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Drawing tablets, also known as graphic tablets or graphic pads, are amazing devices that can change (for the better) your drawing experience on a computer.
Learning how to use these devices might not be, though, the smoothest of the experiences.
This is particularly true if you are used to draw with classical tools.
What I consider the most evident difference between graphic pads and classical drawing is the fact that you do not actually leave a mark on the tablet, but your motion on the tablet with the stylus is translated immediately into a drawing on the computer screen.
This means that you have to get used to look at the screen and not the actual surface you are digitally-drawing on. This might take a little while. And the initial learning curve might set off some of you but overall I think you have just to gain from learning how to use these fantastic devices.
I have summarized here what I think are the main advantages offered by graphic tablets over the classical medium (there are negative sides, of course and I'll explain those later):
If you are an artist who is producing a freelance job or if you intend to digital colorize your drawing, you have to save your work in a digital format. This means being able to scan you work, clean it, possibly manipulate your image to prepare it for coloring. Using graphic pads cuts these steps to almost zero. So less time spent preparing your artwork and more time at your disposal to actually create and perfection it.
If you do not know what digital inking is then it might be a good idea to learn a bit about it and see if you can implement it in your workflow.
Digital inking with tablets can be a breeze and allow you great freedom of experimentation. With a bit of practice you can achieve results comparable if not superior to traditional inking (without the staining-your-clothes-and-hands part).
Similarly to digital inking, nowadays with drawing tablets and a free painting software you can create brilliant digital painting in a natural and intuitive way.
This doesn't need much explanation. With a tablet and a nice laptop you can bring your drawing studio with you wherever you go.
Now before leaving you to our tutorials and articles I'd like you to understand that whilst working with graphic tablets can be great, that doesn't mean working with traditional media is surpassed. The opposite is true actually!
Professional who have implemented the utilization of drawing tablets in their workflow know how important is to not fall for the dark side of the digital world. Working digital allows you to virtually be immune from mistakes, you can always "ctrl-z" your way out of trouble however this might tempt you to be cheap.
You might be tempted to apply a standard shading or using a standard brush, in other words, let the machine do your job. This is perfectly understandable though. The freedom offered by these tools can be overwhelming at first and it can be easy to slide into technicalities and plugin instead of focusing on art.
This means that the freedom and the power of experimentation that comes with digital art and utilization of drawing tablets is accompanied by a greater artistic responsibility.
Maybe I went too philosophic here, however the main point is, do not abandon traditional drawing once you discover the beauty of digital drawing and drawing tablets. On the contrary, keep cultivating both to nurture your skills and passion for drawing and remember, you are the mind and all these fancy things are just a tool
A quick and interesting analysis of how drawing tablets work and which are advantages and disadvantages of different models.
Five tips to start making the most of your new drawing tablet without loosing a second!