Help! I'm a beginner and need a tablet!
First things first: Don't do this.
Normally, the internet is your best friend when you need to do some research. But in this instance, it really isn't. Just look at that! 694,000,000 results! Who has time for that?! That is way too much information for anyone to digest. Even if you're not looking to make a purchase right away, the internet will flood you with clever marketing in order to sell you what each individual company believes to be the best tablet for your money. Always keep that in mind!
Now, the next thing you might do is hop on YouTube and watch days worth of video reviews. Most of them will have catchy titles like:
- THE BEST ART TABLET FOR 2020
- TOP 10 TABLETS FOR GRAPHIC DESIGN
- BEST TABLETS OF ALL TIME
- TOP 9 TABLETS OF 2019
- THIS TABLET SAVED ME FROM BEING EATEN BY A WILD MONGOOSE
You get the idea, but once again, these are all likely part of clever marketing and designed to sell you something! While there is nothing wrong with that and the products they are representing are usually quite good, I'm here to tell you first hand that dropping $1500 on your very first tablet is probably not the best idea for a beginner, especially someone who is JUST breaking into the world of digital art.
Now I will be the first person to tell you that I am not a digital artist. I have bought and used the following art tablets myself: a Wacom Bamboo, a Wacom Intuos 3, and a Huion 1060P; which is my current tablet. I have used these for photo editing, graphic design, and instructional design, but not digital art. While that does limit my experience with digital art tablets, the point of this article isn't to jump out and start reviewing hardware. You can, after all, find 694,000,000 other sources on Google to do that for you~
Hear me out though. Please?
The absolute best advice I can give you when it comes to your first art tablet goes like this:
Step one: What's your budget?Be honest with yourself about your budget. Putting yourself in a financial hardship is never a good idea. Don't play the justification game and tell yourself things like, "Well I'll just make it back with commissions!" or "It's on a credit card, I'll definitely make the money back by next month." As any artist will tell you, commissions are not guaranteed and the market for them goes up and down.
Step Two: What are your needs? Are you used to drawing on a small sketchpad? Then a small tablet will likely be just fine! And they are far more affordable than the larger models. Do you absolutely need a tablet with a screen? Drawing on a tablet while watching the cursor on the monitor is a little odd at first, but trust me, it becomes second nature after a very short time. There are many artists who do not use screen tablets and get by perfectly!
Step Three: Ask an artist!I'm almost 100% sure that you know someone who draws anthro art already. Have you asked them what tablet they use? Are they already on one of these?
Chances are this is a little beyond your needs and in that case just ask them what they started with. There are a ton of avenues to do this and artists are not nearly as intimidating as you might think! Send them a tweet, a note on FA, or even an email if you see one publicly listed. Remember to always be polite and give them time to respond, and don't be upset if they don't have a recommendation for you. Lots of artists out there have been in the industry for years and the tablet they started with may not even exist today. So be nice!
In short: Choosing a starter tablet does not have to be something that stops you from diving into digital art. Don't let "better gear syndrome" weigh you down. I see this all the time in photography and film where amazing creators come up against huge blocks because they tell themselves things like: "If I only had this piece of gear, I could do this!" or "If I had that software I could create so much more!" All that does is stop them from creating all together. Don't let that happen to you! Use what you have, be yourself, and create!
In the end, it's you that makes the Anthro world beautiful.