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The 11 Best Laptops for Drawing & Digital Art [Artist Guide]

The 11 Best Laptops for Drawing & Digital Art [Artist Guide]

Are you an artist or graphic designer and want the best laptop for drawing & digital art? If that’s the case, you have come to the right place. The first thing to note is that your laptop should be equipped with (or support) a drawing tablet and pen.

There are a few different laptop and devices you can connect and use to create great artwork:

So how can you decide what’s best for you? Well, it comes down to your personal needs as an artist. For example, if you want the best computer for drawing and animation, you should go for a powerful device.

For this reason, we have tested numerous tablets and laptops and picked out the best Laptop computers for drawing.

I will also cover the best laptops designed for digital drawing via demanding software like Photoshop, Krita, Medibang, and Sketchup, nothing is left out.

Related: See how to create amazing photoshop sketches

But before we get to our top recommendations, let’s find out what to look for when buying a laptop for drawing.

At a Glance – Top Picks

At a Glance – Top Picks

Below are our top picks for the best laptops for Drawing:

  1. Asus ProArt StudioBook Pro: Best Overall Art laptop
  2. Surface Pro 8: Best Laptop for Drawing & Digital Art (touch screen)
  3. HP Pavilion x360 2-in-1: Best Budget Tablet laptop drawing
  4. Wacom mobile studio pro: Best all in one Drawing Laptop & Pen Tablet (standalone)
  5. Lenovo Yoga C740: Best Laptop that you can Draw on
  6. MSI Leopard GL75: Great for Drawing on a Laptop with a Pen Tablet
  7. MacBook Pro 16 inch: best Laptop to use with a Drawing Pad
  8. HP Spectre: Best 2-in-1 laptop for Drawing with a Wacom tablet
  9. Samsung Notebook 9: Best notebook choice for drawing on a laptop
  10. Microsoft surface book 3: Good detachable laptop & tablet for drawing
  11. Asus Rog Zephyrus: Best sketching laptop for animation & gaming
  12. Dell XPS 13 2-in-1: A Fusion of Elegance and Power
  13. Acer Spin 5: Affordable Artistry with a Unique Display

How to Choose the Best Laptop to Draw on

How to Choose the Best Laptop to Draw on

The first thing you need to do is check the hardware requirements of the drawing software you are using. This will help you decide which is the best laptop for you.

For example, if you are using an advanced drawing application like Illustrator or Krita, you should go for a relatively powerful laptop. But what does that mean in terms of hardware? Let us take a look: 

  • CPU: For a smooth drawing experience, you probably need at least a 4 core Intel or AMD processor. If you want a laptop that can handle animation, you can opt for an 8 core CPU. 
  • Ram: Memory is very important for creatives. A device with 8GB of RAM will probably offer a pleasant experience (16GB is ideal)
  • Graphics: Although a dedicated GPU isn’t a requirement for most drawing apps, you might need one for animation, gaming, or 3D projects.
  • Display: The ideal screen size is different for most artists. We can safely say that you need a laptop or tablet with a screen larger than 11 inch. The color gamut coverage (accuracy) should be greater than 90%.
  • Battery life: Good battery life (autonomy of 8 hours or more) is important, especially if you are an artist on the go. 

If you are looking for a laptop to run architecture apps like AutoCAD or Sketchup, we also cover these in greater detail.

What setup works best for drawing on a laptop?

What setup works best for drawing on a laptop

When it comes to drawing on a laptop, you should know that you have more than one option. For example, many professional and beginner artists draw on a 2-in-1 laptop like the latest Microsoft Surface Pro.

With such devices, you can also surf the web, multitask, and do all the other tasks that you can do with a traditional laptop or desktop. All you need to do is opt for an active stylus and draw on the device’s screen. In short, 2-in-1 laptops are a great choice because they offer a pleasant drawing experience while being a standalone computer.

Related: Surface Pen Replacement Tips: 7 Best Tip & Nib Replacements

Comparing an iPad vs a Laptop? You can see our comparison between the Surface Pro 7 and the iPad Pro for drawing.

