Do You Need a Drawing Tablet?

So you’re wondering if you need a drawing tablet. If you’re anything like me the answer is a resounding yes!

But we don’t wanna just jump into the deep end without knowing what we’re getting,  so lets go over the basics.

What is a Drawing Tablet?

Wacom Intuos Pro

Drawing tablets, also known as graphic tablets or pen tablets, are input devices for computers which enable you to draw images directly to your computer.  There are also tablet PC’s which are computers that allow you to draw directly onto their screen, closely mimicking the actual experience of drawing with pen and paper.  However, these come at a much steeper price, but if you’re feeling flush with cash they can be well worth the money.

Do I Need a Drawing Tablet?

For anyone looking to be a professional artist you are definitely going to need a drawing tablet. The fact that you can draw, paint, and even write with one opens up infinite possibilities for the creative type.

In fact, many of todays great illustrators and animators have opted to do all of their work entirely on drawing tablets. Kali Ciesemier, a truly talented illustrator, is a great example of someone who works entirely in a digital format. She uses both drawing tablets as well as tablet PC’s.

Even animated shows such as Adventure Time and movies like The Croods use them as part of their animation process.

Character animator James Baxter working on Ugga from Dreamworks The Croods

Character animator James Baxter working on Ugga from Dreamworks The Croods on a Tablet PC.

Drawing tablets also have the potential to greatly improve your workflow as  they allow you to get the most out of programs such as Adobe Photoshop ( Mac Version ) and Manga Studio EX 5. As any professional artist knows, the ability to work quickly and efficiently translates into more jobs and more money.

If you plan on going into illustration or animation the question isn’t so much, “do I need a drawing tablet,” but more, which one do I need. For those individuals jump on over to the TOP 10 DRAWING TABLETS or if you’ve wanting to drop the big bucks for something truly spectacular check out the TOP 5 TABLET PCS.  Or keep scrolling and we’ll soon discuss discuss the many different aspects and features of drawing tablets.

I’m Not a Professional. 

That’s ok. All of this isn’t to say that amateur artists or even non-artists shouldn’t also consider purchasing a drawing tablet.  For amateur artist a drawing tablet is a great tool to learn and hone their skills with. It allows you to experiment and make mistakes with out having to use up materials such lead, paper, or erasers. There are plenty of cheaper options for someone who doesn’t need the top of the line tablets. As for businesses, it can be a quick and efficient way to fill out electronic forms and sign contracts.

What Size Should I get?

This is a question I imagine everyone who has ever bought a drawing tablet has asked themselves.  A question that is made all the more difficult by the fact that they come in such a wide range of sizes, from the hobbit like 3in x 5in VT Mini Graphic Tablet to the monstrous 30.3in x 18.2in Wacom Cintiq 24HD Graphic Monitor.

For anyone planning to use one for art I would suggest getting at least a mid-sized tablet. The larger size allows for more natural drawing and painting without the worry of hitting the edges. Something I assure you can be frustrating. This is especially true for anyone who is use to painting with long flowing brush strokes.

If you are planning on using one for business purposes look no further than the small-sized tablets. You would simply be wasting your money to get anything larger.

The many different sizes of a Wacom Tablet

The many different sizes of a Wacom Tablet

One important thing to keep in mind when purchasing a drawing tablet is that that there is essentially two different dimension to them.  There is the dimensions that refer to the actual drawing space (this is often the dimensions you are given) and then there are the actual dimensions of the tablet itself. Recently, the difference between the two has gotten smaller, but if you have limited desk space it is an important aspect to take note of.

Pressure Levels

Pressure levels are one of the most important aspects of a drawing tablet. The pressure levels,,  are usually either 256, 512, 1024, or 2048. The higher the number, the higher the range of pressure sensitivity.  This is important because pressure sensitivity controls line thickness, color, transparency, and even blending.  For artists I would suggest getting at least 1024. It is also important to take note of whether or not the pen that comes with the tablet can sense tilt and rotation. Both of which can be very helpful.

Example of Pressure Sensitivity

Example of Pressure Sensitivity


The Stylus

When you purchase a drawing tablet it will, most likely, come with its own stylus.  For some manufacturers thats it. Thats the only option you have for pens or nibs —  just so you’re in the know, the nib is that pointy piece at the end of the stylus that ink would come out of on a traditional pen.

However, if you have decided to get a Wacom you will be greeted with a wide range of options for both pens and nibs. They even have the Intuos Creative Stylus for use on an iPad.

Most of these pens will also come with a pressure-sensitive eraser. With it you can erase any mistakes that you make in the digital space.  It is the same as if you had made a mistake on paper, except you won’t have to deal with all of the eraser shavings. Yes, life is good when using a drawing tablet.

I Want One!

If you’re still interested in purchasing a drawing tablet head on over to our other pages. TOP 10 DRAWING TABLETS and TOP 5 TABLET PCS.

Learning to Use a Drawing Tablet

For anyone who is new to tablets, digital drawing or painting it can be a daunting task to learn how to use them properly. So here are a few places which may help you learn how to use a drawing tablet.

Just so you know, is the only one with a high volume of free content.  You’ve been warned!



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