The tablet is the digital equivalent of a notebook or sketchbook. You’ll draw on this. The stylus (below) is your digital pen or pencil.
There are three main types of digital tablets:
Tablet computers, like the iPad, are self contained computers. They have an operating system and you can do more with them than draw.
Graphics tablets need to be plugged into a desktop or laptop computer in order to function properly. These tablets tend to have better sensitivity but require a secondary device with powerful hardware in order to run properly.
Pen displays are graphics tablets with a built-in LCD display. You’ll be able to look down at your tablet while you draw — rather than at your desktop or laptop screen. Otherwise, they’re similar to a standard graphics tablet.
The final consideration for both tablet and stylus options is pressure sensitivity.
In short, the ability for the tablet or the digital pen to respond to pressure helps you draw like you would on paper. With good pressure sensitivity, your equipment can tell the difference between hard strokes and softer, lighter touches.
All of the tablets we’ve listed below are equipped with pressure sensitivity, but keep in mind that the setup you choose will affect the tools you have at your disposal as an artist.
Here are some of the best tablets available today: