Laptops

6 Best Laptops For Drawing: Reviewed For Artists

A laptop that is specially designed for art and graphic design is every artist’s best friend. The days of doodling solely with colored pencils are long behind us. Now, some of the best art is created digitally, and whether you’re a graphic designer or hobby artist, having the best laptop for drawing can take your artwork to the next level.

This guide to the best laptops for drawing can help you to pick out the ultimate device for creating beautiful digital art and graphics.

Image

Model

Resolution

Screen Size

Storage

Pen Type

Battery Life

Check Price

Microsoft  Surface Laptop 2 (Intel Core i5,...

2256 x 1504

13.5”

128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB

Microsoft Surface Pen

14.5 hrs

Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop, 14 inches...

1920 x 1080

14”

512GB

Rechargeable Stylus

12 hrs

Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop, 14...

1920 x 1080

14”

256GB

Active Pen

Up to 8 hrs

Samsung Chromebook Pro Convertible Touch...

2400 x 1600

12.3”

32GB

Built-In Pen

9 hrs

HP - Spectre x360 2-in-1 15.6' 4K Ultra HD...

3840 x 2160

15.6”

512GB

Stylus Pen

Up to 12 hrs

ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 2-In-1 Laptop-...

1920 x 1080

12.5”

64GB

None (Sold Separately)

Up to 10 hrs


Why Digital Drawing Demands Certain Laptop Specs

If you’re new to creating art with a laptop, you might just assume that any old laptop will do the trick. Well, this isn’t the case at all since creating art with a device holds much higher standards than writing a Word document or trolling your ex’s Facebook profile.

Choosing a laptop that meets the right requirements for creating art means that you've chosen one with fantastic color quality, high-definition graphics, and better photo handling. It means that you can go about your day creating artwork that you’ve only dreamt of in your sleep.


Choosing a Quality Laptop For Drawing

Operating System

Apple products have an outstanding reputation as being creative tools that any artist will find useful. But that doesn’t mean you should immediately rule out the idea of a laptop that runs on the Windows operating system. Macs are often the most highly recommended, but Windows products can be just as good when you choose one with the proper specs.

If you opt for Windows, make sure to go with a Windows 10 device since older devices are often not compatible with the newest software used by digital artists. The main perk of choosing a Windows over a Mac is the lower price tag, but if you have the budget, you’ll love everything about a Mac’s Retina display

Screen Size & Quality

A lot of artists are using 2-in-1 devices that serve as both a tablet and laptop, and this style typically comes with a smaller 13" display. Some artists prefer a larger display screen - like 15.6" - to see colors more clearly and graphics more crisply, but it's entirely up to you.

No matter the size of the laptop screen you choose, just be sure to opt for something with a high pixel count. The higher the pixel count, the better the resolution, which ultimately means that you’ll never have to worry about fuzzy lines or lack of clarity.

Battery Reliability

Although this isn’t the main concern of most artists, choosing a laptop with a reliable battery and long runtime is always a plus. This is especially true if you live an on-the-go lifestyle and know that you won’t always have access to an outlet. A laptop for digital art with 10+ hours of battery life can get you through an entire day of magical art-making.

Portability

Once again, this next consideration isn't on the top of everyone's list, but portability is still something to think about. A lightweight laptop or tablet that weighs less than 3 pounds is much more comfortable to carry around than a 5 or 6-pound device.

Even if you have no intention of lugging your device around, it’s still extremely convenient to choose one that won’t break your back.

Pen Stylus

Every artist needs a laptop that is compatible with drawing with a pen stylus. The quality of the pen stylus definitely matters since it controls the overall reactions with the laptop, but you also need to choose one that fits well in your hand. On top of that, the best laptop for drawing will come with a handy spot to store the stylus when it’s not in use.

Laptop Specs & Features

As you already know, laptops for artists require a certain set of specifications to run smoothly while creating digital art in terms of storage, speed, and graphics. Here’s what they are:

  • Processor
    It’s recommended that you choose a processor that is i3 or higher (i5 or i7 is recommended). Look for something with dual-core processing, ideally with 2Ghz dual-core.
  • Memory/RAM
    RAM is best described as the laptop’s short-term memory. It is responsible for storing working data and plays a major role in how fast the laptop operates. A laptop with 8GB RAM is suitable, but 16 is even better.
  • Storage Drive
    While RAM is responsible for storing present information, the laptop’s storage drive stores data for the long-term. Some artist software programs require a lot of data, so you’ll want to find something with a high-capacity SSD (solid state drive).
  • Graphics Card
    If you want your laptop to display stunning pictures with sharp details and amazing clarity, pay attention to its integrated graphics card (Nvidia is the most popular). Some software programs require a certain graphics card, so be sure to look into this if you have the software you plan on using.

