What type of Tablet to use with Illustrator?


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Mike Zwingli

New Member
Hi, everyone.

I want to thank everyone for the suggestions that you offered regarding my recent foray into graphic design to be found in the Adobe Forum. You have been more than helpful, and, with that help and a certain "happy accident" at the tail end of it, I came away with a design which is better that I could have anticipated my being able to produce!

I have been ruminating on this question recently, and have been prompted to ask it at this time by Rtphotography's recent thread inquiring about graphics tablets, as a type of adjunct to it. What I would like to know, which was not specified in that thread, is: What graphics or computer tablets would be best for "syncing" with Adobe Illustrator and could display a shape from an Illustrator document on the tablet screen, which shape could then be traced over using a stylus pen and captured within a new layer of the Illustrator document? The Wacom Intuos line does not seem to offer a display screen (which might or might not be the origin of the name of the line: "Intuos": requiring intuition???), and so no such tracing is possible with them, as far as I know. The XP Pen graphics tablets do seem to all have a display screen. Would any model thereof fulfill what I am looking for? All of the models within Wacom's Cintiq line do seem to have a display screen, and I believe is capable of fulfilling the other criteria heretofore listed, but the models in this line are very pricey for someone who is not a professional graphic artist, and, since this is just a graphics tablet that we are talking about which has no other computer capabilities, will be of very limited use to such a non-professional. This naturally leads me to ask if my criteria might be fulfilled by a computer tablet such as the MS Surface or the Apple Ipad. I believe that the answer to that is yes, but I am unaware which such computer tablets might be the best for such a usage, which have the best pressure sensitive screens, and which come with styluses or what types of stylus can be used with each tablet. For instance: do the Surface and the Ipad come equipped with pen styluses, or must those be bought separately? Will a Google Pixlebook, or any similar device be capable as I have outlined above? Also, I am of the belief that a computer tablet will lack the type of "dynamic friction" that I believe are to be found on the writing surfaces of a graphics tablet. Might this be remedied by securing a piece of tracing paper over the tablet screen while using the stylus to perform such a trace?

Any suggestions that you all can give me regarding the above will be very much appreciated.

Thanks, Mike.
 
scotty

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
If you think it's better I could move it for you but no biggie.

If I were you, I'd try having a go if you can on someone else or get a demo at a store.
Sometimes these things don't work quite as you'd expect.

I think a lot of Wacom's are/were marketed a with the option of putting a piece of paper on them and then tracing it as they have a semi-opaque, plastic layer that you can slide a piece of paper beneath but I've never used them that way.
Entry level Wacom's are brilliant value and not such a large financial risk.
The surface on them offers a bit of resistance so it's not too dissimilar to drawing on paper.
Some people do tape some paper on them to give more drag bit I think this wears your stylus tips out quicker.

You do need to purchase the Apple Pencil as an addition to the iPad and I think they are about £90-£100 GBP.
The pencils only work with the iPad Pro and the iPad 2018 (which seems better value) so remember that.
I think the Pro has a slightly different surface to the 2018 but not quite sure and also same for the putting a piece of tracing paper as this may affect the sensitivity?
Might not work at all?

Thing with the iPad is that you can do so much more with them than just draw.
 
M

Mike Zwingli

New Member
Thanks, Scotty.
I did read that the Wacom tablet faces are somehow textured to provide that "dynamic friction" to the stylus. It does seem to me, though, that working on a "mute" surface, with the results of your work being displayed elsewhere, must take a bit of getting used to, which is why I am thinking of something with a screen.
I think a lot of Wacom's are/were marketed a with the option of putting a piece of paper on them and then tracing it as they have a semi-opaque, plastic layer that you can slide a piece of paper beneath...
I wasn't aware of that, which might just accomplish what I want to do, even without the device having a screen. I plan a trip to the "big box" stores to put my eyeballs and hands on a couple of the floor/demonstration models of these things, which I have not had a chance to do yet.
Wow, you mean that the Apple Pencil by itself will set me back about $130-? I guess you have to pay to play with Apple, which prompts me to ask: does the MS Surface allow for use with a pen/stylus, and how does the price of it compare with the iPad? If there is anyone on the site who has used a Surface to do graphic art, I would like to hear about your experience with it. My primary concern with respect to this is whether or not a computer tablet can be used as an adjunct to a desktop running Illustrator, as I believe a graphics tablet can. Since the Cintiq line of Wacoms is so expensive (I think being close in price point to an iPad), and I am not a professional artist, I think that , between the two, I would opt for a computer tablet over a Cintiq, as long as they can be used as an adjunct to a desktop running Adobe Illustrator. For, as you say with respect to computer tablets:
Thing with the iPad is that you can do so much more with them than just draw.
 
scotty

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
I think I may have said before but it's much easier to scan something in and use that to work over in Illustrator.

Personally, I think you'd spend more time correcting the traced image than you would creating it.

I've not owned an iPad Pro/2018 but had a go and I was really impressed.
I 'think' they make a light version if Ai for the iPad but I know they do make a full version of Affinity Designer.
If you're in the US then I think you get a better deal on Apple products than we do on the UK.

The Cintiq Pro that I had was something like £1300 so even the iPad Pro is good value beside that.
Remember the Cintiq is just a drawing tablet with a screen and doesn't have all the other functionality of an iPad.

Can't really comment on the Surface but as I recall, when I checked out the price it was up there.
Sure, Scotty, I think that would be best so that people seeking information here will find all related threads in one location, to move this to "software and hardware", and so that the title will be properly descriptive, perhaps you should change that as well to "What type of Tablet to use with Illustrator", or something similar. Also feel free to delete this posting and my second one herein (beginning with "Sorry!"), which are unnecessary.
Thanks in advance,
Mike
I'll give it a go. I'm still new to this Moderator thing. ;)
 
M

Mike Zwingli

New Member
Ach, sure enough thanks, Scotty, and a fine moderator ye are!
 
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