, and need to be plugged into a computer – a Windows PC, Apple, Android or Chromebook – to be used. These graphics tablets may not even have their own display screen, but even if they do they need to be connected to your computer so you can use them.

There are two varieties of plug-in drawing tablet – with screen and without:

Pen Display Tablets

With Screen: Called a Pen Display Tablet, these are the easiest and most natural to use, since they display your art software and your artwork on their own touchscreen monitor, and allow you to use a digital stylus to work directly on that art.

Pen Tablets

Without Screen: Called a Pen Tablet, these are a little tougher to get the hang of, since they are basically just a blank black work surface with no display, and you have to look at your computer’s monitor when using them. Still, they can be incredibly precise and powerful art tools, and have the huge advantage of being very, very affordable.

So, if you want a fully functional tablet, that you will use as a kind of portable digital assistant as well as a beautiful and powerful art tool for drawing, painting or wherever your creative heart takes you, the standalone tablet is for you.

But if you want a tablet that is just for drawing and artwork – maybe you already have a good phone and/or a good laptop, or you are on a tighter budget, or both – then a plug-in drawing tablet is what you should focus on, and they can be absolutely wonderful, powerful and useful art tools as well.

Can it really be that simple? Well, yeah, it really can! And, as with so much in life, unnecessary complications almost always make processes both less effective and more difficult.

How Much Do You Want to Spend?

Once you’ve decided which type of tablet is best for your first digital tablet for drawing – standalone or plug-in – you just need to figure out your budget, and you’re off and running. Or at least off and drawing!

And while you may already know just how much you should, can or want to spend, there is only one thing I myself would say about the matter:

Don’t Worry!

People will tell you that you should spend more and more, that the best tablets for drawing should be super-premium, super-advanced, and essentially professional level, that if you spend too little you will end up with a flimsy piece of electronic junk that will end up in the trash can faster than you can say digital stylus.

See? Even I have to take a deep breath after all of that!

But the truth is that there are really fantastic art tablets at all price levels. This is where my own experience is your best friend, because I have tried so many different tablets, and have helped so many friends, colleagues and students find a tablet that’s right for them.

So you want a tablet that performs well, that is built well, and most importantly one that will help you with your art – whether you are just learning or already fairly far along and just finally ready to use a digital tablet. And you want one you can afford!

Because that’s really the bottom line – no matter what kind of tablet you get, and no matter how much you want to spend, you can end up with an art tablet for drawing, painting, photography, video, any and every creative process, that makes your art easier, more fun and more effective.

Are Specifications Really Important In Selecting the Best Beginner Tablet for Drawing?

Well, yes and no.

Or, to be clearer – or perhaps the opposite – we can say that actual working specifications are quite important in selecting and using a drawing tablet, but published specifications often don’t mean squat.

I mean there are a lot of very cheap tablets out there which claim to have incredibly high screen resolution and drawing resolution, great brightness, contrast, color range and accuracy, fast processing, full and problem-free compatibility and more.

At the same time, there are some pretty pricey premium tablets that may have published specifications that are quite conservative – Apple, Microsoft, and Wacom, for example – and yet if you lay one of their tablets next to one of the inexpensive models, the premium example will clearly and obviously blow the ultra-cheap big talker away.

And, again, price is not necessarily a reliable guide – affordable tablets, no matter what they claim in terms of specifications, can be pretty poor performers, or if you get the right one it can be absolutely stellar – and a well designed, well made and durable product to boot.

You can rest assured that every tablet I recommend below will be an amazing unit, with top-level actual, working specifications and performance for its price level, but still you might want to know a bit more about all of this, so let’s talk very briefly about the most important specifications:

Resolution

I mean two things here – the screen resolution (for standalone tablets, and for plug-in tablets with touchscreen displays) and drawing resolution.

Contrast, Brightness, Color Gamut and Color Accuracy

Yeah, that’s a lot! We are putting all of these factors together because they all, along with screen resolution, determine how beautiful your art will look on the screen, and also how much control and effectiveness you have as an artist.

Pen Sensitivity

You may have heard of things like pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition, and that is what we mean here – while the drawing resolution is very important, having a pen that will allow you to not only work as precisely as you want, but also captures your expressive motions and gestures, is also pretty essential.