Extra Features

The main laptop extras to pay attention to are the ports, especially for artists who regularly connect a camera or other device to the laptop for easy downloading.

Look for a variety of USB ports, HDMI options, and Thunderbolt 3. Another cool added feature (more like a protection feature) is a vented cooling system to prevent the laptop from overheating.

Price & Warranty

Everything mentioned so far must be considered, but for some, the determining factor is budget. For those of you who are looking for a cheap laptop for artists, you’re probably not on board with the newest version of the Macbook Pro. That’s OK, though - there are plenty of budget-friendly options (some of which we’ve included in the list of reviews below).

The majority of laptop manufacturers (including Acer, Asus, Apple, Microsoft, Lenovo, and more) offer a 1-year protection plan. In most cases, you have the option to extend this protection plan for another year or 2 for an added cost.


6 Best Laptops For Artists & Drawing Reviewed

1. Microsoft Surface Laptop 2

On Sale Today
Microsoft  Surface Laptop 2 (Intel Core i5,...
  • Clean, elegant design — thin and light,...
  • Choose from rich tone on tone color...
  • Improved speed and performance to do what you...
  • All day battery life, with up to 14.5 hours...

Our Top Pick!

Resolution

2256 x 1504

Screen Size

13.5”

Storage

128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB

Pen Type

Microsoft Surface Pen

Battery Life

14.5 hrs

Warranty

1 year

The Microsoft Surface 2 has been dubbed the perfect device by artists everywhere for so many reasons. The most obvious reason for this is the clean, elegant design of this laptop; it’s thin and lightweight while also sleek and stylish. It’s one of the best laptops for art majors since it easily slides into any backpack.

Another reason that the Surface 2 is the best laptop for digital art is the fast processing speed. It is built with either an Intel i5 or i7 CPU, comes with the option of 8 or 16GB RAM, and has several SSD storage options (128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB).

It comes in several colors, including platinum, burgundy, black, and cobalt, so you can truly tap into your creative side with this laptop for drawing.

Surface 2 users love the improved speed and smoother performance of this device. It comes with the latest 8th generation CPU and has a battery life that goes way beyond impressive. On a full charge, you’re looking at nearly 15 hours of photo editing, drawing, interior design, and more. The 13.5” screen is a bit small for some, but most artists love the compact design.

Microsoft says that you’ll be able to “let your ideas flow through your fingertips on the vibrant 13.5” touchscreen that supports fast, easy navigation for work, creative inspiration, or sharing photos with friends.” 

The interactive touchscreen makes it easy to go from working on your artwork to scrolling through Netflix.

Now for the downsides. There aren’t many, but the main complaint about the Surface Laptop 2 is the lofty price tag. It may be the best laptop for drawing and animation, but it’s certainly not the best cheap laptop for artists.

The other con is the lack of ports; there's not much in terms of USB and HDMI, which isn't all that surprising considering the sleek, thin design of this laptop.

Also Recommended: 6 Best Laptops for Digital Art

Good
  • Sleek and thin
  • Multiple storage and RAM options
  • Surface Arc mouse included
  • Integrated Omnisonic speakers
  • Insanely long battery life
Bad
  • Expensive
  • Could use more ports

2. Acer Spin 3

Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop, 14 inches...
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i7 8565U Processor...
  • 14 inches Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen...
  • 16GB DDR4 Memory & 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Rechargeable Active Stylus; Thin 0.38 inches...

Best 2-in-1 Laptop for Drawing

Resolution

1920 x 1080

Screen Size

14”

Storage

512GB

Pen Type

Rechargeable Stylus

Battery Life

12 hrs

Warranty

1 year

If you’re browsing around the best 2 in 1 laptops for artists but don’t know where to begin, the Acer Spin 3 is a great starting point. This is the best two in one laptop for drawing for too many reasons to count, but the main one is that it features a convertible Acer design that gives this device more versatility than any traditional laptop.

The 14” full HD screen is completely convertible, which means you can go from typing on a laptop to drawing on a stand-up tablet in a matter of seconds. The touchscreen includes a stylus pen for easy drawing, and the pixel count is 1920 x 1080. It runs on the Windows 10 OS, and some users even call it the best Windows laptop for drawing.

This Acer comes with 16GB RAM and 512GB internal memory storage. The laptop itself is less than 0.80 inches and weighs about 3.75 pounds, making it perfect for on-the-go artists and students. On a full charge, you’ll get about 12 hours of battery life, so you can count on your laptop to last for the full day of designing or classes.

