Best drawing tablets 2022: Portable options and larger screens


f you thought tablets were for watching TV and catching up on work, and drawing tablets were just for kids, think again. Drawing tablets are most definitely for adults. They can be fun and used for a hobby and some down time, or, if you’re a professional artist or illustrator, they’re a vital tool for digital art. Drawing tablets are also a natty new way to make notes, write shopping lists with a doodle or two, and keep track of your to-do list.

What is a drawing tablet?

Drawing tablets have come a long way since kids made blob shapes on their iPads. iPads do still make a good drawing tablet, but these days the choice reaches much higher and professional artists and illustrators can’t do their job without them. It’s basically a screen with a pen, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a digital pad and pencil that allows you to create art. You can hand draw images just like you would on paper, and you can create graphics and animations.

Types of drawing tablets

Some drawing tablets are sleek and fit somewhere in size between your mobile phone and your laptop. These are portable tablets, making it easy for you to doodle and draw anywhere you like. The pen to touch screen function can be as intuitive as using pen or pencil on paper, meaning you can work on the train and in waiting rooms, on holiday, or wherever you happen to be. At the other end of the scale are the tablets as big as your TV. Though these tablets most definitely are not portable, they give you volume and a more immersive artistic experience.

What kind of drawing tablet is the right one? Simply put, the drawing tablet for you depends on why you want it and what you’ll be using it for. Professional artists will know that having both types of tablets in your arsenal gives you greater freedom to work, but if you’re just dabbling the portable one is most likely for you.

We’ve rounded up the best options below to help make shopping for them easier.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 8


If you’re looking for a tablet that’s more than a drawing tablet, the Surface Pro 8 is a top drawer device, but it has a price tag to match.

The tablet’s 13-inch screen is sleek and the tablet is slim and lightweight. It feels divine to use, but if you want to draw on it you’ll have to purchase your Surface pen separately.

The Surface Slim Pen 2 (£199) is a delight, there’s no doubt about it. The flat style pen makes it very usable and it glides over the screen like it’s on ice skates. It also looks very attractive and slots onto the tablet magnetically as if it was born to be there, which I suppose it was! You can, of course, buy a previous model of Surface pen, which works just fine with this tablet.

All in all, the tablet feels very intuitive and responds to pressure excellently.

XP-Pen Deco LW Pen Tablet


XP-Pen’s products are sturdy by design and this one is no exception. If you like the usability of XP-Pen but don’t need the larger artist tablet, this is great little sketchpad and notebook.

It has a 10-inch work area and XP-Pen’s signature chunky buttons down the side. One of the major draws to this all new mini tablet is the new stylus pen. The X-3 Smart-Chip Stylus comes with the tablet and you also get 10 replacement nibs. The pen has excellent pressure sensitivity and you barely need to apply any pressure at all to draw a line, it’s almost as if the pen can do this by itself.

This fantastic pressure sensitivity makes the tablet very much an artist’s tablet, rather than a notebook, and it fits perfectly into any pro artist’s work flow.

XP-Pen Artist 12 (2nd Gen)


The XP-Pen Artist 12 2nd Gen is a sturdy tablet. The tablet itself is 13.6 inches wide, which is pretty generous, but the working screen space is only 11.9 inches. This will sound small compared to other tablets, but when you’re using the device’s outer bezel for gripping without touching the touchscreen and the addition of eight chunky buttons down the left hand side, makes this a very usable tablet.

And that’s the thing about the XP-Pen: it’s been designed for heavy use. This is definitely an artist’s tablet. It’s very responsive when using the pen, which is included with the price of the tablet, and it really does feel as if you are drawing and that the lines are flowing straight from the nib.

The tablet also arrives with a cable to connect to your computer, and the XP-Pen is compatible with all systems. For the price this is a really good tablet and perfect for anyone starting out as a digital artist.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE


The FE in the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE stands for ‘fan edition’. If you’re familiar with Samsung products you’ll know this is a standard title add-on that tells buyers, if you liked the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 you’ll love this because it’s just as great, only more affordable. This is very much true for this product and for a slightly cheaper price, it’s a brilliant buy.

This is a slim, lightweight tablet that arrives with a drawing pen included. The tablet has a 12.4 inches display, pretty good for a portable tablet.

It’s worth noting, despite the inclusion of the S Pen, this isn’t specifically a drawing tablet – it’s more of a notebook but it can also be used for gaming and for watching movies. If you’re looking to dip a toe in, this is a great place to begin.

Wacom Cintiq Pro 24HD


At 24 inches, this drawing tablet is definitely going to stay put in your studio or office. As the name suggests, this one is for the veterans. If you’re serious about creating and/or it’s your job, this is the one you need.

You’ll need to buy the stand separately, but if you’re going to shell out this much for a drawing tablet, you probably don’t mind that extra bit more. It is an essential though: you can’t really use it without one.

You can get the Cintiq with touch screen and without. The touchscreen option certainly offers that bit more versatility, but it’s a very artisty experience either way. If you’re wondering how you can draw on a tablet that doesn’t have a touch screen, it works with the pen, but not with your human touch. Both versions come with pen included.

Perhaps the biggest plus of the Wacom Cintiq, apart from its sheer size and excellent pressure sensitivity, is the colour range available. You get as full a palette as you would if you were mixing the paints yourself, which isn’t something you can say for most drawing tablets. It really is as close to traditional painting as you can get.

Wacom One Tablet


The Wacom One sits somewhere between those tablets for doodlers and the Cintiq for professionals. This is the perfect tablet for anyone starting out as an artist who wants to try out a Wacom without spending their savings.

It has a 13 inches screen so pretty big for a tablet, and as with all Wacom tablets, it arrives with the pen so no need to spend more than you have to. As I mentioned iPads at the beginning, it’s worth saying here that The Wacom One compares well with an iPad for drawing on screen and usability.

So, if you’re a Windows user, the Wacom one is the perfect alternative to an IPad for drawing and creating on. Unlike an iPad, the Wacom One has two ‘legs’ that it sits up on, but not very far. You can angle it a little bit on its legs, but you’ll most likely not. It’s much easier to use it on your lap or prop it up on a separate stand. For the price, it’s excellent value.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio


Ok, so I know what you’re thinking: the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio isn’t a tablet, it’s a laptop. But actually it’s both.

The screen doesn’t detach, which will make many artists think this isn’t a drawing tablet at all, but in fact it is aimed at artists. One of its many position functions is ‘studio mode’, which means bringing the screen forward to lie flat on top of the keyboard, effectively turning it into a tablet and making it perfect for sketching and drawing.

It has a 14-inch screen, so plenty of space for drawing, and a haptic touchpad, which though not unheard of, is unusual for Microsoft.

Sitting somewhere between a laptop and a tablet, this device has been much anticipated and Microsoft users are going to adore it. As a drawing tablet it’s very good, though it perhaps has more functions than you need.

ReMarkable 2


If you’re the kind of person who loves sketching in a coffee shop, doodling away your thoughts and ideas, and ideally using pen and paper, you’re going to love the ReMarkable tablet.

It’s as slim as a thin notebook and it really does feel just like you’re using pen and paper: it even makes the sounds of pen on paper. It has to be said, the ReMarkable tablet isn’t going to fulfil all your needs if you’re a pro artist, but it is going to slot nicely into your work flow.

It’s very portable and you can replace your old sketchpad with this and simply use it over and over. You can make notes on it, jot down ideas, and using the device’s templates you can even write sheet music! The ReMarkable tablet doesn’t connect to the internet, so it is basically a digital sketchpad and notebook, but at that, it’s an extremely good one.

Just to note: the pen, or marker, is sold separately, £59.


Although I really liked the sturdiness and the character of the XP-Pen Artist 12 and it comes in at a great price, for me the Microsoft Surface Pro just pipped it to the post. It’s a good middle range price, but it has everything you want from a drawing tablet and more. It’s very responsive to touch and the Surface Pen is lovely to use, both in terms of holding and gripping, and in its use on the screen. It feels seamless and it gives a great user experience.

Non-Microsoft users might favour the XP-Pen, but if you’re a Windows fan the Microsoft Surface Pro has it all. Plus, you can make notes, connect to the internet, play games, and watch movies, all on the same device while you take a break from sketching.

Nigarai M Grusio

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