Getting a tablet of the wrong size can be very frustrating!
And it is definitely not the best way to spend your money…
So before you jump into buying a tablet, you’ve got to figure out the size that suits you, your preferences, and your needs. Luckily, I’m here to help!
There are various tablet sizes out there, some small like 7 inches, some a little bigger like a 10 inch and others are quite large like a 16 inch or a 24 inch and more.
Now when I say things like ’10 inches’, I of course mean it measures 10 inches in length when measured diagonally.
Why Is Size So Important?
Think of the drawing tablet as a sketchbook.
It is there to help you draw, write, paint, or basically do your work. And just like a sketchbook, it comes in different sizes for various purposes and needs.
For instance, landscape artists would like a huge sketchbook to make their landscapes drawings, and a traveling storyteller would use a small sketchbook to make quick sketches during travels.
The same idea applies to a drawing tablet. These varying sizes meet varying needs, and with the right size for your needs, you will be more effective and productive in your work.
There are some additional minor things you need to know about tablet sizes that I briefly explain below.
Let’s make sure you get the right drawing tablet 🙂
One thing to know about drawing tablets is that the drawing surface of a tablet is mapped with your computer screen. This is important because it can affect how you work.
Let’s say you have a rather large computer screen that could be 27 or even 32 inches in size and a small drawing tablet of 7 inches.
The drawing or marks you make on that tablet could end up being a lot bigger on your computer screen.
This messes with your brain at first because what you intended to be a small mark is now huge!
Depending on the drawing tablet and the software, it is not too difficult to set up the mapping in a way that will reduce this by a great deal. However, the consequence is that you will be using a smaller part of the computer screen.
In any case, the closer the size of your drawing tablets is to the size of your computer screen, the less of an effect. So considering the size of your computer screen is important.
Every drawing tablet has a drawing area.
This drawing area is where you ACTUALLY draw, and it is smaller than the tablet!
A tablet might look all good in terms of size initially, but you do have to consider how much of that is drawing area.
Check out this article to learn more about what to look for in a drawing tablet.
The ‘Small’ Tablet
Small-sized tablets are “cute-sized” (if you ask my wife) and are about the size of an A5 paper or smaller.
You would want a small tablet if:
- You want a portable tablet. If you tend to move around a lot, a small tablet is your travel friend. You can carry it in your handbag, backpack or just in your hand.
- You want to use it side by side with a keyboard. It doesn’t take up much space as other large tablets so you can easily use it with your keyboard.
- You tend to write small or make little marks. You won’t need a bigger tablet unless you love a lot of hand room.
- You draw comfortably with your wrists. Drawing with your wrist doesn’t involve massive arm movements so won’t need much drawing space. A small tablet gives adequate space for your work.
- You do simple and easy tasks like signing a PDF file or doodling.
- You are looking for a budget-friendly drawing tablet. Most small drawing tablets are not expensive.
- You are into vector drawing (Illustrator, Inkscape).
- You have a laptop that is below 14 inches in size. The smaller the laptop size, the better the mirroring effect with a small tablet.
The ‘Medium’ Tablet
I prefer a medium-sized tablet.
It is not too big, it is not too small and it just feels right. This is just my preference by the way.
You would want to consider a medium tablet for the following reasons:
- It is also portable 😉
- The mapping is decent. The difference between a stroke on the tablet and the computer screen is not so glaring unlike that of a small tablet.
- It gives more hand freedom and space than the small size. If you like a little more room but not too much, the medium sizes are your best bet.
- Some are budget-friendly. There are medium-sized tablets that aren’t going to break your bank.
- You have a laptop that is 14 inches and above in size. Since the medium is bigger, the mark mirroring effect is also relatively similar.
- If you are more into freehand drawing medium size is better to use.
The ‘Large’ Tablet
These are mostly used by artists and designers for professional work. But like I always say, you don’t have to be a pro to get a large drawing tablet.
You might need a large size if:
- Your work doesn’t require you to use a keyboard. These tablets take up a lot of desk space so if you don’t need a keyboard or much on your workspace, a large tablet can work well for you.
- You make large swiping movements or draw from your shoulder. You can’t do that with a small tablet and it may be a little harder with a medium. A large tablet makes this possible.
- You have large hands. I’ve heard a friend complain about how he finds a small tablet hard to use because his hands tend to swallow the whole space.
- You have a huge computer screen. Because of the large size of the tablet, you rarely have that disproportionate mark mirroring with your computer.
- You want more detailing and precision in your work. With a large tablet, you can do a lot of detailed work without always zooming in like the other sizes. It makes it a lot easier.
Still Not Convinced?
You can learn to get used to any size but comfort is also important.
Here is another tip that can help you out.
Yet, by trying out different sizes of paper, you can have a feel of the size that feels right to you without actually buying a tablet and regretting it.
If you’re comfortable drawing on A4 paper, you might want to get a tablet with a similar size.
In this video, Lawrence Mann talks about how you can use paper for choosing the right tablet size.
Note: Jump to approximately 2:00 in the video for the part on using paper.
Summing things up
All drawing tablets essentially do the same thing, make a digital input to your computer!
But if you are a beginner, I will strongly suggest that you think twice before getting one of the large drawing tablets.
I hope this article has made your decision-making less tedious.
And as always, have fun and keep drawing.