Here’s what Acer has to say about its best laptop for drawing: “Talk about versatility! The ultra-slim and light Spin 3 convertible laptop functions like a traditional laptop but with the hands-on, tactile user experience of a tablet.

Just rotate the revolutionary 360° Hinge and watch it convert right in front of your eyes from a laptop to display, tent, or tablet mode. It even comes with a rechargeable stylus that docks right into the PC, now that’s epic functionality!”

All of this and more is true of the Spin 3, and this is the perfect tool to fully unleash your creativity. Users love that the stylish comes with quick-charging features; just dock it for 15 seconds to get a 90-minute charge. Some users don’t love that the plastic build doesn’t feel as durable as it should, but all in all, this is a great choice if you’re looking for the 2-in-1 laptop versatility.

Good
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Fast-charging stylus
  • Multi-touch convertible display
  • Great for class
  • Plenty of ports
Bad
  • Lacks durable build

3. Lenovo Flex 14

Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop, 14...
  • With a 1920 x 1080 full HD touch screen...
  • Comprehensive, built-in, ongoing protection...
  • Convenient true block privacy shutter allows...
  • With the included active pen, you can draw or...

Best Cheap Laptop for Drawing

Resolution

1920 x 1080

Screen Size

14”

Storage

256GB

Pen Type

Active Pen

Battery Life

Up to 8 hrs

Warranty

1 year

The top pick for the best budget laptop for artists is the Lenovo Flex 14, a convertible device that can be used as a laptop or tablet. In terms of affordability and sticking to a budget, this is hands-down the best laptop-tablet for drawing on the market. The 14" touchscreen display is easy to use while on the go, and the included stylus pen is a fantastic tool for any artist.

Because of its low price tag, this is one of the best laptops for art majors and students who are trying to avoid breaking the bank. Even though it’s affordable, you still get fast Ryzen 5 processing, 12GB RAM, 256GB internal storage, and high-quality visual and audio clarity.

The included pen allows you to take notes and doodle on the screen, and it perfectly mimics the true feeling of writing with pen and paper.

Lenovo says that the “Lenovo Active Pen features pinpoint accuracy and palm-rejection technology, providing the natural feel of a pen-on-paper writing experience. Use it with Windows Ink, found on the Flex 14 taskbar, to turn thoughts into action. Draw on a map and get turn-by-turn instructions, employ some smart editing, get creative with extra detail, and more.”

The pen is great, but it could use some improvement in the way it's stored. We love that the Flex 14 comes with ongoing protection for Windows 10 to prevent viruses, malware, and ransomware.

There’s also a privacy shutter for the webcam and a full array of ports, including HDML, two USB, and one USB-C. The battery lifespan isn’t stellar, so don’t expect to get more than 6-8 hours on a full charge (even though the company claims 10 hours of battery life).

Good
  • Great value
  • Built-in Windows 10 protection
  • Fast Ryzen processing
  • Great for video watching
  • Fast-charging technology
Bad
  • Battery life could be better
  • Awkward pen storage

4. Samsung Chromebook Pro

On Sale Today
Samsung Chromebook Pro Convertible Touch...
  • Display: 12.3" 2400x1600, 3:2,400nit
  • Intel Core M3 Processor 6Y30 ; 2.2Ghz Speed
  • 4GB LPDDR3 Memory (on BD 4GB); Battery Life:...
  • Hard Drive: 32GB eMMC.Weight:2.381pounds. OS:...

Best Touch Laptop for Drawing

Resolution

2400 x 1600

Screen Size

12.3”

Storage

32GB

Pen Type

Built-In Pen

Battery Life

9 hrs

Warranty

1 year

The Samsung Chromebook Pro is very similar to the Lenovo Flex 14 with a few minor differences. The main similarity is the convertible touchscreen design that transforms a fully functional laptop into a drawing pad and pen for laptop instantly. Easily switching between a laptop and a tablet is a major perk for any digital artist, and this one allows you to do that.

The screen is just 12.3" inches, which is a bit small for some, but others love this Samsung's compactness. The 360° flip-and-fold design offers four-way versatility, including a laptop, tablet, tent, and stand. The device automatically switches between applications and matches the screen position with the operational mode.

The Chromebook 4 comes with 4GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. This is the norm for Chromebooks; they’re not known for having lots of storage space, they’re basically just meant to operate online applications. This might be a deal-breaker for you, especially if you’re looking for a laptop to download art software and applications.

Although there are some minor negativities to choosing a Chromebook, there are also some amazing benefits. This one is extremely lightweight (just 2.38 lbs), making it one of the most portable options for on-the-go artists.

