A Basic Guide to Drawing tablets

A Basic Guide to Drawing Tablets

If you want to find out about how to buy the best drawing and graphic tablets, you are in the right place.

Our aim is to provide our readers with advice about how to find the best drawing tablets, and do so for the best price.

On this page, we are going to focus on explaining the different types of tablet. We also explain some of the things you need to consider before buying one. It is part checklist, part article.
Elsewhere on the site, we provide in depth reviews of various models. We have also written reviews that are targeted at specific users, for example drawing tablets for artist’s.

What is a drawing tablet?

Before we go any further, we want to be clear about the type of devices we are talking about here. When we say drawing tablet we mean any digital tablet that can be used with a pen or other drawing device.
In other words, a device that allows you to write or draw on the tablet and see that replicated on a computer screen or store what you have drawn or written as a digital file that can be accessed using software. We like to describe it as electronic paper.
OK here is our overview of the different types of digitizers.

The two main types of digitizing tablets

Pen sensitive tablets
The oldest drawing and digital writing tablets were all designed to be used with a pen. Normally, the pen is provided as part of the package. Usually it comes in the form of a stylus with a rounded point.
These tablets can be connected to a screen and PC. The user can see what they write on the tablet replicated on the screen in live time. This kind of tablet was primarily designed for CAD work. The early ones were great for producing accurate lines, but had very little capacity for adding texture.
Over time, this capacity began to be built into the graphics software these tables ran. At that point, artists began to use them too.
Today, they are still popular. However, to some extent, touch screen tablets with the ability to digitize what is written on them have superseded them.
Touch sensitive tablets
The emergence of touch screens now gives users the chance to use their fingers rather than a special stylus to draw and write. Naturally, most professionals still need the precision of a stylus.
Most touch tablets allow you to draw or write both manually and with a stylus. They are very popular with Adobe Photoshop Elements 13 users who need to edit photos and graphics. However, they work well for a range of other applications, so many artists and technicians use them too. You see quite a few of them on construction sites being used to discuss and visual options.
Other types
For precision work there are tablets called pucks available. These very high end products are described as a bit like a computer mouse with an electronic mouse mat.
The puck (mouse) is placed on the digitizer (tablet) and an indicator appears on the screen. The user uses the puck to move the indicator around the screen and various buttons and commands to make the drawing.
What you need to consider when buying a tablet
Now, you understand the different types we can explain some of the things you need to consider before buying one. Drawing tablet

Input device – you need to choose a tablet that allows you to use an input device that is comfortable for you. Many tablet pens have a cable meaning it is permanently connected to the tablet. This is practical in an office environment, but may not be good for when you want to use it on the go.

Portability – that brings us to another factor, portability. If your work is only done at a desk this is not an issue. On the other hand, if you need to work on the go a portable device is going to be important.

Hardware compatibility – you need to check that the graphic digitizer you choose is suitable for use with your PC, screen or laptop.

Software compatibility – you also need to consider what software you can use with any tablet you buy. If you like to use a particular photo or graphics editor, you need a tablet that will still let you to use that software. The last thing you need is a steep learning curve.

Size – the size of the tablet is an important consideration.

Precision – precision is also an important consideration. If you are retouching a photo or cutting a video, you need precision. There is no point in buying a graphical digitizer that does not have the right level of precision or sensitivity just to save a few dollars or pounds.

Capabilities – if you need features like handwriting recognition you need to make sure that your tablet has the capacity for this function.

In Conclusion
The above is just a brief overview and is designed to make the main points. If you want to find out more we have several in depth articles on the site and are in the process of being written.



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