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Every computer comes with a mouse. So why wouldn't you use it to paint and draw? While a mouse is a great pointing device, it is not particularly good at drawing. A mouse can only go up and down and back and forth on a flat surface. A tablet stylus, on the other hand, has the ability to sense the articulation of an artist's hand. This ability enables highly expressive gestures, and then there is the issue of repetitive stress. A tablet and stylus are much more suited to prolonged gestural input.
Because we already have a prolonged history of stylus usage with writing instruments like pens and pencils, using one in conjunction with the computer is fairly straightforward. There is a bit of an initial learning curve, but using a stylus with the computer becomes natural with practice. Pretty much all graphic applications like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Painter, and Autodesk SketchBook Pro have significant built-in tools for maximizing the use of a stylus.
If you're completely new to a tablet and stylus, you may want to visit the Tablet Calisthenics chapter and follow along with the exercises. If you have experience using traditional art tools, you'll be happy to find that your existing skills transfer to the computer intact. The bottom line is that a tablet and stylus will greatly enhance your expressive mark-making experience.
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