In simple terms, a PC drawing tablet is a computer input device used by a growing number of computer users, from digital artists, designers and general computer users. The best standalone drawing tablet allows the computer users to have the freedom on their computers to draw and paint, via the drawing tablet, directly onto the screen of a computer without having to depend on the mouse and keyboard which can be frustrating. The mouse is just not designed for the freedom and versatility needed to paint, draw, design and illustrate intuitively on your computer. The computer drawing tablet is made up of two separate sections which include the flat tablet and pen, used to draw and write on the surface of the tablet.
Before I move on I must point out that a PC Drawing Tablet may also be referred to as a drawing tablet, graphics pad, digitizing tablet, graphics tablet, drawing pad or PC tablet, to name but a few variations. They are essentially all the same, but for this article, I will stick to a PC Drawing tablet.
A PC Drawing Tablet will come in a host of different sizes, shapes and colors from the smaller 3″ by 4″ versions to the much larger and more expensive versions reaching 7″ by 9″. As a digital artist, I can not stress enough that the bigger, the better, which will allow you to have the natural freedom the PC Graphics Tablet and pen gives you.
The size of a Drawing Tablet is maybe the main factor to which price bracket the drawing tablet falls into, but as mentioned, try and buy a Drawing Tablet at the largest size possible for your budget to take advantage of its full potential.
What to look for in a PC Drawing Tablet?
The sensitivity of a drawing tablet needs to be such that you obtain a smooth, detailed finish to the work you are planning to do on your system. With this in mind, any PC Drawing Tablet you purchase must have a good range of pressure sensitivity in the drawing surface. The high-pressure sensitivity of at least 1024 levels is an absolute must and allows you to control a number of important points when drawing, writing and painting on the screen.
Line thickness and color, by pressing the stylus less or more heavily, mimicking drawing with an actual pen are all controlled by the sensitivity of the drawing tablet. There is no point wanting to do detailed digital artwork with a tablet which sensitivity is just not up to the job. Pencil and brush strokes that taper off and fade out are only possible with a PC Drawing tablet with high sensitivity.
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PC Drawing tablet pen/stylus
Your drawing tablet will come complete with a pen which will allow you to work on the surface of your drawing tablet. Depending on your choice of a PC Drawing tablet, the pen will either be attached to the base of the drawing tablet and others will be wire-free and need a small battery. You should consider your requirements when you choose but as a digital artist myself, using the graphics tablet is all about simulating using natural materials. With this in mind, I would recommend a standalone pen.
Many of the pens will come with buttons which are built onto the pen. And some of them also have an erasing end. This is a great feature, mainly because of the buttons. Buttons are programmed for specific functions as double-click or right-click, and the erasing tip can perform a delete function in one swipe. Some tablet companies offer additional pens and other tools that you can program independently.
If you are going to be using the same graphics tablet and pen for extended periods of time, the size, feel and weight of the drawing tablet pen needs to be taken into consideration. Like many PC drawing tablets on the market, the pens can come in all shapes and sizes so make sure when choosing your drawing tablet you look at the pen, as well as this, will be in your hand most of the time.
Drawing tablet size
When you choose your PC drawing tablet, the size will be high on the agenda as the size can affect what you can comfortably do with your drawing tablet. In my opinion, as an artist working digitally, there is nothing worse than trying to paint and draw on graphics tablets that is too small. You really do need the space to be able to draw and paint as you would normally, so larger is better.
If you intend to use the drawing tablet like a mouse, then the size can be a lot smaller. Just consider what you want to do with your drawing tablet as this will have a direct result on what size you will need.
The most popular sizes of graphics tablets have been 4×5, 6×8, and 9×12, which matches up neatly to the 4:3 aspect ratio of traditional computer monitors. As technology moves on, there has been an increase of widescreen monitors and companies such as Wacom and Aiptek have produced graphics tablets that work with widescreen monitors.
With size can come cost and it usually means that the bigger your graphics tablet is, the more it will cost, but it is a trade-off between the size and the specification.