Recommend an art pad
Here's a list from New Egg where I'm likely to buy from.
I haven't used one before but am looking for one to make mapping a bit easier - the mouse drawing routine is grating.
BTW - I run the 64 bit version of Windows 7 - there's at least one tablet in that list I will be skipping over because I don't want to deal with 32 bit drivers.
Looks like all those are Addesso tablets. I think everyone around here is in love with the Wacom brand but there might be a few here who can help you on this. I know there is a HUGE sticky thread at the top of this forum that is all about tablets....it's outrageously long.
These are all pretty inexpensive but I've no experience with any of them. I'll just say that you don't need anything all that big; it just gets in the way and takes up space and requires large arm movements that can take time getting used to and is very annoying. If you're a painter then big is good but if you're more of an illustrator then smaller is better. Read through the tablets discussion thread but I'd just buy one and see how it goes. It takes some time to get used to using one so don't get discouraged right away. When I got my first one in the 90s I hated it and gave up then I got another one a few years later and hated it and gave up. Then I got another one about 10 years ago, the biggest baddest one I could find - a 9 x 7 Wacom Intuos (they don't even make 'em anymore and are now on Intuous 4), and hated it and gave up but didn't throw it away (cuz it was expensive). So I did all of my maps procedurally (Photoshop filters and effects and layer styles) so that I didn't have to use the darn thing. When I saw some of the stuff here I remembered that I still had it somewhere so I dug it out and forced myself to learn how to use it. I incorporated it more and more into my procedural work and come to find out the problem wasn't the tablet but me and I couldn't see myself without one now. So, yes, I'm using a 10 year old tablet but can anyone tell? Moving the pen around the screen is the main issue to get used to and then you have to learn how the pressure sensitivity interacts with the various digital brushes...an issue I've mostly defeated but not quite mastered after a year of off and on use. Other more diligent than I can pick it up within a few days of constant use but I'm never in any kind of hurry. Plus, you can add your two cents to the thread after taking it for a test drive. Give it a week of regular use and if you hate it, take it back and get a better one.
Just to add a bit - when getting used to a tablet, use it for *everything* while you get used to it, not just drawing. Play solitaire, get some drawing games (there's a number of flash games and others that are designed to work with tablet pcs and graphics tablets), use it as a mouse replacement. The more you get used to it as an overall tool, the more it will help you get used to it as a graphics tool :)
I'd check the reviews on Amazon; opinions seem to be split on the Adesso tablets. I usually steer people toward the Wacom Bamboo Fun as the best compromise between cost and features.