Today, I received my brand new Artisul D13 Graphics Display Tablet in the mail a full 2 days ahead of schedule! I’ve been wanting a display tablet for a while now but the cost of a Wacom Cintiq is too prohibitive especially since I am not a professional artist. Luckily, I saw a bunch of really good reviews of the D13 on YouTube from some artists who I subscribe to and decided to take the plunge.
Many digital artists use graphics tablets to create art on their computer. The tablet consists of a slate and a pen that allows much more precise and expressive cursor control than the usual mouse or trackball. The most distinguishing feature of a tablet is pressure sensitivity. The slate and pen work together to detect the amount of pressure being used and this simulates a real-world brush or pen. The lighter pen pressure creates thin or light strokes and heavier pen pressure creates thick or darker strokes. This type of input into the computer cannot be done with a mouse or trackball. The only downside to this technology is that the pen and slate is separate from your monitor so some hand-eye coordination is required.
A graphics display tablet takes this technology to a whole new level by merging the graphics tablet with a monitor! Yup, this sucker is a computer display that allows you to draw directly on the screen! The Artisul D13 is a 13.3 inch 1920×1080 display with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity.
The installation of the Artisul D13 to my iMac was extremely simple. I connected the included HDMI cable to my computer (via a Thunderbolt-to-HDMI adapter) and to the D13. Next, I plugged the included USB 3.0 cable to my computer and the D13. The cool thing about this product is that it does not require an additional power supply. As soon as I plugged the USB cable into the D13, it turned on I saw my screen! The USB 3.0 port on your computer is enough to power the display.
Drivers are always an issue when using a graphics tablet, but I had no problems downloading the drivers from Artisul’s web site and installing them on my iMac.
I did run into some issues that were pretty strange. I use a Logitech wireless keyboard and trackball. Normally they worked fine, but when I installed the D13, the keyboard and mouse became unresponsive now and then. Originally, I had the Logitech receiver plugged into the same USB hub as the D13. I decided to plug the Logitech receiver in to the iMac directly to make sure there wasn’t any interference in the signal between my Logitech devices and the D13. Since then I haven’t had any issues
I’m not sure how much power the D13 draws or how much USB bandwidth it requires so I would recommend keeping your computer setup as simple as possible to avoid any weird behavior.
My overall impression of the Artisul D13 is excellent. For my artistic level, it is affordable and capable piece of equipment. It works as advertised and I have not had any issues so far. If I do run into any issues, I’ll update this article. The build quality is excellent and does not feel or look cheap in any way. The display is crisp, bright and responsive. The pen feels nice and glides nicely on the screen without feeling too grippy or slippery. The included stand is sturdy and adjustable from upright to nearly flat with non-slip rubber on the base. The included pen case contains a bunch of replacement nibs
I’ve been primarily drawing in small sketchbooks that I carry around with me at all times but have never gone as far as inking or coloring them. I’m hoping to do more finished drawings digitally using the Artisul D13. The small size and low power requirements make it perfect for traveling and lounging around. The Cintiq or iPad Pro were options that I had considered but never could financially justify. The Artisul D13 cost me $450, compared to $800 for the Cintiq 13HD or $1,000 for the iPad Pro. Sure a sketchbook is only a few dollars, but if I’m eventually going to digitally finish my art, I’d rather start it digitally as well.