What computer and accessories should I get for drawing?

Episode 1203 (27:56)

Pat from El Segundo, CA
Microsoft Surface

Pat is a watercolor artist, and is wondering what computer, printer, and DVD player she should get. Leo suggests getting something that would allow her to draw into the computer, though. For that, Leo would recommend the Microsoft Surface tablet, even though Pat has always had a Mac. He recommends that because of the stylus and the touch screen of it. To do a similar thing with a Mac, Pat would need to spend more to get a Wacom Cintiq, which is very expensive. Apple is rumored to put out an iPad Pro later this Fall, which would be similar to the Surface and would likely have a pressure sensitive display with a stylus. We won't know for sure about it until it's actually announced, though.

Microsoft makes two versions of the Surface -- the Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3. The Surface 3 starts at $499. The Surface Pro 3 is more in line with how a Mac would cost, at around $1299. Leo suggests going to a Microsoft store to play with it and see how she likes it. Aside from the drawing aspects, any computer will handle her other tasks just fine.

If she wants to stick with Apple and get a Mac, the 15" MacBook Pro is a great laptop. It has a Retina display, it's very powerful, and would last her a long time. She should get at least 8 GB of RAM, and if she's doing Photoshop she should get 16 GB. An SSD will make a huge speed difference as well, and in fact having a fast SSD is more important than a fast processor. She won't get as much storage space with SSD, but Leo says 128 GB or 256 GB should be plenty. There is a 512 GB, but it does get progressively more expensive. The i5 middle processor should be fine for her as well.

For a printer, Leo recommends looking at a Wi-Fi enabled printer from Epson or Canon. A lot of the companies have moved to all-in-ones, that combine scanner, fax, and printer. In fact, Pat may want to have a scanner so she can scan drawings she makes.

Pat also wants to know about a DVD player. Leo says that if Pat is getting an Apple computer, she only really has one choice, which is the Super Drive. It's an external DVD drive that connects via USB for $79.

Pat wants to know where she should save her data, should she save it to a thumb drive? Leo says she should save it in both places to ensure she has a backup. Leo takes a lot of pictures, so he only keeps this year's pictures on his laptop internal drive. When the year ends, he moves those pictures to his backup and makes several backups of it. The laptop only has his current pictures, though. Leo recommends Pat does that with her artwork as well. But she should have at least two copies or she doesn't have a backup, and it's even better if she can store a copy of her files off site. She could use one of the many cloud services available.

(Disclaimer: Epson is a sponsor)