Processing Power and Speed, Memory and Storage

These are perhaps somewhat over-hyped specifications, unless you are working with extremely large and complex digital images, super-high-resolution videos or music, three dimensional modeling and rendering, or are plotting a course to the moon 🙂

Still, you definitely want enough processing power and memory to make absolutely certain that your tablet will flow with you – no blips, gaps or delays when you are in the zone, and that your artwork will load and display quickly and with no problems. You also want to make sure that you can run even the newest, biggest and most powerful art software with no issues.

There are other specs and factors that may or may not be important, but just as with our questions and comments about budget, the takeaway here can be the exact same simple and wonderful message – Don’t Worry!

All of our choices for best tablets for beginners will be as good as you can possibly get in terms of specifications and performance. They will always work great and allow you to do anything you want, and go as far as you want, without ever holding you back on any level. 

Let’s Select Your New Drawing Tablet!

And to do this, let’s get back to our basic questions, and use them as a guide to the following recommendations.

What will you use your new tablet for?

You can, of course, get a great standalone tablet even if you only plan to use it for artwork, and if you make the right choice it will work just as beautifully for your drawing, painting or whatever you want to create as any of the art-specific tablets will – just don’t get to distracted by Minecraft or Candy Crush!

So, let’s get into it, and make sure that you do indeed make the right choice, with this list of the best drawing tablets for beginners in 2022!

Best Beginner Art Tablets for Drawing in 2022

  1. NEW Apple iPad Air (10.9″, WiFi, 256GB)
  2. NEW Apple iPad Air (10.9″, WiFi, 256GB)

    Best iPad for drawing and Procreate if you are on a budget or you are a student / beginner

    Latest M1 processor :: 10.9-inch liquid retina display for superior color, contrast, brightness :: Light & extremely strong :: Premium fit & finish :: Up to 10 hours battery life :: Early 2022 model

    Get it on Amazon
  3. Wacom One Digital Drawing Tablet with Screen
  4. Wacom One Digital Drawing Tablet with Screen

    13.3-inch FHD Pen Graphics Display :: Screen with anti-glare protector :: Wacom One Battery-Free Stylus Pen :: 4096 pressure sensitivity levels :: Up to 60 degrees of tilt for easy shading :: 99% sRGB color gamut :: Built-in stand :: Early 2020 model :: HDMI and USB-A connectivity :: Windows, macOS, Android, Chromebook

    Get it on Amazon
  5. Microsoft Surface Go 3
  6. Microsoft Surface Go 3

    10.5" Touchscreen - Intel® Core™ i3 - 8GB Memory - 128GB SSD - Device Only - Platinum (Latest Model)

    For the best experience, I also recommend the Surface Keyboard and Surface Pen


    Buy Now on Amazon
  7. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
  8. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

    10.4-inch Android Tablet 128GB Wi-Fi

    Included S Pen


    Buy Now on Amazon
  9. Huion Inspiroy H1161 Graphics Drawing Tablet
  10. Huion Inspiroy H1161 Graphics Drawing Tablet

    Screen size: Large

    8192 Pen Pressure with Battery-Free Stylus 10 Shortcut Keys,Compatible with Chromebook, Android, Windows and Mac


    Buy Now on Amazon

Best Standalone Apple Drawing Tablets for Beginners

  1. NEW Apple iPad Pro (12.9″, WiFi, 512GB)
  2. NEW Apple iPad Pro (12.9″, WiFi, 512GB)

    The best iPad for drawing and Procreate

    Apple M1 Processor for next-level performance :: 12.9-inch liquid retina display for superior color, contrast, and brightness :: Light and extremely strong :: Up to 10 hours battery life :: Early 2021 model

    Get it on Amazon
  3. NEW Apple iPad Air (10.9″, WiFi, 256GB)
  4. NEW Apple iPad Air (10.9″, WiFi, 256GB)

    Best iPad for drawing and Procreate if you are on a budget or you are a student / beginner

    Latest M1 processor :: 10.9-inch liquid retina display for superior color, contrast, brightness :: Light & extremely strong :: Premium fit & finish :: Up to 10 hours battery life :: Early 2022 model

    Get it on Amazon
  5. NEW Apple iPad Mini (Wi-Fi, 256GB)
  6. NEW Apple iPad Mini (Wi-Fi, 256GB)

    Best cheapest and smallest iPad I recommend for drawing and Procreate

    Apple A15 Processor for Best-in-Class Performance :: 8.3 inch Liquid Retina Display for Superior Color, Contrast, Brightness :: Light and Extremely Strong :: Premium Fit and Finish :: Up to 10 Hours Battery Life


    Get it on Amazon

Any of these Apple iPad tablets would make a brilliant choice for a beginning artist, art student or anybody just starting out with digital art.