  • On the other hand, there are devices that are specifically designed for artists, graphic designers, architects, and photographers.
  • These are graphics tablets and standalone drawing tablets. Such laptops are used by artists for professional digital art.
  • All graphics tablets and touchscreen drawing laptops typically come with a pen for drawing digital art.

There are also standalone devices like the Wacom Mobile Studio Pro, which also come with a fantastic display. So the final choice is entirely up to you and depends entirely on your needs, experience and budget.

Best Laptops for Drawing & Digital Art

Best Laptops for Drawing Digital Art 1

In this list below, these laptops are our top picks for drawing & creating digital art, but are covered in much greater detail. These have the recommended CPU, RAM, graphics card, ports, and compatibility for drawing, sketching, and running drawing apps without lag or stutter.

1. Asus ProArt StudioBook Pro: Best Overall Art laptop

Asus ProArt StudioBook Pro Best Overall Art laptop

If you are looking for the best laptop for drawing and gaming, the Asus ProArt is a great choice. The brand is widely known for its reliable and powerful laptops and this one is no exception. But what makes the ProArt StudioBook Pro a top-notch drawing tablet?

This Drawing laptop has powerful hardware and combines it with a modern design and a stunning screen.

Performance: To be precise, a powerful i7 CPU is framed by a top-notch RTX 3000 graphics card and 32 GB RAM. This set can do just about anything: from drawing to 3D editing software to demanding games.

If you’re focused on animation, then see the 7 Best Laptops & Computers for Animation Students.

Display: Another exceptional feature of the ProArt is the display. The 15-inch screen offers 4K resolution and an impressive 97% DCI-P3 color gamut. This screen allows for an amazing (and color accurate) drawing experience.

A slightly different device, which is not a laptop, but still works for drawing is a digital writing pad.

Since the ProArt does not have a touchscreen, you can draw directly on it with an active stylus. So if you are not a fan of drawing with a mouse, you’ll have to opt for a drawing tablet. In short, if you need a premium notebook for drawing, this is the best choice.

2. Surface Pro 8: Best Laptop for Drawing (touch screen)

Surface Pro 8 Best Laptop for Drawing

Although the Asus ProArt is an extremely powerful device, you can draw on its display with an active stylus. If that’s a priority for you, be sure to check out Microsoft’s latest 2-in-1 flagship, the Surface Pro 8.

During our test, the brand new Surface offered an amazing drawing experience. The hardware setup allows you to use any creative software like Photoshop or Medibang without any lags.

Storage & Display: We really enjoyed using the 13-inch touchscreen for drawing. The display is the perfect size and works perfectly with the Surface Pen. Also, this 2-in-1 laptop has a huge 256GB SSD, so you will not have any problems storing your drawing projects.

See our post on What You Need to Start Drawing on a Laptop

Battery lifespan: Lastly, the battery life of the device is much better than its predecessor (up to 16 hours). In short, the Surface Pro 8 is the perfect solution for those who need an all-round device for drawing. Also see our post on the Surface Pro pen battery: How to replace correctly

3. HP Pavilion x360 2-in-1: Best Budget Tablet laptop drawing

HP Pavilion x360 2 in 1 Best Budget Tablet laptop drawing

If you liked the flexibility of the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 but want a cheaper alternative, nothing beats the HP Pavilion x360. Unlike the Microsoft device, the latest Pavilion looks and acts more like a laptop than a tablet.

Display: To be precise, the x360 is a laptop with a 15.6” foldable IPS touchscreen display. This allows you to draw on a large screen with an active stylus. During our test, the size of the display and the overall experience reminded us of high-end drawing tablets like the Wacom Cintiq 16.

You can compare touch screen laptops for drawing vs standard touch screen laptops here.

Performance: As for performance, the HP Pavilion x360 is equipped with a reliable Intel i5 CPU, 16 GB RAM and a huge 1 TB SSD. This is a powerful build that can handle any drawing and illustration application on the market with ease.

