Advice on which laptop/netbook/tablet for an art student

  ellwill 11:51 12 Nov 2011

Hi all,

My daughter is currently studying GCSE art and is going to college to continue with art and design next year. Her current netbook just 'died' and she'd like to replace it but would like something suitable for her course too.

Her friends have mentioned a 'graphics tablet' (not my area!), her tutor says to opt for a laptop with a decent-sized processor, and she still hankers after a netbook but has seen one with a screen which turns around into a tablet which she likes the look of! The key factor I guess will be her (own) budget though which is £200 to £250.

All advice most gratefully accepted!! Ellen :O)

  wee eddie 12:19 12 Nov 2011

Forget the Netbook, it will be totally incapable of doing what the College will be expecting of her.

Here Tutor is correct.

A Graphics Tablet is not a Computer, it is a way of communicateing with a Computer. It will allow her to Draw, or paint, on the Computer Screen, much in the same way that a Keyboard allows you to Write.

  Graphicool1 16:11 13 Nov 2011


It is all very confusing, yes you can get Netbooks that are also Tablets. But tablet PCs, Laptops, Netbooks and or multi touch screens are not Graphics Tablets. The confusion comes from the word tablet. There are different types of tablets, not least the ones you takes when you get a headache. Which is what I got when I was looking into this for myself.

You can buy art packages that you install on your PC-Desktop/Laptop/Netbook whatever. You then have to get a GRAPHICS Tablet. Which is Hardware that can either plugs re-USB into the 'PC'. This can then be used with the preinstalled art package as 'Wee Eddie' said.

When I had WinXP I was using a Wacom Pen Partner. I now have Win7 and have decided to upgrade to a Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch. It is called pen and touch because you can either use the pen to draw on the PC via the tablet, write or even use it as a mouse. The touch part means you can use your fingers on the tablet to change the position of things on the PC screen also.

However, hereby lies the rub, when using both this tablet, my previous one and a whole load of others. You don't actually look at the tablet when you are working, if you do you won't see anything. As you are writing on a piece of blank plastic. Instead you look at the PC screen and it will appear as though you are writing/drawing directly on to the screen! It's not magic, it's electronics, unless you are not an electronics expert and then of course yes it is magic.

However, just to muddy the waters a bit more, Wacom have now brought out a new graphics Tablet called 'Cintiq 12WX' and is a pen and display tablet. You can use it the same was as the others that I have already described, but now, if you look at the tablet while you are drawing you will see the picture on the tablet. also if you have it rigged up that way also simultainiously on the PC screen.

It can be used wirelessly and both for the MAC and PC. Although from the prices I have seen I would say unless you intend to supliment her, she won't be getting one anytime soon. The cheapest I have seen is £750 (at time of writing this)...Click your daughter this, xmas is coming!

  Graphicool1 16:14 13 Nov 2011


she's still have to buy the art software that supports a graphics Tablet and let's not forget she'll still need a PC of sorts.

  ellwill 17:11 14 Nov 2011

Yikes! Let's hope Santa's feeling generous!! :O) But thank you both very much for your advice - as a complete 'technophobe' I'm always in awe of those in the know.

Ellen :O)

  wee eddie 01:31 16 Nov 2011

If I were you I would try and have a chat with her Tutor.

The questions that you need to ask, and I'm sure that others will suggest more.

Will a Laptop actually be useful on her Course?

What is the minimum requirement/Specification that will be of use to her?

Is any of the Software that she will need available at Discounted prices? Many Companies offer Students their Software at heavily Discounted prices. M$ Office is available to Students at about 1/3rd of retail Price.

Are there any Periferals that she will need? Is the College ably to offer any shared periferals? ~ such as Printers and Wacom Tablets and which ones would she be advised to buy herself.

Advised timing of her purchases ~ Early in the First Term/later on during the Course?

  recap 14:09 16 Nov 2011

Far better to go down the lines of looking to purchase an ibook especially because the student is doing art.

  wee eddie 16:09 16 Nov 2011

recap: Do you mean an iPad?

Not very practical, but cool!

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