How To Draw Digital Art With a Tablet

So you want to draw cool digital art with your tablet?

That is awesome!

There are a lot of things to be said about how to do draw digital art, and many different topics to cover – so let’s dive in!

#1 You Need Hardware

In order to get started, you need:

  1. a drawing tablet,
  2. and a computer to connect it with.

There are many different drawing tablets to choose from and they come at many different prices. One key difference between these devices is whether they come equipped with a display or not.

Drawing tablets with display can be especially helpful if you are new to digital drawing, but these devices also come at a much higher price.

Here are a few examples of some great models:

Without displays:

  • Wacom Intous
  • Huion HS610
  • XP-Pen Deco 03

With displays:

  • Wacom Cintiq
  • Huion Kamvas Pro 16
  • XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro

I won’t cover any of these drawing tablets more in-depth here, since I think it is likely you already got one. However, if you are looking for a shiny new drawing tablet, then you can check out this list of drawing tablets.

Need to know: Drawing tablets with display still need to connect to a computer (unless you are using an iPad or similar).

If you are using an iPad or a similar tablet, then you also need to get your hands on a pen/stylus since these are normally not included. But on the other hand, you can draw directly on these devices without needing a computer to connect them with.

#2 You Need Software

There are many programs/apps that you can work with. While I can’t say I have tried them all, they are, at least in my opinion, quite similar in what they can do in terms of your end result.

One thing to note is that while each software often can do many of the same things, they also do come with a bit of a learning curve.

So you might have to spend some time getting used to the different software, and because of that, I suggest you stick with using one or two – at least for some time.

You can find programs that are completely free to use, others that cost an agreeable amount like Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo, and finally programs like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator that come at monthly subscription, which in the long-term can get very expensive.

However, that cost might be negligible to you if you are using it for professional purposes and then Adobe might be the best choice for you.

Currently, I like to use GIMP and Sketchbook Pro, and both of these are completely free.

Other popular free software include Autodesk Sketchbook and Krita.

Pro tip: most of the paid software comes with a free trial, so you can try it out first before you spend any money.

Doing The Actual Drawing

When you have your hardware and software set up, you can finally get to the drawing part!

If you are new to digital drawing, there are a number of advantages compared to”normal drawing” that I think you will enjoy!


When drawing on digital, you can draw your lines, shapes, or even insert objects on individual layers.

Each layer is stacked in the order of your choosing, and you can reorder them as you see fit.

Here is a simple example of how to take advantage of layers in your drawing.

On layer one, you put a rough sketch of the thing you are drawing. Think shapes and proportions

Layer two is where you draw the final lines using your rough sketch on the layer underneath.

Colors are filled in on a third layer.

Finally, you can add lighting and shading effects on a fourth layer.

Having these elements on individual layers gives you control and flexibility that could never have drawing on normal paper.

Undo button

Say goodbye to your eraser and holes in your paper! With a simple ctrl+Z, you are rid of your mistakes in an instant.

You probably guess this anyway…

Digital Drawing Tools

Want to make perfect lines, circles, squares, crazy curvy lines, or advanced image effects?

Well, you can do just that and much more depending on what software you are using.

By the way, creating nice lines by hand is a great skill to have and something you should practice. However, using the line tool is not cheating! You are doing digital drawing and you should use the tools available to you 🙂

Check out this in-depth video on drawing on a tablet

Getting Good At Drawing

Getting good at anything takes a lot of practice, and drawing is no different.

You can watch youtube videos and read how-tos all day long, but if you are not doing the actual drawing, then you are unlikely to improve.

If you are unsure of where to begin, I suggest you grab a course instead of watching youtube. You can get great courses for relatively little money that will guide you through a long process and make it much easier for you.

You can also check out this post where I answer some of the common reasons why you might be unsatisfied with your drawing skills.

How To Practice Drawing On A Tablet –  Great Exercises To Get Familiar With Your Tablet

It also takes practice getting used to drawing on a tablet. Luckily, there are some exercises that are great for getting familiar with your drawing tablet fast!

Check out this video below with 12 exercises that you can do. I am also going to add some of my favorite exercises below soon 🙂


About the author: My name is Marcus, I am a lawyer (LL.M.) and the founder of this website. Besides sometimes doing lawyer stuff, I like to draw and improve my skills as a “digital artist”, and I write about what I learn on this website. If you want to know more about me or reach out, then you can click here.

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