Normally I would be posting a review for a book I had read the previous week, however something happened I hadn’t planned for. The Huion KAMVAS GT-221 drawing tablet went on sale for almost 40% off. Now I was very hesitant to buy it because even at 40% off it was still a lot of money to drop on a drawing tablet. I think many people like myself who are learning to become better digital artists struggle with this. It’s not our profession nor is it directly helping us to earn money, but it is a big step forward in becoming a better artist. Dropping a significant amount of money for tools can always be difficult and honestly always makes me anxious. But after looking up some reviews and making sure there were no obvious problems, I pulled the trigger and got it.
Once it arrived it consumed half of my week and my entire weekend as I explored its features and the benefits of a larger drawing area. I found my workflow was incredibly faster. The shortcuts helped make steps like corrections, color selection and even just rotating the image for a better angle much faster. The software was easy to install and setting the ridiculous amount of buttons is straightforward and simple. I use Clip Studio Paint which has a pretty great keybinding setup. With that I set the two buttons on the pen to trigger the commands I use frequently, Pen, Eraser, Brush and Undo. As small as it sounds, it was amazing how useful it is. I was able to complete steps that normally would have taken me a week to do in about a day. There’s also the added benefit that it really is just a lot more fun to use than smaller cheaper tablets and pens.
Speaking of the pen and fun to use, the pen is easily the best part of the bundle. Barring the Apple Pen, the pen that came with the Huion is the most sensitive I’ve used so far. Even compared to the Apple Pen on the new iPad, I still found this to be a lot easier to use. Every stroke needs to be deliberate for it to show up. A soft light stroke creates a very faint line and as someone who has a very sketchy style to create the foundation for a piece, I love this mechanic. The software for the tablet also allows for the sensitivity for the pen to be adjusted to best fit your preferences perfectly. The pen does need to be charged via USB but this is pretty simple and the charge lasts long enough that it never interrupts a drawing session. Also the best part? The tablet comes with two pens! Even if somehow the first pen completely drains, you can just switch to the other one while the first charges.
The Huion GT-221 display itself was like a breath of fresh air. I found color correcting the monitor to be a lot easier than a cheaper tablet. And color correction is insanely important when moving towards printing material (for instance, how a book cover will actually appear once printed). The display itself is also a lot easier to use for prolonged drawing/coloring sessions. On my smaller screen tablets I noticed I always brought my face super close to the screen which would eventually strain my eyes. Typically I could do maybe an hour or two before I had to stop. But over the weekend I was able to draw for a straight four hours without any painful eye strain. The bigger screen allows for a more comfortable experience. Being able to sit back and draw at a leisurely angle makes practicing new techniques a lot easier.
Do I think it’s something everyone needs? Not necessarily. It won’t immediately make you a better artist nor will it get you immediate results that you may want. But one thing I can say is that it will help with longer practice time and overall feels really good to use. It revitalized my passion to become a better digital artist. I wanted to just spend more and more time practicing and getting better! If you can, I recommend grabbing it after having some experience with Digital Art to know if it’s really what you want to do.
Hope this helps! 🙂