- Graphics tablets are a great entry-level device for digital art, but there are drawbacks to consider.
- Some reasons to avoid a new graphics tablet include the need for an adjustment period, a cumbersome learning curve, and the fact that it won’t improve your artistic skills.
- Cheaper graphics tablets may have issues with pen recognition and pressure curves, so investing in a higher-quality option is recommended.
- Alternatives to graphics tablets include drawing tablets with integrated screens and iPads with Apple Pencil support.
What are some reasons to avoid a new graphics tablet? Graphics tablets function as a great entry-level device to digital art. However, there are some definite drawbacks to discuss when looking at graphics tablets for your artwork.
Whether you’re new to digital art and looking to make the first step to digitizing your art or you’re a practiced artist looking for a new workflow, it is definitely worth exploring.
What Is a Graphics Tablet?
A graphics tablet is a low-cost device that functions in a similar fashion to pen and paper. You have a digital pen and a hard plastic surface that interfaces with your computer. This translates the mechanical skill behind art into a digital format, but there are some drawbacks to it.
Why You Might Want One
You might want to purchase a graphics tablet if you’re looking to make moves into digital art. They are a great entry-level way to get into digital art without spending a fair amount of money on something like a drawing tablet.
There are quite a few similarities to drawing tablets in that they both function in place of a mouse when using any digital art application. However, drawing tablets are a preferred method of getting into digital art for reasons that will be further explored.
Reasons to Avoid a New Graphics Tablet
There are seven valid reasons to avoid a new graphics tablet, which aren’t quite as obvious as you might think.
1. It’s Just a Tool
At the end of the day, a graphics tablet is just a tool. Any artist likely has a plethora of materials for creating art, but adding a new tool to the mix doesn’t suddenly make you an expert. Instead, it is something you have to work with and learn.
Now, the adjustment period with working a graphics tablet can be quite pronounced. This is especially true if you’re migrating from physically creating art with implements like paper or canvas.
2. Might Not Suit Your Workflow
Not every artist is suited for digital art. While you might have the core mechanics down to muscle memory, there is quite a bit to learn when transitioning into digital art.
When you consider most graphics tablets only have a hard plastic surface to work on, versus the visually hands-on approach to creating art, you’ll have to get used to glancing up at your screen constantly while working. For some, this is one of many valid reasons to avoid a new graphics tablet.
3. The Adjustment Period
Any artist knows you’ll have to adjust to a new tool. You don’t buy new brushes and suddenly know how to use them when painting. You have to learn the nuances and idiosyncrasies of the tool to see how it best integrates into your workflow.
With physical art, this isn’t so much an issue, as the practice allows you to see progress before your very eyes. As most graphics tablets don’t have actual visual interfaces, this means you’ll be relying on a monitor or laptop screen to see how things are going.
4. A Cumbersome Learning Curve
Artists who have been practicing for years understand the various implements they use, as well as how to apply things like pressure to get differing results. A graphics tablet is no different in this regard, but the results can greatly vary.
An artist can work with a cheap pencil or brush, but they might not find the same true with a cheap tablet. At any rate, you’ll have to adjust to what degree of pressure is best and how to hold the pen without causing undue mistakes while working.
Like any art discipline, it has its own specific workflow.
5. It Won’t Improve Your Work
A graphics tablet won’t make you a better artist. It might lead to you exploring new options for creating art, but it won’t improve what you have mechanically.
A graphics tablet is something you’ll have to learn to succeed with, akin to how a musician can’t create beautiful works with a new unfamiliar instrument.
It will take time and practice, which might not be appealing if you have set routines in your own work.
6. You Get What You Pay For
Graphics tablets are very much dependent on their price point. Cheaper graphics tablets can work for hobbyist work, but you’ll have to spend a good bit to get a decent one.
Cheaper ones can suffer from issues like poor pen recognition, strange pressure curves, and a laundry list of other issues. If you’re just wanting to dabble, a cheaper one might be fine.
If you’re wanting to get serious about it, you might be better off looking at other options with a more visual component and better features.
7. It Might Benefit You to Learn What You Have
The appeal of a new workflow is always enticing; it doesn’t matter what sort of art you’re creating. However, at the end of the day, you’ve got plenty of options in your own areas of art.
You might find that digital art isn’t your favorite thing and that you’d rather just scan sketches or paintings. Before embarking on digital art, consider where you are with your art and what sort of growth you’d like to see out of yourself.
Alternatives to a Graphics Tablet
For artists looking to partake in digital art, there are some better options than just sticking with a graphics tablet. The selections below more closely replicate the sensation of working on a physical piece while also allowing for the power of digital creation to come to the fore.
Drawing tablets with integrated screens are a great option for digital artists. They eliminate the constant swivel of your neck while working and allow you to see the workspace.
A drawing tablet with a display functions effectively as a second monitor, allowing you to see things while you’re working on them. A great option to look at without breaking the bank is the Huion KAMVAS Pro 12 Drawing Tablet.
It features over 8,000 levels of pressure and a battery-free pen. The KAMVAS is compatible with just about every operating system under the sun, as well, and can work with Mac, Linux, and Windows computers.
It features an 11.6-inch IPS screen, so you’re getting fairly solid color reproduction. You might want to upgrade if you’re after a bigger workspace, but this is dimensionally similar to a piece of A4 paper.
iPad Air or Pro
- 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion, True Tone, and P3 wide color
- M2 chip with 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU
- 12MP Wide camera, 10MP Ultra Wide back camera, and LiDAR Scanner for immersive AR
- Wi-Fi 6E connectivity
- 256 GB memory storage capacity
The iPad Pro along with the Apple Pencil 2 is a great but relatively expensive option. You get access to premium software like Affinity Photo, Procreate, Pixelmator, and Adobe Fresco. The newer iPad Air models running the M1 or M2 processors are also a great option.
Both higher-end iPad models are great for digital artists who are looking for the best without splashing out on the top-end Wacom Cintiq drawing tablets. You do get palm rejection that can be natively configured within the iPad’s settings.
About the only drawback to speak of is the longevity of the Apple Pencil tips. You’ll be buying replacement tips for any digital pen, however.
Graphics tablets are great for many things, but not be the best fit for an aspiring digital artist. The cost of so many digital art implements has come down in price, so it can be tempting to venture into new horizons.
However, it is the sort of thing where you do get what you put into it. So, avoid the new graphics tablet, take a look at a drawing tablet with a built-in display or a new iPad with an Apple Pencil.
|Itâs Just a Tool||A graphics tablet is just a tool. Adding a new tool to the mix doesnât suddenly make you an expert. Instead, it is something you have to work with and learn.|
|Might Not Suit Your Workflow||Not every artist is suited for digital art. Youâll have to get used to glancing up at your screen constantly while working.|
|The Adjustment Period||Youâll have to adjust to a new tool. As most graphics tablets donât have actual visual interfaces, this means youâll be relying on a monitor or laptop screen to see how things are going.|
|A Cumbersome Learning Curve||A graphics tablet is no different in this regard, but the results can greatly vary. Youâll have to adjust to what degree of pressure is best and how to hold the pen without causing undue mistakes while working.|
|It Wonât Improve Your Work||A graphics tablet wonât make you a better artist. It might lead to you exploring new options to creating art, but it wonât improve what you have mechanically.|
|You Get What You Pay For||Graphics tablets are very much dependent on their price point. Cheaper ones can suffer from issues like poor pen recognition, strange pressure curves, and a laundry list of other issues.|
|It Might Benefit You to Learn What You Have||Before embarking on digital art, consider where you are with your art and what sort of growth youâd like to see out of yourself.|
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