Digital art is one of the most rapidly growing mediums. But for that, you need a good graphic tablet and a good system to run all the software. But a good laptop would save you tons of space plus it is portable. So we recommend the best laptops for drawing with some even having a pressure-sensitive stylus.
Art takes immeasurable patience and practice to perfect, it is not just talent, but also requires tools and time. An artist can make art from anything, but some people have a certain medium they work with.
But digital art is a widely accepted medium these days, with big companies hiring freelancers for it. Digital artists often transition into designing and even animation since software support has increased. This way these artists have more forms of earning money.
While digital art has great potential, graphics tablets are really expensive. Not only that but you need a decent system to work on. You will need at least two monitors with good resolution and colors. A medium powerful graphics card, somewhere in the region of a GTX 1050 at least.
You will also need solid-state storage to transfer files and save them quickly. Because digital art files often consist of tons of layers, they are huge. Transferring can become a pain with a typical HDD.
Lastly, something like a CPU that can support content creation and fast memory. But there is one minor problem with systems, you cannot carry them with you to show your work to others. PC’s have become portable, but even a mini ITX build cannot compare to a laptop for drawing.
So we decided to help you, artists out there, by finding you the best laptops for drawing. But before heading into the review section, let us discuss what you need to look for in laptops for digital art in a buyer’s guide.
What to Look for in a Laptop for Drawing?
While finding a laptop is fairly simple, something specific like finding a laptop for drawing might be different. Most laptops are focused on work, but drawing requires more than just a keyboard and a good CPU.
The best laptops for drawing have one thing in common, they have a really good resolution and color display. They also have good RAM and at least around 1GB integrated GPU or maybe a dedicated one.
Performance-wise we are looking at something more advanced than a core i3. as anything less than an i5 and least 8 gigs of memory will either make drawing software like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Clip Studio lag or crash often.
These are demanding software and require good CPU performance and core count. It also requires memory to feed that high-performance CPU with data.
Other than CPU performance, a solid-state drive would be a huge improvement. As we said before, these files have sometimes thousands of layers. These layers cause the size of the file to increase as well.
When saving it can often take minutes if you run it on a typical HDD. But with solid-state storage, things can go pretty fast and smoothly. You want that speed so your software can save the file immediately and you can transfer it to other media just as fast.
Lastly, photoshop might work on a system without a discrete GPU and so will most software. But for the best performance, you will need some GPU prowess to utilize their maximum potential.
But the latest CPUs that come with better-integrated graphics than Intel UHD are available. For instance the Radeon Vega series in the Ryzen 4000 series mobile CPUs and Intel CPUs with G suffix in the model with Iris Plus Graphics.
These integrated GPUs can outperform some dedicated GPUs like NVIDIA MX150. So finding a laptop without a dedicated GPU to preserve battery while having good performance can also be a key to a good drawing laptop.
The Best Laptops for Drawing to Help Unleash Your Creativity
Microsoft Surface line of tablets, which are also a laptop have been hugely successful. Partly because of superb the laptop works with the OS.
In the buyer’s guide above, we discussed that the best laptops for the drawing must have a good display resolution, colors, a powerful CPU, a good GPU, and enough memory to support them all. The Surface Book 2 by Microsoft has all the requirements perfectly down to the detail.
Let us start off with the fact that it is detachable from its keyboard turning into a tablet. With a Surface Pen, you can use it to draw, take notes, edit photos, and such.
It has an amazing 4K touch display that just mesmerizes people with amazing details and vivid colors. You will be surprised that this tablet which is also a laptop is so powerful.
It has an Intel Core i7-8650U CPU which is a 4-core, 8-thread processor. The processor’s base clock sits at 1.90GHz but can boost up to 4.20GHz. The multi-core setup is perfect for handling multiple tasks at once.
This allows for artists to utilize its power in software like Photoshop without lagging issues. Paired with a 16GB of DDR4 RAM the CPU is good enough on its own to run many powerful graphics software.
But that is not the end of this laptop’s amazing specs. Surface Book 2 also has a GTX 1060 6GB discrete GPU. So basically, there is literally no contrast to this laptop anywhere else.
Lastly, this laptop has been superseded by the Surface Book 3 but is still regarded as the best for artists. In the budget of under $2000, you cannot find laptops as good as this one.
The Surface Pen and the touch screen can work wonders by artists who know how to work digital art. The Surface Pen does not give the results of what a dedicated graphics tablet does. But is regarded as better than what most 2-in-1 laptops have to offer with their stylus.
When we first reviewed this laptop, we were inclined to test out the GPU performance. We ran a few benchmarks by playing games and let me tell you, this laptop is no joke.
The specs on this laptop, its unique design, and features make it the premium choice, well worth its high price tag. It is hard to know where to start when talking about this beautiful laptop.