So if gaming is not a priority for you and you need a 2-in-1 notebook with a large touchscreen for drawing, the x360 is the best device for you.

Related: How Long Does a Microsoft Surface Pro last? (the truth)

4. Wacom mobile studio pro: Best all in one Drawing Laptop & Pen Tablet (standalone)

Wacom mobile studio pro Best all in one Drawing Laptop Pen Tablet standalone

If you are a professional creative, you may already know a few things about the Wacom Mobile Studio Pro. If not, here we introduce you to the highest quality standalone drawing tablet we have ever tested.

When you consider that this is the most powerful Wacom device, it’s clear that our expectations were pretty high. And during our test, the latest Mobile Studio Pro lived up to all of them.

Performance: The device is very powerful as it packs an i7 CPU, 16 GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD. But what really puts this laptop ahead of all other competitors is the drawing experience.

Alternative to a laptop for drawing: Best digital Art Pads & Tablets for Beginner Artists

Display: The 13.3-inch display has amazing detail and clarity and offers up to 82% Adobe RGB coverage. The device also comes with one of the best active pens on the market, the latest Wacom Pro Pen 2. The pen has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, tilt support and lag-free tracking.

If you already have a laptop and want to connect a Wacom tablet to it for drawing, you can use the Wacom One.

In a few words, if you are looking for a top-notch drawing device to create exceptional artwork, this Wacom graphics tablet is the best solution.

5. Lenovo Yoga 7i: Best Laptop that you can Draw on

Lenovo Yoga 7i Best Laptop that you can Draw on

Lenovo is very popular for its budget laptops and tablets. This is why the Yoga 7i easily made it into our top picks. It’s a budget laptop for art that offers everything a creative needs.

Performance: In terms of performance, the Yoga 7i has an i5 quad-core processor and 8GB RAM. Although this equipment is not enough for very demanding games and applications, it can easily handle drawing software.

Note: You’ll need a stylus pen to draw on a Lenovo Yoga, particularly if you’re an artist.

Display: The best feature of the 7i is the 16″ FHD touchscreen. During our test, this laptop provided a great drawing and photo editing experience with multiple active pens. Lastly, Lenovo has included a 1TB SSD (optional upgrade) that will cover your needs for years to come.

Compared to its previous model, such as the Yoga C740, the display is roughly half an inch larger (15.6 vs 16 inch). In a few words, we can say that this Lenovo laptop deserves its excellent reviews. 

6. MSI Leopard: Great for Drawing on a Laptop with a Pen Tablet

MSI Leopard Great for Drawing on a Laptop with a Pen Tablet

If you are looking for the best budget laptop for drawing and gaming, MSI has the best candidate. Even though the Leopard is not as powerful as the Asus Pro Art reviewed above, it can cope with pretty much anything.

Performance: MSI has created a device that can handle any drawing software and modern game with ease. The notebook is equipped with an i7 CPU, a powerful dedicated GPU (GTX 1660Ti), 16 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD.

Display: As for the display, the Leopard has a 17.3″ FHD IPS 144Hz display that offers up to 100% sRGB. So if you value color accuracy, the GL75 is by far the best choice.

With a modern design, all essential ports, a nice backlit keyboard and great performance, the MSI is one of our favorite laptops for drawing and gaming. 

7. MacBook Pro 16 inch: best Laptop to use with a Drawing Pad

MacBook Pro 16 inch best Laptop to use with a Drawing Pad

With millions of creatives using Apple devices for drawing and photo editing, it would be a shortcoming if we did not include the new MacBook Pro 16 in our list. In fact, Apple’s 2021 flagship laptop has it all.

Performance: For starters, the MacBook Pro is a performance marvel. The M1 Pro chip and 16-core GPU are framed by 16GB RAM. This set can handle any creative app with ease and results in longer battery life than most laptops on the list (up to 21 hours).

