In keeping with the digital age, many artists have moved away from conventional ways of achieving artistic expression. These savvy creators no longer employ manual techniques such as applying a paintbrush to canvas or drawing with colored pencils, deciding to let technology do much of the heavy lifting instead.
Artists, photographers, and others who employ this method decide to make the computer act as their virtual canvas. Then they use electronic input devices that take the place of physical art tools to apply or edit their designs.
Software programs made for graphics and photo editing make this creative bridge between users and the computer possible. Unfortunately, using a traditional mouse while working within these programs has proven cumbersome – that’s why art graphics tablets have become all the rage.
Tips for Choosing the Best Cheap Art Graphics Tablet
If you are a novice when it comes to using art graphics tablets, then a short discussion is in order regarding the key features you should consider when buying the best graphics tablet. Features to consider include:
- Pressure Sensitivity – Since drawing tablets capture the motion of your pen and your pressure information, pressure sensitivity will give you more variety when it comes to the thickness – and in some cases, shading of a line.
- Controls – Controls are function keys on an art tablet which can be programmed to make things easier and save time while navigating in its environment.
- Size – Size makes a big difference on a tablet because a greater surface area gives you enough space to draw and view the results.
- Report Rate Speed – Report rate speed measures the total stylus data reports that happen per second.
- Parallax – This is the offset between the mouse cursor and the tip of the pen where the lines you sketch appear. Minimal or a nonexistent parallel is ideal.
- Hotkeys – Hotkeys, also known as Shortcut Keys or Express Keys, are customizable buttons that come with a graphics tablet. Using them saves time and makes you more efficient and productive.
There are several versions of art graphics tablets out there, however, which one should you choose? This question is especially relevant if you are on a budget. Don’t fret about deciding on which to buy because we’ve handpicked a few of the best and cheapest around.
In the following list, we discuss graphics tablets in the affordable budget range. From entry-level tablets to high-configured tablets, you should get a good idea of what to look for in a high-quality, but cheap art graphics tablet.
1. Wacom Intuos S (Overall Winner)
The Wacom Intuous S is a suitable entry-level art graphics tablet that is easy to use. The device is tailor-made for budding photographers and designers that are keen to follow their passion, too. Those looking for a decent drawing tablet without incurring a lot of costs will also appreciate its reasonable price of just under $80.
The Intuous features are comparable to the H430P and StarG640 listed below, but it has 4096 pressure sensitivity instead of 8192 that the other two options have. The H430P is also a little more expensive than the others. However, that’s because the pot is sweetened since every Intuous tablet now comes with three complimentary software titles designed to help your craft.
Once you purchase and register the Wacom Intuos S, you’ll get Corel AfterShot 3 (for photo editing), Clip Studio Paint Pro (for comic and manga art), and Corel Painter Essentials 7 (graphic drawing). For an entry-level tablet, it’s highly rated, and we consider it the best-priced tablet for the quality and features you get with it.
2. Huion H430P
The Huion H430P is a lightweight, Android-supported art graphics tablet that weighs about the same as a mobile phone. Photographers looking for a deal on a tablet might assume that an editing tablet might not be worth the cost. However, considering the fact that the H430P retails for less than $40, it might change the mind of shutterbugs or anyone looking for a bargain.
The main features of the tablet include a 4.8 x 3-inch working area, a pressure level of 4096, a 233PPS report rate, a PW201 battery-free pen and four programmable hotkeys you can customize to your preference. The device is also designed for signatures in Microsoft Word, Excel, and One Note. You can also use the H430P for osu! game, digital painting, and drawing.
If you are just beginning to dabble in digital creations, then you are probably just looking for the cheapest priced art graphics tablet that you can use to improve your drawing skills. In that case, the XP-Pen Deco 01 V2 is reasonably priced at around $70, and it is likely suited for your needs in terms of basic features and pressure sensitivity.
Version 2 of the XP-Pen Deco has a 10 x 6.25-inch working area that gives you enough space to get the job done. The device can detect up to 8192 levels pressure, giving variances on lines that are needed to boost creativity. The Deco 01’s 8mm thickness makes it lightweight enough for students to haul it around in their backpacks, too.
Another cheap art graphics tablet is the XP-Pen Star G640. This fun tablet is the perfect go-to for novice creators and editors willing to give digital art a go, and it is a really good buy for about $40. The nifty gadget has an ultra-thin, 2mm thickness, and its 6 x 4-inch active area gives users adequate space for drawing and gaming.
The Star G640 has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, giving it the smarts to create and navigate with its arsenal of brushes and pens. This art graphics tablet is also designed ambidextrously for right or left-handed users.
