How to Draw Digital Art With a Tablet

No matter how used to the pen and paper you are in this day and age a transition to drawing digital art with a tablet is likely necessary. The additional ability to store a variety of work and move it around easily is just too big to ignore. With that in mind, it’s never a bad idea to start getting used to using a tablet to draw digital art. 

There’s no reason to limit your scope when you have a massive array of tools at hand. There’s a big difference between using a drawing tablet and using one with your personalized settings, however. This is your guide to smoothing out your learning curve for a great experience from day one.

Step 1: Synchronize your Screens

The first thing you will want to do once you connect your display to your drawing tablet is to check the ratio of the screen. Watching how much your pen makes the display move will have the most bewildering feeling at first. A small tablet with a large monitor can cause a huge movement while a large tablet on a small display could require large movements. The main thing you want to consider here is whether you draw from your wrist or from your elbow. 

Artists who work from the wrist can use a smaller tablet with shorter strokes. Pushing your monitor back a bit can give you a good perspective on your drawing. Artists who draw from their elbow will need to invest a bit more for a larger drawing tablet. If you draw like this try to match up the tablet size with your display pushing it back to see better.

Step 2: Sit Even with your Screen

Most artists will feel a disconnect when they aren’t properly lined up as a bad angle can exaggerate discomfort. This disconnect is called “angle mismatch” and can contribute to fatigue as you work.

You want to make a straight-line connection between your display, your drawing tablet, and your seating angle. This means even if your display needs to be placed at an angle it’s important to match it in a straight line. It might not be an issue for a few minutes of work, but after long hours it can affect your productivity. It’s best not to keep any bad habits when you’re practicing art.

How to Draw Digital Art With a Tablet

Step 3: Friction is Key

One of the worst parts of switching from traditional methods to a tablet has classically been the feel of the tablet surface. The glossy texture contributes to a slippery surface that is adverse to most types of art.

Pressure-sensitive pens with multiple levels of sensitivity can make up for this issue a ton. You can also find many new options available with a matte surface for drawing. These give you a rougher feel for the more classic paper-like texture.

Another solution is to purchase a protective overlay sheet that increases friction. Replacing the nibs on your stylus is also a possible solution for friction issues. Less friction can also be a good thing once you get used to it. Though your drawings might be wild at first, less friction can allow you to work longer without getting tired as well.

Final Step: Adjusting your Pen Pressure Sensitivity

Adjusting your Pen Pressure SensitivityThe most important step to getting the most out of your pen and drawing tablet will be adjusting your pen pressure sensitivity.

There are multiple ways to go about doing this that each can accomplish different results. The first method is to use the drivers that come along with the tablet. Navigating through your driver software should allow you to adjust the pen’s firmness. Adjusting the pen pressure through your graphics software is another option. This is a great way to experiment with different settings to find what you like.

You can also customize the settings to your pens buttons so you can switch drawing styles at will. Other options are to use the buttons for simple functions like undo, brush size, and eraser.

With a bit of work and a few hours getting used to it drawing on a tablet is just as easy as drawing anywhere else.


Can You Animate with a drawing tablet?

Yes, you can animate with almost any drawing tablet. Most drawing tablets rely on a display for showing your drawing. As long as you can run the software on your display it should work in conjunction with your drawing tablet.

Why is digital drawing so hard?

Digital drawing isn’t particularly harder than traditional drawing, it’s just defined by different parameters. Instead of worrying about smudging you have to scale images and overlay textures. The added abilities give you more to learn but once mastered allow for amazing works at a much quicker pace. Equipment is also a large factor as the right drawing tablet can make working a breeze.