Wacom Intuos3 6”x8”
Wacom Intuos3 6”x8”

It’s been about a month already since I started internship at derooted. In this month there was this one time I forgot to bring my pen tablet. Working with the trackpad on MacBook irritated me all day. (Although I love MacBook’s multi fingers trackpad feature) Whether you’re professional graphic designer or someone who just love doing something arty on your computer, a pen tablet is the best tool to make your life much easier. When I first got my pen tablet, I wasn’t interested in graphic design or computer-related illustrations. I did a lot of analog drawings on paper. I didn’t find any use for the tablet. I remember when I first tested out the tablet from pure boredom, I realized how easy it was to use with computer games because I scored much higher with the pen tablet than the mouse (especially the kind of shooting game that require you to aim and shoot at target).

Now as a graphic design student, my pen tablet is a necessary tool when I work on projects. I think to me, the advantages of the tablet can be summarized into three distinct points:

  1. First, the pen tablet is especially helpful when you do precise photo retouching and illustrations. Once you get use to drawing in pen, drawing without it is like the drawing with your non-dominant hand, your feet, or with a pen in your mouth. I feel handicapped without out it right by me when I work. It also gets less tired after I work due to the natural way you hold a pen as opposed to a mouse while you work.
  2. Wacom Intuos3 9”x12”
    Wacom Intuos3 9”x12”

    Using pen tablet saves a lot more time and its more efficient ways. I work much faster with the tablet. Absolute positioning feature of the pen tablet gives me a 1:1 representation of the screen to that tablets so I can move the cursor to anywhere on the screen instantly and this is much faster than moving and dragging my mouse on my desk. I dislike the mouse in my school lab because their wire is super short that I need to lift up and reposition the mouse every time I try to move. But the tablet solves this problem since I can reach anywhere on the screen within the size of the tablet. In this case I think the size of the tablet and the screen is important. I’m using Wacom Intuos3 6”x8”Pen Tablet with my 17inch MacBook Pro. I love this size since this is not too big to carry around and not too small for using with either mouse or pen. According to my friend who is using 9”x12”tablet with 17inch MacBook Pro, using the bigger tablet in Final Cut is a pain in the rear since it’s not precise enough to anchor the frames. Bigger is not necessarily better unless you want to do illustrations without zoom in to details always. I prefer using my smaller tablet to minimize my arm motion so I can save a lot more time.

  3. The best thing about doing illustration on any computer using the pen tablet is that there is always an option where I can erase, rewrite and fix as much as I want without damaging my original copy. However, the only disadvantage of the pen tablet is that, because I can rewrite as much as I want, I can’t stop keep retouching same file. Even if I am satisfied with the illustration that I do, I may feel inclined to reedit, and so the editing process never ends.
SenTIP 1201ED (Hanvon)
SenTIP 1201ED (Hanvon)

Now there are a lot more variations in pen tablet. There are Bluetooth variations which will add to the portability of the tablets and will extend the range of usages and application of the devices too. The wireless device provides you complete freedom in controlling the screen from afar. There is also LED Backlight Monitor with Pen Tablet Technology which allows you to work directly on the screen with natural hand-eye coordination. If you don’t have pen tablet yet, why not? The pen tablet is definitely the tool that will make your life much easier.

By: Ayaka Sano