I need your advice on the purchase of a drawing table for my 10 year old granddaughter. She really is very good and I wish I could attach one of her drawings for you to see. She draws constantly and learns from books that I and her parents have bought her. She also uses Youtube tutorials. For example, she is presently working on a 100 character challenge, wherein one draws and names 10 characters a week for 10 weeks. I think she is like 4-5 weeks in on this challenge. I taught her a couple of things I learned from Art Supply Posse such as outlining pencil drawings with a fine line alcohol marker of which I sent her an assortment. All of her markers are now double ended alcohol markers. Anyway, she said she would like to have a tablet to use for her artwork and this is where I would appreciate your advice. I remember hearing you discuss Cintiq/Wacom tablets. I think you talked about Apple Ipads as well. What drawing tablet would you recommend for someone who is 10? Thank you for any help you can give.
I talked with my husband at length about your question and what we would do for our niece or nephew who are 10- and 12years-old, respectively. We debated at length about the best options. Not knowing your granddaughter’s current computer access, I’ll run through a few options and describe them as best I can.
There are two categories of drawing tablets: a direct drawing tablet like the iPad and the Wacom CINTIQ (both allow you to draw directly on the screen with a pen tool) and the indirect style — like the Wacom Intuos (imagine a trackpad that only works with a pen tool). There are nuances within each of these: the iPad can also be used for other uses like watching movies, email, chat, playing games, etc.
The advantage of a device like an iPad is that it is a standalone device. It requires no additional hardware other than the pen (which Apple sells separately). Both the iPad device and the pen requires charging but both are wireless so it can be used anywhere in the house, in the car, etc. It does perform better when it has regular access to wifi for updates to software and OS. The recommended software for drawing on the iPad is the beloved ProCreate. It’s $9.99 and worth every single penny and then some.
The advantage of a Wacom CINTIQ (collectively called the Pen Displays) like the Wacom One and Wacom CINTIQ (this is the one I use) is that they are hardware and are plugged into a computer (or even an Android device in the case of the Wacom One). The pen that ships with the CINTIQ is wireless and battery-less which means it always works. Because the CINTIQs are hardware, they tend to have a longer lifespan as long as the drivers are kept up to date by the manufacturer. If you don’t already have a computer, though, it’s a larger investment. And… the benefit of using a CINTIQ is being able to work in professional software from the Adobe CC suite (portal for educational discounts) to animation/3D software like Toon Boom, Lightwave, Maya, etc.
Then the last category, and the least expensive option, is the indirect input, Wacom Intuos tablet. This tablet uses a wireless, battery-less pen tool (often the same pen as the CINTIQ) and a tablet that plugs into a laptop or computer. The Intuo Pro can be used wirelessly with the addition of a battery. I started on a Wacom Intuos tablet and, to this day, still use one as an alternative to a mouse but for drawing I much prefer the CINTIQ or iPad. However, if cost is an issue, the precision available with a Wacom Intuos tablet is far better than a mouse or trackpad. It’s not as intuitive as drawing directly on a screen but makes it much easier to fine tune lines, select vector points and other detail work.
So, after all that exposition, here’s my recommendation. If money is not an issue, go for an iPad Pro 12.9 with Pencil 2. Be sure to add a protective case. The Pencil charges when connected to the iPad but the case will make sure the Pencil doesn’t get lost. I also recommend a surface cover called PaperLike that makes the iPad screen more, well, paper-like and less slick and glossy.
The 11” iPad Pro would be a good alternative and a bit cheaper. I use the 10.9” iPad Pro though I’ve always wished I sprung for the larger 12.9” model. I would still recommend the accompanying case and PaperLike screen. And, of course, ProCreate.
If your granddaughter already has a computer, and can get a student discount on the Adobe CC suite, then a Wacom CINTIQ is a great option as well. It’s obviously less mobile but will feel like a “pro move”.
If your granddaughter is interested in illustration in animation, Laura Price gives a peek into the world of a working illustrator at Disney as well as showing some of her tools, tips and techniques.
Best of luck to you and your granddaughter, wherever the journey takes you!
Hi! I was wondering if you have ever used Smythson paper in a typewriter? If so, what paper did you use and how did it turn out? Thank you for your time!
I have not specifically put Smythson paper in a typewriter but I have used lots and lots of different kinds of paper in lots and lots of different kinds of typewriters: label stock, card stock, old typing paper, index cards… pretty much anything I can get onto the platen (the rubber roller). If the paper is very thin, I will put a sheet or two of plain copy paper behind it (tip from Tom Hanks to protect the platen from damage). Some slick paper like label stock might cause ink to smear or dry slowly and very thick card stock might crack or get stuck when trying to get it on the platen so proceed with caution.
Hi Ana, and the ladies of The Desk, I learned of Neenah through Field Notes. Walmart has Astrobrights card stock paper. Do any of you have experience with this card stock paper? I admit I’m drawn to them because of the space themed names for the colors. I figure I would find a way to use them with letters. But who knows until I handle them.
I remember using Neenah Astrobrights paper for band flyers when I worked as a copy jockey at Kinko’s when I was in college. For a fledgling graphic designer, it was a cooler job to work in a copy shop than as a waiter. We had access to all the large size copy machines to make weird zines, posters and flyers. So, what I can tell you is that while Astrobrights are tons of fun, those neon colors are not very lightfast. In other words, the colors will fade when exposed to light. As for their fountain pen friendliness, I did not have any on hand but if you are using the cardstock/cover weight, it should be able to handle most gel pens, felt tip and rollerball pens for sure and probably some fine and medium fountain pens. If you are not hoping to archive your creations for ALL OF TIME, I say go for it. It’s just paper. If anything, it can be used to make envelopes, folders and other receptacles for your fountain pen friendly paper. Just don’t sear your retinas!
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