Should I Get A Drawing Tablet Or Use A Mouse For Drawing?

You might be thinking of getting a drawing tablet for drawing on your computer, but is it really that much better than a simple mouse?

There are many factors to take into account when choosing between a drawing tablet and a mouse and that’s exactly what we’re going to go over in this article.

Let’s see if you should get a drawing tablet, and why it can be much better than using a mouse for drawing!

Psst! If you’ve made up your mind already, click here to find out how to choose between a screen and a non-screen drawing tablet.

Pressure Sensitivity

This is one of the main reasons to get a drawing tablet.

When drawing you’ll apply different weights to your strokes.

Some lines will be thicker and others thinner. This all depends on style and what you want to take the most focus on in your drawings.

With the stylus pen of your drawing tablet, you can control the thickness of your lines by applying more or less pressure while drawing.

Not only that, but you can also change how sensitive your tablet is to the pressure you apply.

Most drawing tablets come with a very simple software where you can both change these settings and test it out until you have it up to your preferences and taste!

With a mouse, however, you don’t have any of that. You just click and you’re getting your stroke, with almost no control over its weight.

cartoon drawing of a person choosing between a mouse and a drawing tablet for drawing
Which one is actually better for drawing, a mouse or a drawing tablet?

Now, of course, this all depends on how you like to draw and even your style.

Perhaps you like your lines to always have the same weight, so using a mouse won’t make a difference.

On the other hand, if you want to have control over the weight of your lines, a drawing tablet will definitely make things easier for you!

Feels Like Holding A Pencil!

One of the reasons for getting a drawing tablet is that it makes the whole transition from paper to digital much easier.

If you think about it, you’re drawing on something that is smooth and placed very similarly to a piece of paper.

Not only that, but you’re holding a pen that, even though thicker than a regular pencil, feels very comfortable and works almost the same way.

So by muscle memory, your body already knows what to do when you start drawing on a drawing tablet.

Of course, there’s still a moment of adaptation, but it’s a very easy and quick process!

With a mouse, the whole process of drawing is completely different. However, you’re probably already used a mouse before and are more familiar with it.

But the problem is that it’s very hard to have fluid movements when using a mouse.

Test it out even!

  • Pick up a piece of paper and a pencil.
  • Scribble a few lines there.
  • Notice your movements, and how they help with the fluidity of your lines.

Now do the same with a mouse on the computer. Which do you prefer?

Personally, I feel the mouse will make my lines stiff since I don’t have enough freedom and control.

While the drawing tablet will give me the same freedom and comfortability as a pencil!

A Drawing Tablet Is More Comfortable

This is, for me, the most important thing to take into account.

Being comfortable isn’t only about being snuggly. It’s about your health and what’s best for you in the long term.

Drawing tablets are by far much more ergonomic than a mouse. Sure the mouse is good for most actions on the computer, but even then, if you use it too much you might start feeling some discomfort.

cartoon of artist drawing with a tablet on a computer
Drawing with a drawing tablet is very fun once you get used to it!

If you play games that heavily need the use of a mouse, you know this. Too many clicks and your hand will start to not like it!

So, yes. A drawing tablet is the healthiest choice to make if you want to keep your body and hands in good shape.

The movement you have to do when drawing with the mouse is too pressuring and sooner or later you’ll feel that.

If you do prefer or have no other solution but use a mouse, remember to take frequent breaks and perform hand and arm stretches.

These stretches should be done at the start and end of a drawing session, but also during the breaks you do.

Now, these tips go for a drawing tablet as well. In fact, you should stretch whenever you draw! Be it either traditional or digital.

Think of drawing as a physical exercise, which in a way is, and always do some stretches. Just like you would before and after exercising.

I do have a very handy and complete guide filled with hand and arm stretches for artists, so I highly recommend checking that out and starting implementing those in your routine. I surely do!

Overall a drawing tablet will always be more ergonomic and comfortable to use than a mouse!

It’s Faster To Draw On A Tablet

Since it’s more ergonomic and lets you freely move around your hand and arm, like you would a pencil, a drawing tablet will make the whole process much quicker.

Not only that, but it’s also a matter of muscle memory as I mentioned above.

If you’re already fairly familiar with pencil and paper, then when you get to a digital tablet, you and your body know what to do.

You already know what kind of movements you need to draw, so you just perform those!

On the other hand, with a mouse, you’ll first have to figure out how to draw with it.

You’re used to using a mouse, but to perform specific tasks.

Even after figuring out how to draw with a mouse, drawing might still take some more time than with a drawing tablet.

We use it to click here and there and that’s mostly it.

Now you have to combine the clicking with specific movements to create the lines and shapes we have in mind.

In theory, this might seem easy, but in practice, that’s not true.

It’s very different from holding a pencil and there’s a learning curve to it.

For that reason, that whole process will make you slower at drawing.

Or at least slower than what you’re used to.

Even after figuring out drawing with a mouse, since you don’t have as much freedom and control over your lines, drawing might still take some more time than with a drawing tablet.

Of course, it’s perfectly fine to take art slowly.

I always encourage my students to take as much time as they need in my courses.

However, I feel there’s no need to go at a much slower pace than what you’re used to, simply because the tool you’re using won’t let you go faster!

A Mouse Is Usually Cheaper

Even though there are many mouses with many functionalities around, they tend to, generally, be cheaper than a drawing tablet.

If you don’t need many buttons on them and just want the simplest mouse around, you certainly can find it for very few bucks.

So if you’re on a budget and want the cheapest option, then the mouse can be the way to go.

However, nowadays you can find drawing tablets at a very low price, so I feel it’s worth checking that out!

I do have a list of the 4 best drawing tablets that cost less than $50, so feel free to take a look and see if something catches your eye.

If you have the opportunity, I really think a drawing tablet will give you a much more comfortable drawing experience, even if you’re just testing the waters of digital art!

For Pixel Art, Try Both! (A Mouse Is Great)

Want to draw Pixel Art?

Then it’s really about preference!

A lot of pixel artists work with a drawing tablet and others with a mouse. It can be quite comfortable with both.

pixel art drawings of hand studies, done with a mouse!
These hand studies above were done using a mouse! (artist: austernotus)

It also really depends on the way you draw those pixels.

If you treat it like other styles of digital art, you might prefer a drawing tablet, but if you prefer to have a different control of your pixels, then the mouse will fit you better!

It’s good to try both and see what you prefer.

You can start with the mouse and get the feel of it.

Personally, I think the mouse works great for pixel art since its precision will give you more control over each pixel, so maybe it’s the same for you!

Try it out, see how you feel about it and if you don’t like it, then give the drawing tablet a chance as well.

What matters is finding the most comfortable drawing tool for you.

Should You Use A Drawing Tablet Or A Mouse For Drawing?

As with everything… It depends! It depends on what feels more comfortable for you but also your budget.

However, if you’re serious about drawing and painting digitally I really recommend getting a drawing tablet as soon as you can.

Your body will thank you and drawing, in general, will feel much better with it.

There are many options around, if you’re on a budget, check out this post with the best drawing tablets under 50$.

And if you want to know more about other budgets and drawing tablet sizes I also got a few recommendations in this post right here.

There’s a drawing tablet for everyone, depending on their needs and budget, so you’ll definitely find something perfect for you!

Back to the Blog

should i get a drawing tablet or use a mouse for drawing, pinterest cover