To draw on a MacBook, you’ll require a good drawing tablet for Mac.

Display: Apple is also known for its top-notch displays. The new MacBook Pro is no exception. In fact, the device features a stunning Liquid Retina XDR display that delivers deep blacks, vivid and accurate colors, and detailed shadows.

In short, the MacBook Pro 16 is a modern and premium notebook that, when paired with a professional drawing pad, delivers a premium drawing experience.

8. HP Spectre: Best 2-in-1 laptop for Drawing with a Wacom tablet

HP Spectre Best 2 in 1 laptop for Drawing with a Wacom tablet

Like the HP Pavilion reviewed above, the latest Spectre is a 2-in-1 notebook designed specifically for creatives. But since both devices are offered by HP, what are their differences?

Performance: Well, consider HP Spectre as an upgraded version of the Pavilion. Although the Spectre has a relatively smaller touchscreen (13.3″), it is more powerful than the Pavilion. To be precise, this laptop is equipped with an i7 CPU, 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD.

Also, the Spectre comes with a high-end HP pen allowing you to use it for drawing within minutes of purchase.

View the ultimate drawing tablet setups for Digital artists.

In a few words, this is a powerful laptop for drawing. If you are a fan of high-end drawing laptops with smaller displays, you should definitely choose the Spectre over the Pavilion.

9. Samsung Notebook 9: Best notebook choice for drawing on a laptop

Samsung Notebook 9 Best notebook choice for drawing on a laptop

Samsung has recently come out with a great budget notebook for drawing, the Notebook 9. It’s the perfect device for anyone looking for an affordable yet powerful laptop that can handle any drawing app.

Performance: As far as performance is concerned, the Notebook 9 comes with an i7 CPU, 8 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD. Although the lack of 16 GB RAM might be an issue for demanding software, you will not have any problems with drawing software and non-demanding games.

Of course, the Notebook 9’s 15-inch FHD display is not a touchscreen. As such, we think it’s a good value for entry-level users. In fact, the Notebook 9 works perfectly with any beginner-friendly drawing pad like the latest Wacom One

10. Microsoft surface book 3: Good detachable laptop & tablet for drawing

Microsoft surface book 3 Good detachable laptop tablet for drawing

The Microsoft Surface Book 3 is a premium alternative to the Surface Pro 8 we reviewed above. The main difference between the two laptops concerns the size of the screen and the hardware configuration.

Performance: To be precise, the Surface Book 3 has an impressive 15″ touchscreen. It is also one of the lightest laptops with a dedicated GPU (GTX 1660) on the market. Apart from the graphics card, Microsoft has included a top-tier i7 CPU, 32 GB RAM and 1 TB SSD storage.

In conclusion, this is the best drawing tablet for professionals who need an ultimate portable device.

11. Asus Rog Zephyrus: Best sketching laptop for animation & gaming

Asus Rog Zephyrus Best sketching laptop for animation gaming

Although the Asus ProArt is by far the most powerful laptop on the list, it has a fairly minimalist design. But what if you are looking for a notebook with gaming design, futuristic looks, and dual screens?

If that sounds interesting, you should take a look at the Rog Zephyrus. The hardware and performance is similar to the Asus ProArt. However, this is one of the most innovative devices as it has a second screen.

Performance: The Asus ROG appeals to many gamers, but due to its graphics card and powerful processor, it also works for drawing. The only drawback is that it may have a few extra features you may not need if you are strictly only creating digital art, computer art, 2d animation or designs. However, if you are 3d modeling, then Asus ROG is ideal.

To be exact, Asus has included a ROG ScreenPad Plus secondary display that comes in handy for drawing, photo editing, and of course gaming. The laptop opened and closed easily with it’s clamshell design and was quite portable when we tested it.

12. Dell XPS 13 2-in-1: A Fusion of Elegance and Power

For those who prioritize both aesthetics and performance in their drawing laptops, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 stands out as a top contender. Dell’s reputation for producing high-quality, reliable laptops is well-established, and this model is no exception. But what makes the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 a prime choice for digital artists?

