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Do you need a drawing tablet?

From: Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool

Video: Do you need a drawing tablet?

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.

Do you need a drawing tablet?

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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  1. 7m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 21s
    2. The evolution of vector drawing
      3m 46s
    3. Getting the most out of this training
      1m 30s
    4. Using the exercise files
      27s
  2. 39m 2s
    1. Plotting points vs. drawing paths
      5m 36s
    2. Drawing artwork vs. building artwork
      7m 59s
    3. The keyboard shortcuts you HAVE to know
      8m 52s
    4. Groups and layers really do matter
      3m 11s
    5. Taming Smart Guides and the Bounding Box
      10m 53s
    6. Do you need a drawing tablet?
      2m 31s
  3. 47m 51s
    1. To sketch or not to sketch?
      2m 32s
    2. Setting up a template layer for your sketch
      3m 37s
    3. Optimizing default settings for drawing
      5m 27s
    4. Using the primitive shapes tools
      5m 7s
    5. Mastering the modifier keys
      2m 8s
    6. Mastering the transform tools
      6m 37s
    7. Creating curves with the Reshape tool
      6m 44s
    8. Using the Smooth tool
      3m 35s
    9. Using Simplify to create smooth paths
      3m 2s
    10. Recording an action for the Simplify command
      5m 2s
    11. Mirroring art for speed and accuracy
      4m 0s
  4. 50m 18s
    1. Deconstructing the Pathfinder panel
      1m 56s
    2. Using the Shape Modes functions
      12m 4s
    3. Using the Pathfinder functions
      13m 4s
    4. Understanding how compound shapes work
      11m 45s
    5. Understanding why compound shapes exist
      7m 32s
    6. Exploring additional Pathfinder options
      3m 57s
  5. 52m 51s
    1. Why Live Paint was created
      10m 45s
    2. Creating a Live Paint group
      4m 21s
    3. Using the Live Paint Bucket tool
      7m 8s
    4. Using Live Paint with open paths
      5m 6s
    5. Detecting gaps in Live Paint groups
      3m 42s
    6. Adding paths to a Live Paint group
      5m 34s
    7. Using the Live Paint Selection tool
      6m 28s
    8. Releasing and expanding Live Paint groups
      2m 59s
    9. Understanding how Live Paint works
      6m 48s
  6. 27m 37s
    1. Why the Shape Builder tool was created
      4m 18s
    2. Focusing on the big three: Add, Subtract, and Divide
      2m 27s
    3. Using the Shape Builder tool to add and subtract artwork
      9m 50s
    4. Using the Shape Builder to divide artwork
      3m 48s
    5. Building and coloring artwork at the same time
      3m 50s
    6. Using Gap Detection with the Shape Builder tool
      3m 24s
  7. 23m 2s
    1. Understanding how variable widths work
      8m 25s
    2. Modifying width points along a path
      7m 9s
    3. Saving time with width profiles
      5m 14s
    4. Turning variable width strokes into filled paths
      2m 14s
  8. 28m 21s
    1. Understanding how the Pen and Pencil tools differ
      4m 41s
    2. Adjusting the behavior of the Pencil tool
      7m 5s
    3. Using the Path Eraser tool
      1m 17s
    4. Drawing with the Calligraphic Brush tool
      5m 43s
    5. Drawing with the Blob Brush tool
      5m 53s
    6. Using the Eraser tool
      3m 42s
  9. 3m 44s
    1. Looking at the VectorScribe plug-in
      2m 16s
    2. Next steps
      1m 28s

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