Are drawing tablets hard to use? Simple Beginner’s Guide

Before I started my journey as a digital artist, I constantly wondered if Drawing Tablets Were Hard To Use. The idea of buying one was intimidating for me at first, but after doing a little research on the topic & owning a dozen different models this is what I found.

So are drawing tablets hard to use? No, drawing tablets are not hard to use, but you will need some practice to get used to them because most drawing tablets require you to use unnatural drawing coordination. Natural drawing coordination occurs when you watch your hand draw, unnatural drawing coordination occurs when you are looking away from your hand as you draw.

Because most drawing tablets are just a pad you draw on, you end up staring at a screen while you draw reinforcing unnatural drawing coordination that takes a little time to get used.

Because you have to get used to using a drawing tablet a lot of artists get intimidated & often end up prolonging purchasing one.

Which is unfortunate because it doesn’t take long to get used to a drawing tablet. In this post, I’ll give some exercises you can use to get used to using a drawing tablet. 

I’ll also explain the different types of drawing tablets because most beginners are unaware that some tablets are easier to use than others.

& I’ll provide you with a link to affordable drawing tablets under $100.

1. How To Get Used To A Drawing Tablet

Every drawing tablet will take time to get used to drawing w/ it.

Remember that drawing is a skill that is based on coordination, not talent.

Babies are incredibly uncoordinated but w/ a little persistence over time they learn to crawl, walk than run. 

So you should approach using a drawing tablet w/ the goal of becoming more coordinated. 

There are two ways to get build drawing tablet coordination.

1. Draw Things You Enjoy Drawing Daily 

If you already have an art style or subject matter you enjoy drawing, draw that as much as possible. Remember anything you draw/paint physically can be recreated digitally. Even if it takes you time to figure out how to recreate your style digitally you should still do it because you’ll end up making a bunch of happy accidents in the process. BOB ROSS PHOTO

You don’t have to draw long either 1-2 hours a day Mon- Fri is perfect. 

Lets get into the 2 main reasons you should pick something that you like to draw or use an art style you’re comfortable already. First, you want to enjoy what you’re drawing, remember this shouldn’t feel like work. As soon as it does you’ll likely procrastenate.

The second reason is this a great way to track improvement. For example, if you’re current style involves landscapes, draw landscapes & save your art using the date it was finished as its file name. 

In two weeks you’ll basically have a bunch of finished drawings & you’ll be able to tell how good you’ve gotten. So even if you haven’t quite mastered drawing w/ your tablet you’ll still keep going because you can see visible growth. & are is about the small victories that keep us going.

2. Drawing Exercises

Truthfully this isn’t the most fun & if you’re a hobbyist I’d just stick to the drawing things you enjoy. But if you’re serious about your art & possibly considering a career as an artist, combining these two tactics will help you get used to using your tablet in half the time. 

Drawing drills are drills specifically designed to help you build you’re drawing coordination.

Drawing drills aren’t focused on one style, but more focused on the fundamentals of building your digital art skills. They will probably take some of you out of your comfort zone but exploration & skill-building is what makes a great artist.

So if you’re up for the challenge I provided a great video on some simple exercises to sharpen your skills. 

2. How Long Does It Take To Get Used To Drawing W/ A Drawing Tablet?

Usually, it takes 1-4 weeks to get comfortable using a drawing tablet.

You can speed this process up by doing some of the exercises I provided above.

Keep in mind you want to draw 1-2 hours Mon- Fri. You don’t want digital art to feel like a job, but you do have to be committed to see the results you want. 

3. What Are The Different Types Of Drawing Tablets

Because some tablets are easier to use than others, it’s important to understand the different types there are. The three common types of drawing tablets are graphics tablets, screen tablets, & computer tablets.

Graphics Tablets 

Graphics tablets must be plugged into your computer to be used. 

They are the most common & require you to use unnatural drawing coordination because you stare at your computer screen while your hand draws on pad out of your line of sight. 

Each Graphics tablet has what is called an active area.

 This is the section of your tablet you can draw on. The active area is mapped to your computer screen so that each point on your active area relates to the same section of your screen. 

For example, in the photo below you can see the pen is in the upper right-hand corner of the active area, because of this your mouse cursor is the corresponding upper right-hand corner of the computer screen. 

Screen Tablets


These tablets utilize natural drawing coordination because you’re drawing directly onto its screen your hand is no longer out of your line of sight. 

They are typically a lot more expensive then graphics tablets, but like graphics, tablets require connection to a computer to operate.

There are some exceptions to this but they are rare & to avoid confusion I won’t go into that now. 

Screen tablets come w/ a screen that when plugged into your computer will mimic whatever is on your computer screen. You can also control your computer via your screen tablet through this connection. 

Computer Tablets

Like screen tablets, they utilize natural drawing coordination by allowing you to draw on & interact w/ the screen.

What makes a computer tablet special is they do not need a computer, they are the computer. This allows them to be extremely portable. 

Graphics tablets can be portable but you must have a portable laptop to use them which isn’t as convenient as owning one slim computer tablet. 

The most common example of a computer tablet is Apple’s recent iPad Pro if you purchase the Apple Pencil.

It comes w/ drawing apps that allow you to draw & can potentially do everything your computer can do. 

If you’re interested in purchasing an iPad Pro or other iPads that are compatible w/ the Apple Pencil I cover where to find the best price here. 

4. Are Drawing Tablets W/ A Screen Better?

Yes, only if you can afford one because they allow you to use natural drawing coordination by drawing onto a screen. 

Using natural coordination on your tablet helps preserve your traditional drawing skills because you’re using the same coordination you would use in a sketchbook w/ your drawing tablet.

The problem w/ drawing w/ a graphics tablet is they often require you to build a new type of drawing coordination, & the more you draw w/ a graphics tablets the less comfortable traditional drawing becomes. 

The best drawing tablets w/ a screen would have to be any of the iPads w/ Apple Pencil Compatibility. If you’re interested in purchasing an iPad as a drawing tablet I cover all the current iPad sales here.

5. Drawing Tablets Under $100

If you’re thinking about purchasing your first tablet & you want it to be as affordable as possible your best bet is going to be a graphics tablet. They’re the cheapest of type of drawing tablet. 

I wrote a post on a range graphics drawing tablet from $20-$100 here.

6. Related Questions

How do drawing tablets work?

Most drawing tablets work by allowing you to use a stylus & 

Do I need a drawing tablet to animate?

No, but it’s incredibly difficult to animate without the precision a drawing tablet can give you. Drawing tablets don’t only provide precision but also speeds up your workflow by allowing you to use shortcut keys. 

What Is the best drawing tablet for drawing?

Currently, the best drawing tablet is the 3rd generation iPad Pro because of their portability, resolution, ProMotion feature that makes drawing & animation smoother, advanced processor, 10-hour battery life, & w/ Apples fast charge they can be fully charged in 2-3 hours.

What are some drawing tablets that have a screen?

  • iPad Pro, iPad, iPad Mini, iPad Air
  • Wacom Cintiq Pro
  • Huion Kamvas 
  • Wacom Cintiq
  • Gaomon PD 1560
  • Artisul D16
  • Pablo Cost 22

What are the best drawing tablets for beginners? 

  • Wacom Intuos Pro
  • Wacom Intuos
  • Huion Inspiroy H950P
  • Huion H610PRO
  • Parblo A610
  • Huion 420

What You Should Do Now

Follow me on Instagram & Youtube

To see what I’m currently working on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *