How Does a Drawing Tablet Work?

Digital drawing is perceived as an easy way to create art. It’s not! Digital drawings are created using software that allows you to draw on your computer screen, which can be very frustrating if you’re new to digital art or don’t have much experience with it.

A drawing tablet makes this process easier because instead of using a mouse to move around in the program, you simply touch where you want something drawn. This means less frustration for beginners and more control over what they do. The downside is that most tablets cost hundreds of dollars, so unless you really need one, there isn’t any reason to buy one.

However, if you already own a laptop or desktop PC, then a tablet will make creating artwork even faster than before. You’ll also find yourself doing things like sketching out ideas quickly without worrying about getting them perfect first.

In addition, some people prefer working digitally rather than traditionally when painting since their hands aren’t tied down by brushes and other tools. So whether you’re looking to get into digital art or you’ve been making art for years but never used a tablet, here’s everything you need to know about drawing tablets. 

What Is a Drawing Tablet?

The term “tablet” refers to both graphic tablets and drawing tablets. A drawing tablet works similarly to a regular pen/pencil combination, except that it has sensors built into its surface that detect pressure applied to it. When you press harder on the tablet, it registers higher levels of force; when you lift up off of it, lower levels of force are registered. These forces translate into lines being added to your image.

Difference between Drawing Tablets and Graphic Tablets

How Does a Drawing Tablet Work
Drawing Tablets Vs Graphics Tablets

Graphic tablets work differently from drawing tablets. They usually come equipped with pens that allow users to write directly onto the paper. Some graphic tablets include special features such as erasers, highlighters, and rulers. However, these features are only available through third-party programs.

Drawing tablets differ from graphic tablets in two ways. First, they require no physical connection to anything else besides your computer. Second, they provide direct input to your graphics application via a stylus. In fact, many drawing tablets actually connect to your computer wirelessly, allowing you to take advantage of all of the functions offered by your operating system while still sitting at home.

Drawing tablets are generally cheaper than graphic tablets, although prices vary depending on brand and model. If you plan on purchasing a tablet, keep in mind that you may spend anywhere from $50-$200+ per unit.

How does a drawing tablet work?

To comprehend how drawing tablets work, you should familiarize yourself with their components. They contain a stylus and a drawing surface. This is their outer appearance, but here is the big picture.

1. Understand the tablet

A tablet has three main parts: the screen, the sensor pad, and the base. Each part plays an important role in helping the user draw accurately. Let’s look at each component individually.

Screen – The screen displays images created using software installed on your computer. It can be flat or curved. Most screens have a resolution ranging from 300 dots per inch to 1,024 dpi. Resolution determines the number of pixels displayed on the screen. For example, if you use a 600dpi display, approximately 6 million pixels on the screen. Higher resolutions offer sharper details.

Sensor Pad – The sensor pad detects where the tip of the stylus touches the screen. As mentioned earlier, this translates into lines being drawn on the screen. There are different types of pads, including capacitive, resistive, and optical. Capacitive and Resistive pads tend to cost more because they need to be manufactured separately. Optical pads are less expensive but don’t register every single point touched like capacitive and resistive pads do.

Base – The base holds everything together. You will notice that most drawing tablets have a plastic cover over them which protect the screen and other internal components. The base also contains the power supply for the device.

2. Know your Stylus

The stylus is what allows you to interact with the screen. A good stylus has several characteristics. These include durability, weight, size, shape, material, and texture. Durability refers to whether it can withstand repeated usage without breaking down. Weight indicates its heftiness; heavier ones feel better when writing. Size relates to how large the tip is compared to the body of the pen. Shape describes the overall design of the stylus. Material refers to the type of metal used to make the pen. Texture refers to the roughness of the surface. Some people prefer pens made out of wood or rubber instead of plastic. However, these materials aren’t as durable, so you’ll want to choose wisely.

