I have had an interest for hardware my entire life. Working as an IT administrator for over 8 years tends to be a good testament to that.
For 3D art the requirements are different from regular design work. You also need to balance your budget against your needs or interest.
What I recommend here is what I have found to be working for me at a price point that I think is reasonable. I will exclude a desktop recommendation. For artists that want to learn more about desktop hardware, cgdirector.com focus on hardware for artists.
I have an XP-Pen artist22E that I use for my sculpting and drawing. I have had some issues with this tablet when Windows 10 had new major updates. But the support team has been responsive and provided workarounds during those periods. Today it is working without problems.
The XP-Pen artist22E had a successor named XP-Pen artist22e Pro.
If I were to buy a drawing tablet today my choice would be a Huion KAMVAS 16 Pro. I learned that this size is plenty to draw on from having used my Lenovo Yoga 720 laptop for sculpting in Blender.
If you are a beginner I would suggest that you get a drawing display instead of a drawing tablet. It is much easier to get going and you don’t have to learn to draw on a tablet while watching what happens on the screen. It will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run.
I have a Lenovo Yoga 720 with a core i7, Nvidia GTX 1050 and 8 GB of RAM. A very neat and well-rounded package for a 3D artist.
If you want to combine a display with pen input and an Nvidia Graphics card it is the only option in its price range.
Of course there are different configurations available with different prices. But there is no other model that I know of. The next step up is Microsoft Surface book, and they are at a more premium price.
The Lenovo yoga 720 also has usb-c that is compatible with external GPU. You can watch this YouTube video for more detailed information.
Today the Lenovo Yoga 730 is out and available(Lenovo US store) and if I were to buy a laptop today that would be my choice. With a core i5 or i7 with an Nvidia GTX 1050.
If you want to render with this computer you will need to change some settings in the Nvidia control panel. If you don’t, the GPU will throttle and you render will take forever. Keep in mind that this is a laptop, not intended for overnight rendering at max load.
Since Blender is my 3D package of choice I like to have a numpad available. Jelly comb N001(Amazon) does the job. I like to have one with a cord so that I don’t have to worry about battery life.
Input and output USB-C adapter
To expand the input and output availability of the Lenovo yoga 720/730, I recommend this usb-c adapter from Lenovo(Amazon).
- It has 2 extra USB type A ports.
- Gigabit Ethernet for cable connected internet access.
- SDCard reader
- HDMI port, mine only seems to work with HD Displays and not 4K displays. Though I can’t know if this is due to the adapter or something else.
- 1x USB-C for charging. For example your phone.
The adapter that I have has the exact same specification and design but with the brand Plexgear instead of Lenovo. This is the closest I could find.
The Bamboo ink however, ran out of battery pretty quickly and therefore I mostly use the Active pen 2 when I’m on the go.
This is some gear that I use and can recommend. It is a good mobile kit that you can carry with you easily apart from the drawing tablet that is connected to my workstation at home.