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Can Drawing Tablets Work without a Computer?

Can Drawing Tablets Work without a Computer?

Let’s talk about drawing tablets. If you’re a budding animation artist or graphic designer, you might want to buy a drawing tablet at some point. If you’re an expert, you might want to find out more about the kinds of tablets available out there and whether or not you will need a computer to use them. So, can drawing tablets work without a computer?

Yes. Some drawing tablets can work standalone and don’t need to be hooked up to a PC or other system. However, these standalone tablets don’t have to be ideal for the kind of work you want to do. 

We’re going to look at each standalone drawing tablet with a screen to help answer questions such as do drawing tablets have to be connected to a computer to work.

Many people are interested in knowing do Wacom tablets need a computer and if Cintiq can work without a computer in particular, because of the brand’s popularity. 

We will give you some in-depth insight into what tablets are and which ones you can use for your specific needs.

Other related topics about drawing tablets:


What are drawing tablets?

Drawing tablets are essentially add-on ‘screens’ that you can use to bring your digital artwork to life.

You might be asking, do drawing tablets have to be connected to a computer or can they just be a standalone drawing tablet with a screen? 

Some of them have screens, and some don’t.

For example, a Wacom standalone tablet is a drawing tablet with a screen. Even with a screen, it can still be helpful to connect your tablet to your computer. 

Now, you’re probably asking why you’d need a separate tablet to draw when you can draw on your computer.

It might not make intuitive sense to have another screen or surface to do the same thing you can do on your existing machine.

The caveat here is that you might not need your computer display to draw, but you will need the processor.

So, do Wacom tablets need a computer? Not officially, but it’s very helpful. There’s so much more you can do with a computer processor than just a tablet one. This is also true for the question can Cintiq work without a computer?

Usually, graphics software is heavy and requires a lot of memory to run.

Drawing tablets don’t usually carry that much power in them, so if you want to use the Adobe Suite for your work, you’ll need a computer and a tablet.

3 Types of Drawing Tablets

  • Smart Pads: these are your essential drawing tablets that don’t need a computer to work.

    They have screens that allow you to doodle, sketch, and take notes, so you can imagine they carry many possibilities.

    One of the big names that make these tablets is Wacom, a Japanese company.

They make the Wacom Intuos and the Cintiq, for which many ask does Wacom Cintiq work without a computer, or do Wacom tablets need a computer? 

Generally speaking, you don’t need a computer anymore to work with these standalone drawing tablets. One of the things Wacom is now known for is its Wacom standalone drawing tablet.

Thus, you don’t need a computer when working with a Wacom drawing tablet, although it can help. The processing power available on a desktop computer is much greater than that of a tablet, so it can do a lot more rendering with art. This depends on what you’re working on though.

Their tablets come with battery-free and cordless pens, making them ultra-easy to use the tablets.

You can opt for these kinds of tabs if you don’t want to work with a computer.

Touch-screen Tabs: these tablets have screens that you can use to draw.

Animation giants like Disney and Marvel use these sorts of tablets to create the stunning animations we know and love.

However, you will need a computer to use these tablets because they require specific software to render designs and transfer them.

You will like these tablets if you’re precision-oriented because you can see each stroke with complete accuracy as you draw.

Essential Drawing Tablets: these tablets are bare drawing boards.

They need to be connected to a computer and need special software to work.

When you draw on these tabs, they transfer your movements onto the computer screen.

Essentially, this is like drawing on a sheet of paper, except you see your work coming across digitally.

You might take some time to adapt to this sort of tablet, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to create drawings very quickly.

Who Uses Drawing Tablets?

Now that you know what drawing tablets are for, it’s time to talk about who uses them.

Different professions will tend to use different drawing tablets, but Wacom drawing tablets tend to still dominate among other brands. 

So, who uses drawing tablets on the regular?

Illustrators and animation artists use drawing tablets to create accurate and beautiful digital artwork.

They’re handy for drawing because the artists feel like they are drawing on paper, albeit one with many technical abilities and functions.

It’s like an electronic paper and pencil that translates each stroke to the computer.

You’re also able to edit your work how and when you want to.

Asides from artistic uses, drawing tables are also used by:

  • Architects and Engineers: these specialists use tablets to create technical illustrations and see them in 3D.

    Accuracy is vital for them, and these tabs certainly help with that.
  • Doctors: tablets are used in the medical field for checking patient scans, reports, and results.

    It’s faster than using a conventional pen and paper.
  • Geographical Mappers: cartographers and geophysicists also use these tabs to design graphics related to mapping and navigation.

    The tabs make it easy to zoom in on the most minor details and are indispensable to these professionals.

The Best Drawing Tablets

Let’s talk about the best drawing tablets you can purchase currently, depending on your budget and needs.

Some people ask, do drawing tablets have to be connected to a computer? And that depends on the tablet, but most these days work as a standalone drawing tablet with a screen.

  1. The Microsoft Surface Pro 7: The Surface Pro brings you a 12.3-inch screen that makes it both portable and large enough for drawing.

    You won’t miss out on any features, and you won’t need to plug them into a computer.
  2. The Apple iPad Pro: Here’s a tablet that does it all.

    You will get professional features, software, and design with the iPad Pro, as well as an Apple pencil that feels like a natural pencil!
  3. Wacom Tablets: Wacom makes a tablet for every professional. Wacom tablets used to be ubiquitous for artists and still are held in high regard.

    They make both smart pads and screenless tablets so that you can pick either, depending on your convenience.

    Many ask: does Wacom Cintiq work without a computer and the answer is yes.

    You can use Wacom tablets with and without a computer. This includes both the Wacom Intuos line and other Wacom tablets.

    It depends on which tablet you’ve purchased, but they’re always a reliable pick.

Wacom vs iPad

It used to be that the Wacom drawing tablet was the only real choice of drawing tablet with a screen for artists. Among their options, including the Wacom Intuos, the Wacom Cintiq line has always been the forerunner.

The Wacom Cintiq is now competing in a field of great drawing tablets, the biggest of which is the iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil. Hence, this Wacom vs. iPad head-to-head.

Wacom drawing tablets and iPads are the two most popular choices of drawing tablets. That’s why we’ve set up this Wacom vs iPad section to delve into the similarities and differences between Wacom drawing tablets and iPads.

You might first ask yourself, does Wacom Cintiq work without a computer like the iPad?

The current generation of a Wacom standalone tablet is the Cintiq 16, with a fantastic 1,920 x 1,080 display, 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, and integration with the Pro Pen 3D.

What is most remarkable about the Wacom drawing tablet is that it is the cheapest in this range of displays. As the best balance of an affordable drawing tablet with a screen and a Wacom standalone tablet, it checks all the boxes.

So, can Cintiq work without a computer? Yes, you can absolutely use it as a Wacom standalone drawing tablet.

Coming bundled with the Pro Pen 2, the Wacom Cintiq comes in as less expensive than an iPad Pro, even without the Apple Pencil included.

Can you use Drawing Tablets without a Computer?

The tablet you purchase factors into it. If you get a tab with a touchscreen, like the iPad, you won’t need a computer for anything.

However, if you pick a Wacom tablet that doesn’t have a screen, you will need a monitor and special software to use the tablet.

You can just as easily get a Wacom standalone drawing tablet with screen though.

You should pick the best tablet for you depending on your budget and which special features you’re looking for.

With all that being said, happy drawing!

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