Coming in at around $160, this small model of the Intuos Pro is one of the cheapest pro-spec tablets that Wacom has introduced so far. Photogs are sure to enjoy its touch ring that allows them to make the editing experience their own, too. On the other hand, the creative tablet’s active area of 6.2 x 3.9 inches is a good fit and big enough for the avid artist whose work area is lacking in space.
The Intuos Pro has a tilt function and delivers 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, allowing for the precision accuracy that closely mimics traditional pens and brushes. The tablet also has programmable express keys. A newer version of the Wacom Intuos Pro Small is available for about $250 if you want to splurge.
This medium version of the Deco Pro by XP-Pen features an 11 x 6-inch working area, giving you a larger canvas for your masterpieces at a budget-friendly price of approximately $125. Features include a double-wheel interface, tilt function, eight express keys, and 8192 levels of pressure.
The XP-Pen Deco Pro also delivers the finest of lines and strokes, while additionally providing the ability to add shading to the artwork. Photographers and creatives alike will appreciate how well the double wheel feature of this drawing tablet makes it easier and quicker than ever to capture, draw, write, and edit.
Illustrators wanting to up their game might want to try out this art tablet that has a display-drawing monitor and passive pen with 2048 pressure level. The Parblo Mast10 comes with a 8.5 x 5.3-inch active working area that is big enough to get your artistic creations and editing work done. Its one-click toggle that lets you switch between Pen and Eraser functions instantly allows you to get projects completed faster and easier.
Another perk included with this art graphics tablet is its compatibility with several drawing and photo editing software such as Photoshop, Corel Painter, Infinite Stratos, and many more. The Parblo Mast10 is additionally a good budget choice for a high-quality drawing monitor since it lists for around $190. Compare it to the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 at about $300, and to the high-end Wacom Cintiq Pro 16 at about $2,500, and you’ll probably agree.
Cheap, High-Configured Tablets
The preceding section works so well because everyone isn’t able to afford the more expensive graphics tablets out there, especially when it comes to beginners. Going forward, we’ll get into some high-configured art graphics tablets that skilled professionals are likely to use.
Professions most likely to utilize them include photographers, teachers, architects, engineers, artists, cartoonists, fashion designers, illustrators, and teachers. Features such as larger screens, more technology at your fingertips, and little to virtually no parallax make these high-configured devices appealing to these professionals.
This art graphics tablet is made by GAOMON, an enterprise known for researching and developing core tech that supports animation efforts. Regarding this, the PD1560 is primarily geared toward aiding the development process that animation artists, anime creators, and cartoonists utilize. The vividness and realism the device is capable of renders designs that really pop, too.
As far as high-end art graphics tablets go, the GAOMON PD1560 is priced reasonably well at around $360. It’s often a competitor to Cintiq tablets, too, and experts consider it a good, all-around alternative. The gadget also has 8192 levels of pen pressure, 233PPS report rate and 10 customizable express keys. We give this high-configured art tablet a thumbs up in terms of quality, features, high user ratings, and low expense.
This professional, high-resolution graphics tablet combines glass and screen to deliver vibrant hues, vivid images, and impressive details. Teachers, especially, will find the features of the XP-Pen Artist 13.3 Pro ideal for creating and explaining interactive content visually by writing, annotating, and editing directly in files and later sharing their screen with others in real-time.
The XP-Pen Artist 13.3 Pro also has a red dial interface with eight hotkeys, and 60 degrees of tilt function and 8192 levels of pen pressure. There is virtually no parallax with this tablet, and the model comes with a 13.3-inch artist display that retails for $350. However, if you want a bigger drawing pen display, you can opt for the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro for an extra $100.
10. Wacom Cintiq 16
If you are a photo editor that hasn’t taken the plunge and purchased an entry-level table before, the cool features of the Wacom Cintiq 16 might tempt you since it works excellently in a Lightroom environment. Although the Cintiq 16’s price tag of about $650 is a bit steep compared to other drawing tablets on this list, it is still an exceptional entry-level purchase.
Even though this version lists its display area as small, it still has a good-sized active area of 15.6 inches. That and other handy features such as tilt recognition, 8,192 pressure levels, precision, and reduced parallax provide a perfect experience that will let your creative juices flow. You can additionally choose an option that includes an ergonomic stand to go with your Wacom Cintiq 16 on Amazon for about $80 more.
We hope you enjoyed our list of some of the best cheap art graphics tablets around. Be sure to let us know how your choice took your artistic endeavors to the next level.