It's got great battery life (up to 9 hours at full capacity), and the resolution is better than most Chromebook laptops. On top of that, it offers terrific value for the money.  Just remember that it runs on the Chrome OS - not on Windows.

Good
  • Amazing display quality
  • Spill-resistant
  • Great for Chrome users
  • Amazing value for the price
  • QHD touchscreen
Bad
  • Not much internal storage
  • Small screen

5. HP - Spectre x360 2-in-1

HP - Spectre x360 2-in-1 15.6" 4K Ultra HD...
  • NEWEST 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8565U +...
  • 16 GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM (2 x 8 GB), 512 GB PCIe...
  • 15.6" diagonal 4K IPS eDP micro-edge...
  • Intel 802.11b/g/n/ac (2x2) Wi-Fi and...

Best High-End Laptop for Designers

Resolution

3840 x 2160

Screen Size

15.6”

Storage

512GB

Pen Type

Stylus Pen

Battery Life

Up to 12 hrs

Warranty

1 year

So far, we've covered some amazing affordable options as well as a few midrange ones, but if you're looking for a high-end drawing laptop, nothing compares to the HP Spectre x360. This HP laptop for drawing runs on the Windows 10 OS, it’s built with an 8th generation i7 Intel Core processor, and it’s got 16GB of RAM memory.

Here’s what HP says about their #1-selling laptop for digital artists: “Embrace your creativity with this 15.6-inch HP Spectre x360 convertible laptop. Featuring a 15.6-inch 4K touch display and an HP digital pen, this laptop lets you write, make notes and express yourself with precise touch controls. This HP Spectre x360 convertible laptop provides a fast, responsive user experience with an Intel Core i7 processor.”

The graphics on this device operate with the Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics card, which has been rated as one of the best for high-quality, crisp visuals. The flip-and-fold design operates the same as other 2-in-1 laptops, so you can use the device like a laptop or tablet - whichever one works best with your art-creating needs.

You might be wondering what makes this device more “high-end” than the other laptops for artists on this list. The main reason we’ve dubbed this the high-end choice is the overall functionality of the HP Spectre.

Artists tend to gravitate towards the 2-in-1 design for more versatility, but this laptop is so much more than just a 2-in-1 device. It’s got plenty of storage, fast processing, and amazing graphics with a resolution of 3840 x 2160. Sure, it’s expensive, but it’s worth every penny.

Good
  • Great resolution
  • Versatile functionality
  • Flip-and-fold
  • 8th gen processing
Bad
  • Expensive
  • Bulky design

6. Asus C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip

On Sale Today
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 2-In-1 Laptop-...
  • The flexible 360 Degree hinge and 12.5 inches...
  • Intel Core Processor with 64GB storage and...
  • Extremely lightweight at 2.65 pounds with the...
  • Starts up in seconds and lasts all day,...

Best Convertible Laptop for Artists

Resolution

1920 x 1080

Screen Size

12.5”

Storage

64GB

Pen Type

None (Sold Separately)

Battery Life

Up to 10 hrs

Warranty

1 year

We’re not shy about expressing our love for convertible laptops for artists, so we’ve got one more to add to the list. The Asus Chromebook Flip serves as not only a laptop but also a tented drawing pad for laptop thanks to its convertible hinge. Add this to the list of best laptop-tablets for artists, especially those who are looking for an affordable Chromebook.

The Asus is constructed with a durable metal body, yet it still weighs less than 3 pounds.

Users love the built-in security features, and Asus says that “with its automatic updates and built-in anti-virus protection, Chrome OS frees you keeping your Chromebook Flip C302 safe, secure, and always up to date.” 

This means that your laptop will always remain up-to-date.

It's an undeniable fact that Chromebooks aren't for everyone, especially if your artwork requires more than 64GB of internal storage. But if you're happy with 64GB storage and 4GB RAM, you'll love how fast and efficient this little laptop is. A lot of users compliment the keyboard performance and love that it types smoothly with a backlit feature.

Unfortunately, it does not come with a stylus pen, so you’ll need to purchase this separately. The good news is that it's compatible with touchscreen applications, and there are several pens on the market that work well with this device. Just don't be surprised when your laptop arrives in the mail, and there is no pen in sight.

The one downside is that there are no USB Type-A ports, but that doesn’t mean you have to go without ports altogether. There are two Type-C ports, but some users don’t like the lack of Type-A. On top of that, some users describe the keyboard as having a “spongy” feel, but others love the soft-touch keys.

