Why Is It So Hard to Use a Drawing Tablet?

Drawing has been known to help people relax when stressed or anxious. The focus required for the details helps other worries fade to the background and can bring a sense of refreshment so that people are better able to address and fix other problems or tackle things on their to-do list. However, technology has shifted much of drawing to tablets. Many people find drawing on tablets difficult and wonder why exactly it is so hard.

The main reason that many artists find it difficult to use a drawing tablet is that it feels vastly different from pencil and paper. Tablets have a smooth, silky surface whereas paper has a bit of a rougher quality.

In addition to the feel of a tablet being different from that of paper, other issues may include a difference in size between a tablet and paper, brush strokes looking different on a tablet and having to look away from a tablet while simultaneously drawing on it. All of these can be very frustrating, especially in the beginning, but there are solutions to each of them. Read on to find out how you can train yourself to become more skilled and confident at drawing on your tablet.

How Can I Draw Better on My Tablet?

Anytime you learn a new skill it will take time and trying out different tactics to figure out what works best for you and your style. Becoming more skilled at drawing on your tablet should be treated the same way. Be patient with yourself, take a look at the following common issues and some ways that you can ease into it.

Differences in Texture and Responsiveness

As mentioned previously, one of the biggest hurdles is the fact that paper feels vastly different than a tablet surface and tablets are not as responsive. When you are drawing directly on paper, you can both see and feel what you are drawing, and it appears on the paper immediately. There are two things you can do to get used to your tablet:

  • Put a piece of paper over the tablet screen. You will still be making the connection to the tablet, but it will have a more familiar feel. As you grow more confident, you can take the paper off.
  • Slow down. Instead of immediately going from one stroke to the next, make one stroke, pause for a breath, and then move on to the next one. This will give your tablet the time it needs to respond and will give you the crispness and detail you get when you draw with a pencil and paper.

Drawing in One Place While Looking at Another

If you have spent your whole life drawing with pencil and paper, you got used to looking down at your paper and watching the pencil. When you draw with a tablet you are drawing on one thing, but you are looking at another area or monitor. This can be discombobulating and just takes practice to get used to the feel of it.

However, you can make the transition a little smoother in a couple of ways:

  • Keep the tablet in the same position to the monitor every time. For example, if you started with your tablet directly in front of you, keep placing it in that same spot while you are drawing. Having familiarity will help you be able to master the technique of drawing while looking elsewhere.
  • Draw and then retrace different shapes while watching the cursor. Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do to become confident at something is to go back to the basics. In this case, drawing simple shapes like a square or a circle, and then tracing over them can help your brain get used to the difference and you can go back to more advanced drawing.


Learning how to draw on a tablet after you have used primarily pencil and paper, can be tricky. Drawing tablets have a much silkier and smoother feel than paper, the response time for drawing and when it appears on the screen takes a bit longer, and getting used to drawing on a tablet while looking at a different monitor can be confusing.

However, like any other acquired skill, practice and consistency go a long way. To help drawing on a tablet become second nature, always keep the tablet in the same position while drawing. Start with simple shapes, like a circle or square, and trace them over and over. When you first start using a tablet, try placing a piece of paper over the screen to give yourself a familiar feel. Keep practicing!