First of all, let us talk about the CPU, it has an Intel 9th Generation Core i7-9750H. This is a 6-core, 12-thread CPU, so this processor has enough power to run any software seamlessly.
As we said, this laptop has an NVIDIA RTX 2060 GPU, a ray-tracing enabled GPU on a drawing laptop. Ray-tracing technology can come in handy not only in gaming but can also be applied to render lighting better in 3d work.
The 16GB of DDR4 RAM is rightfully included to feed that 6-core beast of a CPU. But if you are feeling even more generous on your passion for digital art, ramp up the memory to 32GB.
The laptop has 1TB worth of SSD, so create to your heart’s content, you will not run out of space anytime soon. With Thunderbolt 3 you can transfer data at lightning-fast speeds if you want to save it to an external drive. (External drive should support Thunderbolt 3)
The SSD can also be expanded up to 2TB, so if you feel 1TB is not enough, throw in some more money on storage. We do not need to tell you the benefits of SSD compared to a traditional HDD. They are way faster in terms of transfer speeds.
Now that we have gotten the specs out of the way, let’s talk about the display on this thing, or should we say displays. This laptop features a 4K nano-edge super-thin bezel OLED touchscreen. But it also has a secondary LED screen right above the keyboard for expanding your display even further.
You can use this LCD to multitask as well, by opening separate windows, bringing up a quick taskbar, and even using this as a toolbar in graphic software. This way you can have a full screen dedicated to the drawing you are working on.
This laptop will drain you off of your savings, as it costs about $2400 on Amazon. If you have even more money to spare, you can go for the Core i9 model and 32GB RAM along with 2TB SSD. But that will cost you in the neighborhood of 3 grand easily.
So this laptop has been making waves in the community for being priced so reasonably while having great specs. The 4th Gen Ryzen 5 CPU with integrated Radeon GPU does wonders.
The Radeon 6 Graphics in this CPU is good enough to compete with the NVIDIA MX150 discrete GPU. This integrated GPU can easily overpower the entry-level mobile discrete GPU by NVIDIA at some applications.
The Ryzen 5 4500U is a 6-core CPU with an equal number of threads. The high core count of this CPU makes it perfect for performing tasks that require CPU usage. This is specifically the case in software like Photoshop which consumes a lot of RAM and CPU usage.
Speaking of RAM you get 16GB DDR4 RAM on this laptop, so basically you can run Photoshop while there are multiple Google Chrome tabs open for reference and still have enough memory to run the system processes.
The AMD version of the Flex 5 comes with the Active Pen from Lenovo, while it’s not present in the Intel versions and needs to be bought separately. Active Pen can be used to take notes and work on the laptop, but we cannot suggest you use it for drawing.
The display is an FHD display with brilliantly vibrant colors, but, of course, nothing compared to a 4K display. Still, in a budget of $600 we think we cannot find a better drawing laptop than the Flex 5 by Lenovo.
You get 256GB of SSD storage, so this laptop has almost all of it, but just in enough quantities. 256GB might not be a lot, but you save so much on this laptop, buying an external drive might not be a far-fetched option for you.
This laptop also features some safety features, like a fingerprint reader. Another cool feature that no other laptop in our list has, other than the SurfaceBook 2 is it can convert into a tablet. The Surface Pro 2 becomes a literal tablet but this laptop has a 360-degree hinge that can turn around the screen to make it look like a tablet.
HP ZBook Studio x360 G5 is an artist’s dream workstation. It is one of the BEST laptops for drawing. Unleashing your creativity has never been so much easier and more fun.
The ZBook Studio comes packed with incredible features. It has a sleek and slim design that gives it an attractive look. For a laptop, it is pretty lightweight but, the same can not be said about the tablet mode. However, the performance remains the same throughout.
The ZBook Studio has a 15.6-inch Ultra-HD 4K display along with full RGB support. The touch display is very responsive and supports multitouch and gestures. To make everything more accessible and easy to operate, the ZBook Studio comes with an Active Pen.
It also has all the other basic laptop features that include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, and an HD Webcam. The keyboard is backlit which provides operability even in low-light environments. It features all the necessary ports required for a laptop (HDMI, Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, SD Card Reader, 3.5mm Combo, etc.).
It isn’t shabby when it comes to performance as well. It comes with the latest Intel Core i7 processor (Specification may vary) and the NVIDIA Quadro P1000 GPU providing great processing power. Along with the 64GB DDR4 RAM and the 2TB SSD, the ZBook Studio has speed and sufficient storage. The operating system of choice for the ZBook Studio is the Windows 10 Pro.
While the ZBook Studio packs some of the best features found in a 2-in-1 laptop, it is incredibly expensive. However, there aren’t many other alternatives to the HP ZBook Studio x360 G5 considering it is one of the BEST 2-in-1 laptops for artists. The accessibility, computation capability, and 4K HD support along with other complementary features make the HP ZBook Studio a dream come true for artists.