Choosing the Right Stylus Or Pen For a Graphic Tablet

By Tom Dennis

The tablet you buy should come with a stylus which is frequently known as a digitizer pen, or simply just called a pen. Choose a tablet with a pen that feels comfortable and natural in your hand. This is important, because unlike a keyboard or mouse, most of your work with a graphic tablet is done with the pen. You will be spending a lot of quality time with that pen. Make sure it’s comfortable.

The stylus/pen has to transmit a signal to the tablet. The mode of signal transmission will vary depending on the type of tablet you buy. Some pens require a battery which will (sigh) need to be replaced on occasion. The battery will also make the pen heavier. Pens can also be attached to the pad by a cord or may be cordless. Both corded and cordless have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages. The cordless type is easier to use, you aren’t dragging a cord around behind your movements. If the pen is cordless, you’ll have to be more careful about misplacing it. A real problem in our house; ever lost the TV remote? You get my drift. On the other hand, while you shouldn’t lose a corded pen you do lose some freedom of mobility and for some, a limit upon free expression. This is of particular importance if you want to throw the pen at a room mate or spouse when said person is irritating you. If you are the spouse of a potentially violent pen thrower, opt for the corded model.

Some tablets allow for use of different types of pens which are used to draw differing styles of lines. Those who use the tablets for art creation would want to take the multiple pen use feature into consideration. Some pens have program buttons which allow you to customize the same pen with different functions. Click a button and get one type of line, click another button get a thicker or thinner line. Some pens have an eraser (great feature for me). Some are pressure and tilt sensitive. Some pens have built in buttons for mouse clicks, and scroll wheels. Some tablets allow you to tap or double tap the tablet for mouse clicks.

A great benefit to using a graphic tablet and pen, whether corded or cordless is that the pen is more ergonomic and much easier on the wrist than a traditional mouse. This benefit itself can be worth trying out a tablet.

When you shop for a graphic tablet, take the pen/stylus into as great consideration as the tablet itself. Consider what you want to use the tablet for. Are you an artist who wants to draw free hand? Do you want to edit and crop pictures in programs like Photoshop? Or do you simply want an alternative to the mouse? Determine your purpose for the tablet and then shop accordingly. If you aren’t sure how you’ll use the tablet, but simply want to try one, there are some inexpensive models to choose from.

Go ahead, try one out.

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1 Comment

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