How to draw using graphic tablets, iPads and more ...

When I start drawing in the 80s, available tools were quite limited. You could use a pencil, a marker, ink and stickers. That was pretty much it. Today, these options are still available, but you can also use a wide variety of digital tools like graphic tablets, Ipads and drawing tablets. Drawing has never been so easy!

where to start

This article will help you decide which digital option is better for you. There are some basic questions you should ask yourself before selecting the perfect tool, the most obvious one being the price. However, it's also important to select the hardware that fits the most with your style.

An artist using exclusively an application like Illustrator to create digital images can be quite effective using only a mouse and a keyboard. If you are a digital painter, then a drawing tablet could be a more appropriate choice!

1. A good old desktop with a keyboard and a mouse

Yes, you can still create wonderful illustrations using only a keyboard and a mouse. That's exactly what I have been doing for the past 9 years. Since I mostly create simple characters made from basic shapes, I don't need to use a graphic tablet to draw these simple elements.

In fact, using a mouse and a keyboard really make sense. Since I need to select various options while drawing (colors, handles, points, etc ...) using a mouse is quicker and more effective. If you are into simple characters drawn using vector software, this option is still relevant.


  • Accessible
  • Easy to use
  • Perfect for simple characters


  • Complex drawings are longer to achieved.
  • Not intuitive or natural

2. A desktop paired with a graphic tablet

Graphic tablets are a nice alternative if you want to draw simple illustrations as well as more complex ones like digital paintings. It can take a few moments to get use to it, especially because you need to draw on a surface that is connected to your monitor (unlike an Ipad where you are directly drawing on screen). 

This option requires a good eye vs hand coordination and it is sometimes difficult to be precise. You will experiment a lot of trials and errors, but results can be visually quite amazing once you are familiar with this tool.


  • Cheap alternative
  • More control than a mouse
  • Perfect for simple and complex images


  • Needs good eye / hand coordination
  • Precision not always there

3. A tablet or an Ipad

Tablets like the Surface Pro from Microsoft or the Ipad from Apple now come with a stylus. This means that you can now draw directly on the screen without using a mouse, a keyboard or a tablet located below the monitor. The experience is more intuitive and results can be even more interesting.

The major drawback is the fact that the level of precision is still not quite there. The Ipad and Surface Pro are quite small and it can take some times to draw an accurate character since you might need to zoom in and out a few times to get the desired result. 


  • More intuitive than a graphic tablet
  • Immersive and fun


  • Still not quite precise
  • A little bit expensive

4. using a drawing tablet

No doubt that drawing tablets are the ultimate tool to use to create all sorts of illustrations. Why? Because these machines were designed with drawing in mind. They are larger than an Ipad while offering a level of precision that is remarkable.

Unfortunately, these tools are extremely expensive. You also need to use an application that can use all these features adequately otherwise the whole experience will become useless.


  • Made exclusively for drawing
  • High level of precision
  • Intuitive and fun


  • Expensive
  • You need to use a good application


Selecting the perfect tool depends on the usage you want to make with it. You don't need to purchase a drawing tablet if you only create simple cartoon characters. I would recommend trying a few of these options before making a final decision. Some tools might look cool or fun to use, but become useless in a day to day situation. :)

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