Producing digital comics, whether they are simple webstrips or full blown Anime and Manga stories, becomes much easier if you are using a graphics tablet. Many artists draw a basic version of the comic strip and then scan the image in, using the graphics tablet to add ink lines, color, patterns and designs to produce the final piece. But knowing which graphics tablet to buy if you are new to this area might be half of the battle to getting your strip created, which is why we are going to see which one is best for the needs of the digital comic book artist.
Not many people decide to buy a tablet with the idea in mind that they are going to start learning to draw a comic or cartoon from scratch without some prior experience in drawing. This is important because if you have a passion and skill, it is worth spending that little bit extra to a product that will be perfect for your needs. Some digital artists make the mistake of buying a cheaper graphics tablet, only to find that they don’t get on with it so well. This is mainly due to the size of the tablet, but also the ease of use and quality of components matter a lot if you are going to be using it for several hours at a time.
Who makes the best graphics tablets for comics?
Wacom are the leading manufacturer of graphics tablets in the world – and for good reason too. Their products are well designed and are made with the user in mind, rather than opting for a cheap plastic, they choose better quality materials making the overall experience better. So when choosing a tablet to draw comics with, Wacom should be the company you are looking for.
The next consideration should be the size of the tablet. Remember that the “active area” on the tablet will correspond 1:1 with the cursor on your screen, so the smaller the tablet’s active area, the less control you will have over your drawings. A larger tablet will be better for your needs and these models usually have a better level of pressure sensitivity, allowing for more natural lines and images to be created.
Most Wacom products come with some software in the box which will usually either be a cut down version of Photoshop (Photoshop Elements) or something like Corel Paint, allowing you to simulate natural paints like oils or pastels. Not exactly what a digital comic artist will be after, I hope you agree. You should look for products that are bundled with the tablet such as Manga Studio Debut 4, which will be perfect for you to start using it out of the box. Getting some great tools and software to use as part of the bundle you buy can make a big difference.
This is the tablet we recommend for drawing comics:Bamboo Manga Pen and Touch Tablet. This excellent and stylish tablet comes packaged with Manga Studio 4 and Anime Studio 8, so you will be up and running straight away. The tablet is also compatible with PC, Mac and Linux, so all bases are covered there too.
The active area on the Bamboo Manga is 147 x 92 (mm), so very generous for easy drawing and editing. The box also contains the wireless Wacom stlus pen with 1024 levels of pressure and the tablet has 4 Express keys, eraser function and Multi-Touch support, so you can pinch, zoom and pan around your images using your hand. I was a little suspect of this newish feature being added to Wacom tablets, but it really does work well and becomes second nature – especially after using an iPad for drawing.
Whilst the thought of using Manga and Anime software to draw comics may not be to everyone’s taste, the vast arrays of tools, patterns and effects are ideal for anyone wanting to draw digital comics. The 2 products are worth $30 each if bought separately, so the fact that they are included with this Bamboo Manga is amazing!