Digital Artists: Cintiq or iPad Pro?


Hey fellow art-makers! I’m having a sad day: the USB connection on my Intuos Pro drawing tablet just broke, meaning my tablet is currently a big, flat brick. I could potentially fix it with a Wireless kit, but since I’ve got a little bit extra saved up, I’m considering finally upgrading to a display-tablet option.

I know the Cintiq has been the gold standard for some time now, and I’ve always wanted to go that direction. I do a lot of digital illustration and design in Photoshop and Illustrator, and I’ve invested a lot in these apps (both in terms of experience/knowledge, and custom brushes/tool presets).

In the past, I’ve dabbled with illustration on the iPad, but it never really compared until the release of the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil. My experience with the Apple Pencil actually feels much better than anything I’ve done on an Intuos tablet. Thing is, I’d still want to use the iPad as an actual tablet, connected to my Mac. I’ve heard good things about how the Apple Pencil works with Astropad, but does it compare to using a Cintiq?

Both options are roughly the same price-wise, so I’m just trying to decide what might fit my needs best for the ability to do professional-quality digital illustration, both on the go and and my desktop. What are your experiences with either option?


My limited understanding of the iPad Pro is that it’s just sorta alright so I would say the Cintiq but others may have more hands on experience


Cintiq all the way. iPad Pro’s pencil is great, but the software isn’t there yet. I found the Astropad screen extension cumbersome and frustrating but I also didn’t spend time to set up a proper workflow.
Cintiq pens can be modded and fixed with different tips whereas you are stuck with just the pencil on an iPad.


I’m more of a designer than artist, but I went with the iPad Pro and Pencil since it cost less (depending on model and config) and I get to use it for more things, like games and videos.

I will say that the “pro” version of Astropad is a monthly subscription that equals about $65 a year. So if that weighs into your opinion its good to keep in mind. They still sell and support the more basic $30 standard version with less features, but it could sway you towards the Cintiq.


My girlfriend just switched from using a Wacom Intuos to a Surface Book, not sure what your needs are but have you considered a Surface Pro?


I’ve considered, as they do look pretty snazzy. But at this point, I’m also pretty heavily invested in a Mac ecosystem (purchased software, familiarity, and cross-compatibility between devices) that I don’t really relish switching. I’ve already got a 27" Retina iMac doing all the heavy lifting for my art-making, so between a Cintiq or an iPad Pro + Astropad, I’d be looking for something to supplement, rather than take over my primary machine’s drawing duties.


It may also be worth looking into some Cintiq alternatives. Last I checked, there’s a really exciting selection of much cheaper, comparable tablet screens out there.