They are all incredibly easy to use, have the very finest, most beautiful, most accurate and most usable screens on the market today – the stunning Apple Liquid Retina display – and their performance in every way is truly top-tier.

They also have a really remarkable feeling when you use them. Not only do they feel good in your hand – with that premium material and build quality Apple is famous for, and a solid and stable frame – but their pen-to-screen feeling is just fabulous.

Really, the way the Apple Pencil feels when moving across an iPad screen is wonderful – just the right amount of resistance so that you can work with real control and accuracy, and yet an amazing flow.

There is also a huge range of art software available on the Apple iPad platform, from super-simple free apps, to cheap and amazingly capable software like ProCreate, to the most powerful professional creativity programs like the Adobe Creative Suite – and they are all pretty much as easy to use and as intuitive as the iPad itself.

So it really comes down to screen size and price:

Any of the Apple iPads would make a great choice for a beginning artist or art student, and are a wonderful introduction to the world of digital art – they are, in fact, the darlings of the art community, and what so many artists choose.

They are all also great tablets overall, with excellent screens for videos and movies, reading and video chatting, superb cameras, 5G phone capability, a huge range of all kinds of software – so much of it totally free – and, again, a simple, logical and intuitive design and user interface that makes using them so very easy.

If pressed, I might point to the iPad Air, which is such a beautifully light and premium quality product, but this is largely because the 10.9 inch screen is nice and big, and works great for all kinds of art, but makes for a wonderful portable drawing tablet as well – but really, whichever iPad you choose you can’t possibly go wrong!

Please keep in mind that none of the iPad tablets come with a stylus, and so the incredible Apple Pencil must be purchased separately.

Best Windows Standalone Drawing Tablet for Beginners

Standalone: Windows
Microsoft Surface Go 3

10.5" Touchscreen - Intel® Core™ i3 - 8GB Memory - 128GB SSD - Device Only - Platinum (Latest Model)

For the best experience, I also recommend the Surface Keyboard and Surface Pen


Buy Now on Amazon

With Apple we were able to confidently recommend three different products as a great choice for a beginner, but with Windows tablets we can make it even simpler, with the superb Microsoft Surface Go 3 – the perfect first tablet for any artist, and a really powerful personal computer as well, and for a surprisingly low price.

Despite the fact that it is the least expensive Microsoft Surface tablet available, the Surface Go 3 has a very sharp, detailed display screen, with incredible life and depth, a huge range of colors and a very high level of color accuracy – ideal for both new artists and students as well as serious commercial and fine artists.

The screen is just the right size – 10.9 inches, which makes things very easy to see and work on, and yet still makes the tablet easy to hold and easy to pack. And the feeling of the Microsoft Surface Pen on the Go 3 touchscreen’s surface is just ideal – smooth and flowing, but with a physical feedback and resistance that keep you in control and makes the most precise and detailed work not just easy, but quite natural.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is a surprisingly powerful personal computer for its price – being a normal Windows unit, it is not just a standalone tablet, but essentially a full-function PC as well. The fast Intel processor can handle even the most advanced art software, or any software at any level, with speed and total reliability, and there is plenty of memory and storage space for art and everything else.

But despite the power of the Go 3, the absolutely huge range of excellent art software (and every other kind of software) available, the beauty and impact of its bright, contrasty high resolution screen and the overall fast, flowing and trouble-free performance, what seems to really impress most people is the solid, beautiful and premium look and feel of this tablet, which is clearly made for real use and long life.

And all of this is available at a much lower price than you might expect – really, an amazingly affordable tablet considering the quality, the performance and the Go 3’s excellence as a digital art tablet.

Now keep in mind that you need to purchase the Microsoft Surface Pen separately, but even still this is a silly-cheap super-premium tablet. Even if you throw in the (also optional) Surface Go Type Cover, and turn your 3 into a full convertible laptop, it is an absolute bargain!

Best Android Standalone Drawing Tablet for Beginners

Standalone: Android
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

10.4-inch Android Tablet 128GB Wi-Fi

Included S Pen


Buy Now on Amazon

If price were no object, my real choice for best Android art tablet would definitely be the beautiful new Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+, with its big, bright and sharp 12.4 inch touchscreen, latest and greatest processor and overall technology and performance, and absolutely premium fit, finish and material quality.

