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When talking to people about drawing inside of Illustrator one of the first questions I get is, do I need to have a drawing tablet? Now there is a company out there called Wacom which makes fantastic pressure-sensitive tablets that work very well when using Illustrator. However, it really depends on the kind of artwork that you are going to create, and more importantly, it also depends on how much drawing you are going to be doing. The Illustrator itself, from a utility perspective, can create tons of graphics and Illustrator can also be used to create technical drawings and more drawings that fit within a drafting realm.
In that area, you really don't need to have a pen tablet in order to get your work done. When you have an illustration like this for example like I have this Mister Zee, and you are actually kind of looking to create something that has more fluid motion inside of it, maybe these types of curves or this curve that we have it here on the back of the zebra, you'll find that it can be very difficult to draw those smooth paths using a mouse. In this case here the reason why it works with a mouse is because as we are going to find out, we are always going to be working with a sketch inside of our designs.
So basically, it's going to be a process of where I actually take some artwork, I draw it on a piece of paper, I then photograph it or scan it into my computer, and I use that as a base to draw artwork using my mouse. However, if I am just kind of drawing for my mind, I want be able to sketch very cleanly inside of Illustrator itself, I'm really going to want to have a tablet available to me when I start using Illustrator. I am also going to be able to take more advantage of things like pressure sensitivity so I can have really nice thick and thins, although as we are going to find out we can also do that inside of Illustrator without a tablet.
So what it really comes down to is comfort. Try going to a store that has a tablet on display and try to work with it and see if you find it comfortable. There is one other thing to note about working with pressure-sensitive tablets inside of Illustrator. For example, some of the Illustrator's brushes, he Eraser tool, the Pencil tool, the Paintbrush tool, these are all things that actually work and feel a lot more natural when working with a pen input than trying to deal with a mouse input. We cover all these things in a chapter called the "Drawing with a tablet" which you'll find towards the end of this title.
So while having a pressure-sensitive tablet does unlock some more functionality inside of Illustrator, the real question is going to be is that functionality going to be something that you are going to use often enough to justify the cost of a tablet? Whether using a pressure-sensitive tablet or whether using a mouse, you will be able to draw just fine without the Pen tool inside of Illustrator.
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