There are many reasons why a traditional artist may want to transfer to using a digital medium. With the advent of the Internet and digital publishing, the format and tools used to create publications have changed rapidly sometimes leaving the artist behind with out-dated skills.
Put simply, a graphics tablet or interactive pen display unit is an input device that allows the user to draw using a pen or stylus on to a surface or active area and those markings be transferred to the computer screen.
Rather than using a mouse to draw in an application such as Corel Draw or Corel Painter, the user is able to sketch freehand using a traditional pen and have the image appear on the screen in front of them. They also have the ability to use different brush types, sizes, thicknesses that the application provides and the full range of colors and transparencies that modern computers allow.
Unlike older models, when the pen or stylus is lifted from the active area of the graphics tablet, the device still knows where it is located. When you then reapply the stylus to the tablet, the cursor on the screen moves in unison so that you are able to move freely around the canvas or document as if it was a piece of paper.
A Graphics Tablet will remove the barrier between the artists hand and the computer. Using a normal computer mouse for freehand artwork or drawing is not possible and results in jagged or irregular lines and images. In comparison, a graphics tablet will allow the user to create flowing, fluid freehand designs and strokes as if they were working on paper.
The tablet or pad will connect to the computer via a USB cable, serial cable or wireless Bluetooth connection and will come with software, drivers or application plugins that allow the device to work properly. The software will also allow the user to define parameters such as how sensitive the device is or how the stylus behaves under certain conditions. Most modern graphics tablets also have buttons and selectors that allow the user to create custom functions or macros that can easily be selected.
The graphics tablets and pen input display devices come in a variety of sizes and are supplied targeted towards a range of people. At the lower end of the market, the graphics tablets have a smaller active area and are more suited to younger or less experienced artists and creative people. At the other end of the spectrum are the interactive pen display devices which combine a graphics tablet and a TFT monitor to allow the user to draw directly onto a screen. There are also larger models available for functions such as architecture or drafting.
If you can use a pen or pencil to draw, then you will be able to use a graphics tablet too. They are simple to install and easy to use and allow you freedom to create all manner of digital artwork. They can also be used for handwriting recognition and document annotation.