But though the S8+ can be counted as a genuine value in top-notch digital tablets, it is still over 800 dollars in its most basic configuration – not the most affordable drawing tablet – and for this reason alone might not be a realistic choice for a first art tablet.

Luckily for us, Samsung also makes a lovely little entry level drawing tablet – the Galaxy Tab 6 Lite – which is far less than half the price and still has a remarkably bright and detailed high resolution screen, fast processing, great cameras and stereo sound, and a similarly premium appearance and feeling to the pricey S8+.

But most importantly the 6 Lite works with, and even comes with, the superb Samsung S-Pen, a very expressive, precise and accurate battery free stylus that allows work on the very highest level. With full pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition, you can just flow with creativity, and the pen’s feeling on the touchscreen makes painting and drawing a real joy – maybe the best cheap drawing tablet I’ve used.

Ultimately you have to consider if an Android tablet is the best choice – they do not have the very highest level art software available to them, and in this regard are at a bit of a disadvantage compared to Windows or Apple tablets. At the same time, Android does have an enormous range of free software of all kinds available – including quite nice drawing, painting and other creative apps – and you can also find more and more fairly advanced art apps online – and again, most of them free to use.

But the main reason so many art students and beginners consider an Android as their first drawing tablet is price, and when you can get a tablet like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, that is this well made, has such a big, beautiful and usable screen, and works so beautifully for all kinds of art apps (and everything else), for such a low price, it’s a pretty easy choice.

Best Graphics Display Tablet for Beginners

Wacom Pick
Wacom One Digital Drawing Tablet with Screen

13.3-inch FHD Pen Graphics Display :: Screen with anti-glare protector :: Wacom One Battery-Free Stylus Pen :: 4096 pressure sensitivity levels :: Up to 60 degrees of tilt for easy shading :: 99% sRGB color gamut :: Built-in stand :: Early 2020 model :: HDMI and USB-A connectivity :: Windows, macOS, Android, Chromebook

Get it on Amazon

My choice for the best beginner’s tablet for drawing is also one of my favorite new products, and in many ways a very exciting art tablet.

The Wacom One is an affordable but extremely talented plug-in drawing tablet with a sharp, bright and beautiful display that makes working on any kind of art – drawing, painting, photo editing, video, animation, design and layout, really anything – so easy and so effective.

The screen is 13.3 inches, so it’s actually a bit bigger than you might expect, and gives you plenty of working area for both large expressive gestures and complex, detailed work, and the included Wacom digital pen has both tilt recognition and pressure sensitivity, and really feels great in the hand and on the screen.

Resolution, color range and accuracy, brightness and contrast are all superb – not as high as the top-end Wacom professional products, but amazing for this price, and a clear and dynamic reminder of the reason Wacom is the de facto choice for commercial and fine artists all over the world.

In fact I think that’s why this is one of my favorite products – for years, when people ask for a recommendation for the best art tablet, I so often want to say “Wacom, of course!” But Wacom tablets with displays are pretty darned expensive, and out of many people’s possible range.

But not the new Wacom One, which feels like a professional level product, and yet is designed to be easy and intuitive, and allow even a total newbie to immediately begin working at a very high level.

Including everything you need, and compatible with Apple, Windows, Android and Chromebook, the Wacom One is a great budget drawing tablet at an unbelievable price, and an easy choice for best first tablet for drawing. 

Best Graphics Pen Tablet for Beginners

Graphics Pen Tablet
Huion Inspiroy H1161 Graphics Drawing Tablet

Screen size: Large

8192 Pen Pressure with Battery-Free Stylus 10 Shortcut Keys,Compatible with Chromebook, Android, Windows and Mac


Buy Now on Amazon

There is no doubt that Wacom makes the very finest pen tablets on the market today, and they are the first and only choice for many commercial and fine artists working at the very top levels – the Wacom Intuos is a great example, and a superb graphics pen tablet. 

But a Wacom tablet – even without a screen – is a pretty pricey affair, and for a tiny fraction of the cost you can get pen tablets from other manufacturers with very similar performance and feeling. And the best in this regard is, in my experience, the Huion Inspiroy H1611 – a brilliant and quite cheap drawing tablet.