Good
  • Lightweight design
  • 360-degree convertibility
  • Impressive connectivity
  • Comfortable typing
  • High-quality audio
Bad
  • Pen not included
  • Lack of ports

Applications & Software For Drawing

Whether you’re looking for digital art apps for your laptop or you prefer a software out there, there are plenty of tools available for all the creative minds of the world. Photoshop is obviously a popular one, and not just because it works well with Windows, Mac, and iOS. It’s an easy-to-use photo editing tool that no artist should go without.

Rebelle is another popular tool, but this one is more suited to painting professionals. It offers a true-to-life painting experience that feels as if you’re painting with a real brush and canvas. The other perk is that it’s an affordable software, so it will pair perfectly with the best laptop for art without breaking the bank.

Here are a few more of our favorite digital art software options available right now:

  • Affinity Designer
  • Artweaver 7
  • Procreate
  • Krita
  • ArtRage 6

Caring For Your Laptop

Just as you would care for any of your art supplies, the same needs to be done for the best laptops for artists and designers. Be sure to stay on top of software updates to keep the device running as quickly and smoothly as possible. It’s always a good idea to invest in malware software to prevent viruses and keep your info protected.

In terms of physical cleaning, do your best to disinfect the device once or twice per week, especially if you’ve purchased the best touch laptop for drawing. Germs and unpleasantries tend to linger on the keys and touchscreen, so clean it by lightly spraying a microfiber cloth with a mild disinfectant.

When cleaning your laptop (as well as the drawing pen for the laptop), the NY Times says that “like any tool we use every day, our laptops accumulate dust, grime, oils from our skin and who knows what else. Yours is probably due for a cleaning…" 

Helpful hint: a cotton swab is an excellent tool for disinfecting the keyboard and cleaning out the ports/vents.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

Desktops vs. laptops – which is best for drawing?

The answer to this really depends on your lifestyle, but these days the common consensus is that a laptop is much more versatile and convenient than a desktop. This applies to all professions, not just drawing, but it’s especially true for artists who are looking for a portable tool for creating art.

Do 2-in-1 laptops offer better solutions for drawing?

Similar to the last question, this depends on lifestyle and personal preferences. A 2-in-1 laptop for drawing is exceptionally versatile since it can be used as both a tablet and laptop, but not everyone loves this concept.

You’ll definitely need to find a touch screen laptop for drawing, but it’s completely up to you on whether a 2-in-1 laptop-tablet combo is right for you.

How much RAM is required for digital art?

For general graphics work, you can easily get by with a laptop that comes with 8GB RAM. The better (yet more expensive) option is to choose one with 16 or even 32GB RAM, but this isn’t entirely necessary. Some artists say that they can get by with 4GB, but our recommendation is nothing less than 8GB.

What features make for good laptops for art students?

Display quality is a biggie, but it’s not the only requirement if you’re looking for good laptops for art students. The best laptop for art students will be fast, offer smoother performance, and have plenty of storage space for digital art software required by classes.

On top of that, students can benefit more than anyone from a lightweight laptop with a long battery life.

Are gaming laptops good for drawing?

The answer to this is yes, but only some. Gaming laptops typically come with high-quality graphics cards for amazing display clarity, which is a great attribute for digital art laptops.

However, there’s more to good laptops for art than just the integrated graphics card, so be sure to take into consideration everything mentioned in the buyer’s guide above.

What are the major differences between cheap and expensive brands on our list?

Typically, pricier laptops come with higher storage and RAM, faster processing, and sometimes a sleeker design. For example, when you compare two great options on the list of reviews, the HP Spectre and the Lenovo Flex, the Lenovo comes with a much lower price tag.

Although the Lenovo Flex is a perfectly good choice, it comes with a slower processor, less RAM, and it operates more like a tablet than a laptop.

Where is the best place to buy these laptops for artists?

Where better to buy anything these days than on Amazon? In many cases, laptops sold on Amazon come directly from the manufacturer. On top of that, Amazon is a great source for reading reviews and gauging out the different star ratings of each of the good laptops for drawing you might be considering.


Conclusion

Whether you’re looking for the best laptop-tablet for artists or you’re on the hunt for the best laptop for a fine art student, no device compares to the Microsoft Surface 2. It’s clean, elegant, and lightweight with amazing graphics and impressive battery life. What could be better for that?

Unfortunately, the Surface 2 doesn’t fall within every artist’s budget, so it’s not a viable option for everyone. If you’re looking for the best cheap laptop for drawing, you’re better off with the Lenovo Flex 14. It still comes with all the minimum specs for a drawing laptop, but it’s more than half the cost.