Pros and beginners alike discover how the best drawing tablets for animation can transform their digital art process. Quickly becoming the industry standard, this tablet is the perfect way to bring your creations to life – and there are many brilliant options available.
The animation industry has largely shifted to tablets from computers, so if you’re looking to pursue a career in animation, it’s imperative you have experience drawing on a tablet. Digital drawing is an intuitive process with a distinctive feel, and the more you get used to it, the smoother you’ll find it.
All the best animation tablets will work with the most up-to-date animation software so it’s now easier than ever to get their projects done from sketch to finish. With offerings from industry leaders like Wacom to more affordable competitors like the XP-Pen, there are plenty of options out there. We have selected the best in this guide.
These tablets come in a range of prices and are offered at different levels of users, so no matter your skill set or background, there is a tablet here for you. Looking for a more generic drawing tablet? Check out our guide to rounding up the best drawing tablets, and if you’re shopping for little ones, don’t miss our guide to the best drawing tablets for kids. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a laptop for creating animations, our list of the best 2-in-1 laptops for creatives is also worth checking out.
There’s a reason Wacom is one of the first names you’ll hear when it comes to tablet drawing. Its flagship products deserve to be well-regarded among the digital art community for providing one of the best drawing experiences out there, and Wacom Cintiq Pro 32 is a great choice – and the best graphics tablet for animation right now.
The space you get to draw here is truly luxurious. The 32-inch display provides a large canvas to embody your creations, and the Wacom Pro Pen 2 with 8,192 pressure sensitivity is one of the best styles. Wacom’s Cintiq tablets are fully compatible with animation software such as Adobe Animate or After Effects, and their incredible color accuracy (98 percent coverage of the Adobe RGB color space) means you can have absolute confidence in your creations.
Of course it’s expensive, and if it’s a little over your budget, it’s worth looking into a smaller Cintiq model like the Pro 24 or Pro 16. Find out more in our Wacom Cintiq 16 review.
Tablets with their own display tend to be a lot more expensive – so if you want to save a little dime, consider something like Huion HS610. It doesn’t have a screen, so to see what you’re doing, use a USB connection to connect it to a computer, smartphone, or other device.
For the money, you get great functionality here – with 8,192 levels of pen pressure sensitivity, 16 ExpressKeys that can be adjusted to the function of your choice, and a large workspace that lets you draw and create freely. The tablet is a little finicky when it comes to compatibility – it will work with macOS, but NOT iPhone – so make sure you check it out before you buy. Not sure? Check out our Wacom vs Huion comparison guide.
NS Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2020) probably the best tablet ever made, and the best digital tablet for animation. Its vibrant, ultra-bright display is a pleasure to draw, featuring vibrant colors and sharp details, and the A12Z Bionic chip ensures it delivers best-in-class processing performance, making it highly capable for all demanding animation work.
The price tag is certainly not small, although you can save a bit of money by buying the 128GB or 256GB version instead of the 1TB one. Though keep in mind that no matter how much you spend on a tablet, you’ll have to pay about $120 more for the Apple Pencil 2. Read more in our 2020 iPad review.
Not everyone has a lot to spend on a tablet for animation, and we totally rate XP-Pen Deco 03 for those who just need a simple solution that works. Plugging easily into a computer or smart device via a USB connection, the Deco 03 provides a large drawing surface and a battery-free stylus with 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity. You don’t get the fancier features like tilt sensitivity, but broad compatibility means it’s a drawing board that anyone can use. It’s light and sleek, with a pleasingly sleek design and customizable buttons that can be mapped to the function of your choice. Here’s our XP-Pen Deco Pro review for more.
If you are already an Android user, it might make sense to use an Android tablet for animation. We would recommend considering Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, which is the current top and the best drawing tablet with screen for animation. Its beautiful appearance is ideal for drawing, with striking colors and a large work area, while the latest processing power ensures that the application you choose should run well. Having the S-Pen included in the price is also welcome, giving you everything you need from the moment you open the box. If this version is too expensive, also consider the Galaxy Tab S7, which uses a smaller non-OLED display but still works very well. Find out more in our Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus review.
While Wacom makes tablets used by top industry professionals, it also has several entry-level models for those just starting out in the world of drawing or animation. A good example is Wacom One, which is a great beginner’s tablet and offers great value, providing the Wacom drawing experience at a very friendly price. Okay, it’s not as cheap as some of the others on this list, but you do get a Full HD display and a tablet that interacts seamlessly with both Mac and Windows. We wouldn’t mind the screen getting a little brighter, and the stylus is a less sophisticated model than you’d get with higher-end Wacom models, but it’s a fantastic starter tablet for animators. Need more info? Here’s our Wacom One review.
If you want to draw manga, we highly recommend XP-Pen Artist 24 Pro as the best animation tablet for drawing manga. It’s a high-quality tablet specifically designed to undercut Wacom, offering a comparable experience to the Cintiq 24 but at a price of about a third. The battery-free stylus is perfect for drawing manga, providing the best pressure sensitivity as well as tilt response, providing superior definition for even the best lines. Give your manga drawings more detail and depth than ever before – XP-Pen Artist 24 Pro makes it easy. The 2K QHD display also features 90 percent coverage of the Adobe RGB color gamut, which is impressive for a tablet at this price. Our XP-PEN Artist 24 Pro review explains it all.
We’ve already recommended two Wacom tablets on this list – the Cintiq Pro 32 and One, which are for pros and beginners respectively. The reason we also recommend Big Intuos Pro to animation is that it’s a solid all-rounder that will work for almost anyone! Easily connected to a laptop or other device, the Intuos Pro provides a reliable drawing surface, and is easy to take with you wherever you go. It’s also compatible with the Wacom Pro Pen 3D, which is a great asset if you want to create 3D animations. Visit our Wacom Intuos Pro review to explore more.