This laptop boasts a sleek design paired with robust hardware, ensuring that it’s not just about looks but also about top-tier performance.

Performance: At its core, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is powered by the 12th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-1230U processor, which can turbo boost up to 4.40 GHz. This is further enhanced by the integrated Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics, ensuring smooth and vibrant visuals. With 8 GB LPDDR4x memory clocked at 4267 MHz, multitasking is seamless, be it sketching, digital painting, or even 3D modeling.

Display: The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1’s display is a marvel for digital artists. It boasts a 13″ 3:2 3K (2880×1920) Touch display, protected by GorillaGlass Victus. This screen not only provides crisp visuals but also supports active pen input, making it a dynamic canvas for artists. With a brightness level of 500 nits, colors pop out vividly, ensuring an immersive drawing experience. The 3:2 aspect ratio further enhances the vertical workspace, a significant advantage for artists focusing on intricate and detailed projects.

Having personally used this laptop for some of my digital art projects, I can attest to its seamless performance and vibrant display. Given its premium build and features, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 does come with a heftier price tag. However, for artists who want a blend of style, performance, and a top-notch display, this laptop is undoubtedly worth the investment. Just ensure you’re opting for the 2-in-1 version to fully leverage its drawing capabilities.

13. Acer Spin 5: Affordable Artistry with a Unique Display

When it comes to finding a drawing laptop that doesn’t break the bank but still offers a plethora of features, the Acer Spin 5 emerges as a strong contender. Acer, a brand synonymous with affordability and reliability, has outdone itself with the Spin 5 model. So, what makes the Acer Spin 5 a favorite among budding digital artists?

The Spin 5 seamlessly combines a budget-friendly price tag with features typically found in higher-end laptops, making it a steal for its price.

Performance: Powering the Acer Spin 5 is the 10th-generation Intel Core processor, ranging from i5 to i7, ensuring smooth operations and quick response times. This is complemented by the Intel Iris Plus Graphics, which brings your artwork to life with vibrant colors and sharp details. Depending on your needs, you can choose between 8GB to 16GB RAM, ensuring multitasking is a breeze, whether you’re sketching, coloring, or editing.

Display: The true standout feature of the Acer Spin 5 is its unique 13.5-inch display with a 3:2 aspect ratio. This 2256 x 1504 touchscreen offers more vertical space compared to the standard 16:9 screens, giving artists a larger canvas to work on. This can be especially beneficial for those who prefer portrait-oriented artworks or simply want more room for their creative endeavors.

From my personal experience with the Acer Spin 5, I was pleasantly surprised by its performance, especially given its price point. The inclusion of a stylus, despite its slightly flimsy feel, is a bonus, especially with its rapid charging capability. The impressive 12-hour battery life further ensures that you can work on your art projects uninterrupted, wherever inspiration strikes. While it might not have the premium feel of some of its pricier competitors, the Acer Spin 5 offers incredible value for digital artists on a budget

What laptops work best with a drawing pad and a stylus pen?

What laptops work best with a drawing pad and a stylus pen

The best laptops to use with a drawing pad and a stylus pen are: 

  1. Asus Rog Zephyrus (best for artists who are also gamers)
  2. MacBook Air (Best for those who don’t require windows drawing apps)
  3. MacBook Pro (Balanced pick)
  4. Asus ProArt StudioBook Pro (best for digital artists)
  5. Samsung NoteBook 9 (best budget laptop for drawing)

What computer setup works best for drawing and animation with digital art apps like Adobe Photoshop and Krita?

What computer setup works best for drawing

If you want to draw and animate with software like Photoshop and Krita, you should definitely choose a device with a mid-range (or higher) CPU, 16 GB RAM and a dedicated GPU. You can avoid laptops with expensive GPUs if you are not working on large animation projects. You can see our comparison: Krita vs Photoshop to compare the two in further depth.

Related: Krita vs FireAlpaca: Which software is better for artists?

