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I am a high school student with an interest for drawing tablets for some hobby. I went to check on a store that sell Intuos, a sales representative (or something) of Wacom told me that most students buy the medium sized tablets. Even the staff said that since it is always bought the supplies of the medium size are a lot more than the small size.

I am on a tight budget (which is why I am buying the Intuos), and the small size seems small to me (when my hands are open, my thumb and my pinky would reach the sides). But then, why would Wacom sell the Manga variant in small? Is the staff just saying that so I would buy the more expensive one?

I have enough savings from my small allowance to buy the small size right now, should I wait for another month so that I can buy the medium size?

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    Just my experience, but I've always got the impression that most people prefer the large sizes because they're most familiar with drawing across a large sheet of paper across a desk. I'm a bit unusual in that I prefer the smaller sizes, and I think that's because I've spent more time with pocket/portable sketch books than big sheets across a desk, so those smaller sizes feel more familiar to me. – user568458 Feb 24 '14 at 17:23
  • Since I am doing this as a hobby, the places I mostly draw on is in my notebooks which is a bit larger than the active area of the small tablet. So, do you think using the medium would weird me out? – user224266 Feb 25 '14 at 0:26
  • The smaller the Tablet the faster the Cursor will move. So I would say go with the Medium . – SitiSchu Dec 23 '16 at 23:12

12 Answers 12

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There's an answer here on What tablet are the pros using which might be beneficial for you to have a peek at.

I would like to stress though that the size you get is entirely up to you and how comfortable you are drawing on a smaller or larger size. In addition to the size of your tablet relative to your screen size. Though you will undoubtedly get used to whatever tablet size you get, there are some considerations that will make it a more comfortable process.

Personally I use the medium sized Intuos Pro and have found it a treat with my 22" display.

The topic is discussed nicely here the part relative to size;

Choosing the right size

Before looking at products and prices, you need to decide on a tablet size. You don't want to feel the sting of buyer's remorse if you buy too small, or too big. Based on my own experience, I recommend a one-third rule. That is, don't buy a tablet that is smaller than approximately one-third of the size of your screen. (I'm referring to diagonal measurement, which is the common way of categorising screen size.) So, if you have a screen which is around the 17/18/19 inch size, a 6 inch tablet is perfect. It might even be ok on a 20 or 21 inch screen. But if your screen is up there in the 22/23/24 inch category, I recommend going for an 8 inch tablet instead. And if you have a whopping 27 or 30 inch screen, or if you have dual screens, then you should choose a tablet that's 10 inches, or even larger. Why avoid a tablet that's too small? Well, it's about the precision. I've found that if my tablet's diagonal is smaller than one-third of my screen's diagonal, I start to lose the pixel-by-pixel precision for my editing work.

However, I hasten to point out that many people are using tablets that are smaller than one-third. One person told me that they used a 6 inch tablet on their 27 inch iMac, and were perfectly satisfied with it. Admittedly, my retouching and restoration work requires very precise pixel manipulation, so it's possible that my personal experience is not relevant to the broader photographic community. Or maybe I just have an unsteadier hand than most people! If you're a member of a photographic forum or club, I encourage you to ask other people about what tablet-to-screen size ratio they use, to help your decision.

The opposite problem

Finally, I must mention that it is possible to buy too big. Based on everything I just said above, you might assume that if big is good, then even bigger must be even better! However, it isn't necessarily so. If your tablet is too big, your forearm swings around like a windscreen wiper trying to get from one side of the screen to the other, and it's uncomfortable. Mind you, any decent tablet will allow you to reduce its effective area in the Control Panel, so you can prevent discomfort easily. But in my opinion, you don't need your tablet to be any larger than half the size of your screen.

  • So, since I am using laptops I should buy the small one. And judging from that, would the medium be overkill? One of my reasons for uncertainty is because all of the stores have no demo units available for me to test. – user224266 Feb 25 '14 at 0:28
  • What's the laptop screen size and what do you draw on mostly? – Jenna Feb 25 '14 at 15:15
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    @user224266 I'd suggest either a medium or large. Don't go any smaller and only get the large if you have a screen larger than 24 inches or multiple screens. The Medium works for almost everything except multiple monitors. – Scott Feb 25 '14 at 16:26
  • I agree with Scott, that's it in a nutshell. – Jenna Feb 25 '14 at 16:32
  • My laptop's screen size 15", the small's diagonal is 7", so the small fits the 1/3 recommendation from the article. I always draw on my notebook which is like 6x7 inches(not sure). If the small is not that recommended, then why is the Intuos manga offered in small size only? – user224266 Feb 26 '14 at 6:49
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Some things to consider:

  • If you use a laptop and are likely to need to take your Wacom with you, you may find a large isn't practical. A medium Wacom is pretty much the same size as a 15" laptop, which makes it very easy to carry as part of your kit.
  • If you're used to using a large tablet and you go to use a medium, no doubt it will feel a bit small. Given time, however, you will adjust to the new size and to making smaller movements with the pen, and it will just be what you're used to.