3. Adjust the Pressure Sensitivity

Pressure sensitivity refers to how sensitive the stylus is to pressure applied to the screen. When you write with too much force, the line becomes thicker. Too little pressure results in thin strokes. To adjust the amount of pressure needed to create a stroke, simply press harder against the screen.

4. Choose a Software Program

Once you know all about the hardware aspects of a tablet, you must decide which program you wish to use. If you’re new to digital art, I recommend starting off by learning Photoshop first. Once you get comfortable with basic editing tools, move on to Illustrator. After mastering those two programs, try Manga Studio 4 Pro. Finally, learn Corel Painter X. All four programs allow you to import files directly from your camera’s memory card. This makes creating artwork easier than ever before!

5. Practice Makes Perfect

Still, wondering how does a drawing tablet work? Well, once you’ve chosen a program, practice making some simple drawings until you become familiar with the toolset. Don’t worry if you mess up at first. Just keep practising, and eventually, you’ll master the basics.

Choosing The Right Drawing Tablet

To make your drawing stand out, you must use the right drawing tablet. Do you know the features you should look out for? Well, here are some features to consider.

1. Pressure Sensitivity

This feature lets you control the thickness of each stroke. It helps you draw smoother curves and avoid jagged edges. Most drawing tablets come equipped with an adjustable pressure setting. Experiment with various settings to find one that works best for you.

2. Resolution

Resolution refers to the number of pixels per inch displayed on the screen. Higher resolution means sharper images. For example, 300 PPI displays show 1/300th of an inch on screen. That translates into more detail. Lower resolutions display less information. They may be fine for beginners, but they won’t give you an advantage once you start working professionally.

3. Touch Screen Capabilities

Touch screens let you manipulate objects using only your finger. Many touchscreens offer multi-touch capabilities where you can select multiple items simultaneously. It’s a feature that gives you greater flexibility when manipulating graphics.

4. Size 

Size refers to the width and height of the area covered by the touchscreen. The larger the area, the bigger the image will appear. Smaller areas result in smaller images. You don’t have to limit yourself to just one aspect ratio, though. There are many different sizes available depending on your needs.

5. Responsiveness

Responsive devices respond quickly to changes made to their surface. Some models require you to tap or swipe across the screen, while others react instantly to even light touches. Try them both out so you can see what feels most natural to you.

6. Stylus Type

Stylus type determines how much force it takes to activate certain functions. A stylus pen has no resistance, whereas a mouse requires constant pressure. Choose wisely because too little pressure could lead to inaccurate results. Too much pressure might cause damage to the device itself. They’re normally available in three types; rechargeable, battery-powered, and electromagnetic resonance.

Rechargeable stylus pens need charging every few hours. Battery-powered ones last longer but aren’t as convenient. Electromagnetic resonance styluses produce magnetic fields that interact with other magnets inside the tablet. These styli are expensive but provide superior performance.

7. Controls

Controls determine which tools you can access from within the application. If something is missing, try looking through the manual. This will help you learn about all the controls available.

8. Advanced Features

Advanced features include things such as tilt sensitivity, auto-rotation, and automatic erasing. Tilt sensitivity allows you to adjust the angle at which the cursor moves. Auto-rotation adjusts the orientation automatically based on the direction you move the device. Automatic erasing removes unwanted lines after you’ve finished creating artworks.

9. Battery

Battery life depends on several factors, including the model, operating system, software used, and usage patterns. Most tablets use lithium-ion batteries. Lithium ions store energy very efficiently and charge up fast. However, these batteries tend to wear down over time. It’s best to keep track of how long each battery lasts before replacing it.


In a nutshell, drawing tablets allow you to create artwork without worrying about messy paintbrushes or paper. Touchscreen technology makes it easy for anyone to get started. Just pick an affordable option and start experimenting!

1 thought on “How Does a Drawing Tablet Work?”

  1. Hey my 11 year old wants a standalone tablet with pen to draw then download to his PC later. Can you direct me to some good choices

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