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For the money, I'd second the Wacom Bamboo drawing tablets. I've use one, and they are pretty neat. They make a few different versions. If you are buying for someone who is pretty serious about art, I would gravitate towards the bigger versions, like the Create. They may not be the pinnacle of drawing tablets, but they are a solid value and get pretty positive reviews.
This Mac/Life article from last February offers several suggestions for drawing tablets, including:
Wacom Bamboo (starting at $79)
Intuos tablets (from $229 to $789, depending on size)
The others were priced above $1,000, which you can't spend. But it looks like you have options below that. One question you'll need to answer is what size tablet to buy. Obviously larger means more money, but you don't want it to be too small.