For what it's worth, I have a medium Intuos Pro and I love it.

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I love drawing on big cardboard papers and large sheets, but I think a drawing tablet is more about your drawing strokes rather than your drawing size.

I don't know if that made sense but what I'm trying to say is that you don't need a large area because you're not actually drawing your image on the pad, but rather on your laptop screen.

Take your laptop mouse track pad for instance: look at how small it is but you see how suitable it is for your big screen. I suggest larger pads for people who are used to painting with large strokes on large canvases and who wish to do digital work on large screens.

Note: I've never used a Wacom or any drawing tablet before, but I'm actually planning on getting a cth480 small Intuos. I got all of this knowledge from my shopping research.

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Adding to Jenna's Answer:

I found this question while searching for comparisons between the Wacom Intuos Pro Medium and Large (I'm considering upgrading). For anybody else who is considering the same, there is one method to "preview" the larger size using your current tablet.

I mapped my tablet to 1/2 my screen size diagonally. You could compute exact ratios for your personal monitor and tablet sizes. Using a tablet like this allows you to feel the extra distance required to drag your pen across the screen, the increased accuracy in your strokes, and the broad arm movements required.

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Get the medium Intuos4 or better. It is a good size and you'll regret anything less later. Also avoid any of the budget versions like Bamboos etc. The refresh rate is low. I used to have one years ago that when I drew a fast line in Photoshop, the line wouldn't remain solid, rather a bunch of dots. Drawing slow wasn't too bad, but fast movements made less overlap, creating a caterpiller-like edge to what should have been a solid line.

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Many people say bigger is better, but I think you need to look at the ay you naturally draw. Do you love getting a big sheet of paper and drawing with big strokes? Do you prefer a small piece of paper and draw "tiny"?. Also, take into account the amount of space in your desk. DO you have enough space to comfortably fit a large tablet? Or will a smaller one be more comfortable?

I'm not sure the size of your screen is too much of a deciding factor, since you can always zoom in or out of your document to match your drawing size.

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I have been using a Bamboo tablet with great success with retouching fashion styled pics from runway shots etc. I have not had any problem with using this size, and my screen is 21 inch. I know a previous poster mentioned having issues with "dotted" lines, but I have never had that problem. However, I a working on a new Mac Pro desktop (2013) so this may be why I am not having any such issues.

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I bought my first Wacom just over 10 years ago. It was basically payment for work I was doing for student friends of mine, so they couldn't afford anything too fancy, however I did my research back then too and decided on the smaller tablet. As the research had told me, when you start on a smaller tablet and you're totally unfamiliar with drawing on a graphics pad and you're still a beginner, you're better off with the smaller pad. And as everyone else has mentioned, it really all depends on your stroke lines, and trust me the small size is not that hindering.

If you're going for manga style work, then either way you'll be zooming in and out of your work and rotating the canvas etc... Small is perfectly fine. If and when you start going pro in the future or want to up your game in a few years then you can reconsider whatever is available then. But realistically and on a practical level small will be more than enough for you.

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I recently bought a large into pro after owning an old green bamboo. I must say, size really does matter when considering the proportion of your strokes on art and animation. I would advise getting a tablet close to your screen size or smaller instead of anything too big or over-priced. personally, I've ended up having to purchase a new large-sized monitor in order to even the ratio of tablet to screen size and previously when owning the smaller tablet, I still struggled slightly with proportion. Because of this, I'd say that the medium is the most popular simply because its the closest size to the screens on most computers and laptops, while (e.g.mac desktop or monitors) are closer to the larger range. that being said, most people would avoid buying a smaller model simply because buying a smaller model makes some people (my friends as an example of this) feel unprofessional and limits the accuracy of your drawing.

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Don't forget to consider the depth of your desktop and keyboard and monitor stand. It all adds up. You don't want to have the tablet hanging out over the edge of the desk because there is not room for it.

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I am going into highschool and buying a small, its the perfect size for me, considering I've be drawing on a 3ds screen and I have small hands. I would go for what feels right :3

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yeah.... i prefer small size one important things is you should be so good in traditional drawing ...then decided to buy any tablet ....but for starting with small was very good ....

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