Best apps for drawing on a laptop

Best apps for drawing on a laptop

The best apps for drawing on a laptop that I’ve tested include, but are not limited to:

  1. Adobe Photoshop
  2. Adobe Illustrator
  3. Toon Boom
  4. Krita
  5. GIMP
  6. Clip Studio Paint
  7. Medibang 
  8. Inkscape
  9. Astropad studio
  10. ArtRage
  11. PaintTool SAI

Apps such as Procreate only work on iOS/Apple devices such as the iPad or iPhone. It does not work on laptops. For example, Procreate on Windows is not something that I’ve seen often, but it is possible.

What other devices do I need to draw on a laptop?

There are a few other devices you’ll need to draw on a laptop. For example if you are an artist that is sketching, animating, or digitally painting, then you’ll likely prefer an external, large monitor. The purpose of a larger display is to work more comfortably.

Industry digital artists I’ve worked with use a higher end mouse such as a Logitech MX Master 3 in addition to a graphics tablet, digital pen tablet, or standalone drawing tablet.

The reason a graphics tablet (such as the GAOMON, Xencelabs, XP-PEN) or a drawing tablet is necessary is because it allows the artist to use a stylus instead of a mouse; providing more control over drawing.

This also means you can draw just like you would pen on paper because features such as pressure sensitivity allow you to control the width of the lines you draw.

You’ll need the following devices in order to draw on laptop:

  • 24 inch Monitor or larger
  • Graphics tablet
  • Pen tablet
  • Standalone drawing tablet
  • Mouse

How do I choose the best laptop for drawing?

A digital artist must choose a laptop that has an operating system that will run their particular drawing app of choice. For example, if you are drawing or sketching on Photoshop, you can use either a MacBook, or a windows-based laptop such as the Lenovo Yoga or Surface Pro. See our post on Sketchbook Vs Photoshop: Which Software Is Better?

However, some drawing apps can only be used on Windows and this means that you cannot use a MacBook or iMac with that software.

If you are on a budget, then a 2-in-1 laptop like the Surface Pro 8 or Lenovo Yoga are ideal because they fit a lower price point and also do not require a secondary device such as a graphics tablet or pen tablet for drawing.

If you often draw on the go and portability is a value to you in a laptop, then you’ll likely also want to choose a touch screen laptop for drawing rather than a more bulky choice like the MacBook Pro.

You also may have additional uses for the laptop that you choose other than drawing. For example you may be gaming or using the laptop for school or work in addition to creating art or sketching. In this case, you’ll want to consider how demanding the apps you plan to use are. If these apps are more CPU demanding than a drawing tablet, then you’ll want to use those as your minimum technical specifications instead of the standard drawing app. Last but not least, you need to check if the laptop you select will work with the drawing tablet or graphics tablet you plan to use – compatibility is important when selecting the best laptop for drawing.

How We Ranked and Chose the Best Laptops for Drawing

In our quest to identify the best laptops for drawing and digital art, we took a multifaceted approach. First, we considered the technical specifications crucial for smooth and efficient digital art creation. This included evaluating the processor’s speed, RAM capacity, graphics capabilities, and screen resolution and color accuracy. A laptop’s compatibility with various drawing tablets and styluses was also a significant factor in our assessment.

Furthermore, we consulted with professional digital artists and graphic designers to gain insights into their preferences and needs. Their feedback on real-world performance, combined with our technical evaluations, allowed us to curate a list that caters to both beginners and seasoned professionals. We believe that a laptop’s true worth for drawing isn’t just in its specs but in how seamlessly it integrates into an artist’s workflow.

About the author:

Photo of Paul Michael, Founder of MediaPeanut

Paul Michael

Paul Michael is a media and technology expert whose research reveals how technology and media are being used in the world today. He has expertise on computers, the internet, streaming, Roku, electronics, and education. He also enjoys graphic design & digital art. Paul has his Bachelors of Arts and Science(s) from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, NJ