The 1611 has a nice big active drawing area – 6 by 11 inches – making drawing and painting easy and natural and yet not taking up too much space on the desktop or in your pack.

The drawing surface is just beautiful, with an ideal amount of tension for control without ever slowing down your flow, and the outstanding Huion PW100 battery free pen (included) has full pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition, making drawing even more natural and expressive.

There are tons of function keys, and many of them are programmable, so you can easily do things like change brush sizes, colors or windows without distraction. There’s even a cool touch strip, which is great for zooming in and out while you’re working. In many ways, in fact, this is a well designed and perfectly laid out tablet, clearly made by artists for artists.

It is also a solid and durable product, made for many years of use, and will work with any Apple, Windows or Android computers or portable devices.

Significantly less expensive than anything else on our list of best beginner art tablets for drawing, the Huion Inspiroy H1611 does not have a nice, sharp and colorful screen – or a screen at all, for that matter – and will not work as anything but a dedicated art tablet, But as an art tablet it is extraordinarily precise, expressive and useful, and highly recommended.

If your budget is even a bit tighter, or you simply want a smaller digital drawing tablet, you might also want to check out the nifty little Huion H640P – a 4 by 6 inch mini tablet with similar precision and overall quality, but with fewer programmable function keys and no tilt recognition (which can be controlled in software anyway), for an even lower price.

I have also had a lot of luck with the also quite inexpensive XP-Pen products, and can pretty generally recommend their whole line as very good

Bonus: Can You Learn to Draw Using a Graphics Tablet?

Absolutely!

If you get the right tablet, which has a good pen, a bright and accurate screen, a natural pen-to-screen interaction and good quality software, learning art on a digital tablet can be extremely effective, not to mention really, really fun.

All of the basics – shape and representation, flow and motion, light and shadow, shading, texture, color theory, geometry and relationships – are so easy to see and to master on a good tablet, and you can practice to your heart’s content, without worrying about buying paper or hurting trees.

All that said, I will qualify my enthusiasm for learning art on a tablet with a couple of important considerations:

1. Use Traditional Media As Well

Even if you are planning on being a digital artist exclusively, you should think about also learning and practicing on physical paper, with pens, pencils and markers.

And with painting as well – or any art form – using paints and good paint paper or canvas, or any other form of physical media, will give you insights and understanding – and skills – you might not come to as easily working just with a tablet.

And having traditional skills and experience with physical media will also make you more versatile – and more in demand as a commercial artist, if that’s your thing.

2. Don’t Go It Alone

There’s something about digital art that makes us feel like we have everything we need – tons of pens, pencils and brushes, colors, textures, effects, lines and shapes, all right there in front of us, and tons of videos and online tutorials if we get stuck.

Thing is, digital art is no different than traditional art form in this regard – having even the most basic education makes a huge, huge difference. Even if you have prodigious talent, not learning the basics of technique and theory from the beginning may always handicap you, and this is a real shame, considering how easy they are to learn with the right teacher or course.

And rather than YouTube videos, which definitely can be great, I really recommend an actual class or course, which will offer focus and support on a different level. This can be a brick-and-mortar school or an online learning platform, and it can be a single class, a few classes on the most important fundamentals, or an entire course of classes leading to a complete and valuable mastery of most or all elements of artistic creation.

For complete courses, I highly recommend the Evolve Artist Program, which offers an extended and very thorough coursework and will teach you all of the basic and advanced techniques and theories and a lot more. The courses are very intelligently designed and useful, and the teachers and overall production are all first-rate.

And for individual courses I should mention Skillshare. I am proud to be a part of this very special online education platform, and I think you would gain a lot from any of  my classes, but really any class you will find at this award-winning school is great, and I highly recommend Skillshare on all levels.

For more information on these and other educational opportunities, please check out my Classes Page, and always feel free to contact me with any questions!

Thanks so much for reading my latest article – Best Drawing Tablet for Beginners in 2022 – and please check out my website – Art Side of Life – for more artist’s guides, tutorials, informational articles, interviews with fascinating artists and a lot more!

Other articles in the Drawing Tablets series:

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, founder of Art Side of Life®, and Top Teacher on Skillshare. Since 2009 I've worked as an illustrator, character designer, art director, and branding specialist focusing on illustration, storytelling, concepts, and animation. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways, so I've made it my mission to teach you everything I know and help either wake up or develop your creative genius. Learn more about me.

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