This is a common debate between digital artists, since there are people who use both to create good art. To be quite honest, I personally have strong bias against using mouse for drawing & creating artworks. I have many reasons for that, which I illustrated in the rest of this post. This doesn’t mean that mouse doesn’t have any use or advantage at all, but it’s preferable to stay away from it whenever possible. At the end, it’s up to you to use whatever tool you think is best for you.
I summarized the points I made here below, in case you just want a quick answer to this comparison.
Quickly go to:-
- Key Points About Drawing With Graphics Tablets
- Key Points About Drawing With Mouse
- Using A Graphics Tablet Is More Natural, It’s Also Faster
- Graphics Tablets Offer Pressure & Tilt Sensitivity
- Health Warning Regarding Drawing With Mouse
- So, Is Mouse Totally Hopeless?
- So, What Graphics Tablet To Get?
- And Finally
- See Also:-
- Much easier & more comfortable to draw with than mouse.
- Allows you to draw faster (the same can be said about using graphics tablets for retouching & photo editing).
- Very important to have if you are serious about becoming a good artist.
- Offer key features like pressure & tilt sensitivity.
- Is an additional cost some aren’t willing to pay.
- The healthier choice.
- Good for pixel art.
- Can only be used if you totally can’t afford a graphics tablet.
- Needs to be used with caution, as it can cause strain on your hand.
Compared to the mouse, using a graphics tablet is similar to using a pen for writing or drawing. Your hand is more relaxed when you use it. While mouse is used in one hand position that’s put some strain on it, and can be get your hand cramped if used for a long time.
Since graphics tablet allows you to point at any point of the screen very fast, it cannot just make you draw or retouch comfortably, but faster as well.
In my early days in using Photoshop, I used mouse primarily for everything. Once I eventually got a graphics tablet & got used to it, I now can’t imagine using the mouse for any sort of drawing & editing anymore (unless for very simple stuff maybe). The same thing can be said about drawing, painting, as well as photo editing & retouching. (unless you primarily color using the selections & path tools).
Graphics tablets are used for more than just moving the mouse. They also support pressure sensitivity. A feature that allows you to draw like the pencil, in that the more you press the pen on the tablet surface, the thicker or lighter the lines or strokes you create get. They can do much more than that based on the art program you use (Photoshop & Corel Painter support many settings for that for one). Pressure sensitivity is useful for both drawing, painting & retouching.
Some graphics tablets support another similar feature called tilt sensitivity. Which allows you vary the shape of strokes by tilting the pen. This is another feature made to allow you to draw the same way you do with pencils & other drawing tools. Not all tablets or art programs support it though, I know Photoshop & Corel Painter do to name some. Tilt sensitivity are available in higher-end Wacom devices.
Both pressure & tilt sensitivity are features the mouse lacks. Alongside with drawing faster & in a more relaxed way, they allow you to create better artworks.
While I just illustrated the advantages of graphics tablets, let me repeat the biggest issue for using the mouse for drawing & the like. It puts strain on your hand, and using it for editing can causes you some issues like RSI & tennis elbow. In my opinion, it is not worth it to save money by using the mouse in the long term.
If you must use the mouse, make sure you take regular breaks whenever you draw that way at the very least (this same advice goes for doing anything repetitive). Just because there are people who have been fine with the mouse so far, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful about doing the same.
To be fair, just because the mouse is the technically inferior device for drawing & editing, this doesn’t mean you can’t create great artworks using it. Many artists did that for a long time now, Youtube has tons of videos of people doing that. Having practiced on using it, as well as knowing how to draw, shade & the like is more than enough to do so. It’s just not the ideal choice for that, for the reasons I mentioned above.
From what I know, mouse is a good choice in one area:- creating pixel art, where you place pixels one by one to create your artworks. I can’t imagine using a graphics tablets to create art like that, unless I don’t mind greatly zooming in to make sure I place each pixel correctly.
In case you decided to get a graphics tablet after reading this post. Feel free to check out my other posts about graphics tablets in this blog, I have been writing about them for a while now. Graphics tablets range from the low-end that allows you to draw comfortable with pen to the high-end pen display that you see your drawing on.
I am aware was probably harsh with the way I criticized the mouse, but as someone with hands problems, I cannot emphasize more against the importance of preserving your health. There’s also all sorts of advantages for graphics tablets that cannot be ignored. There’s a learning curve to drawing with graphics tablet & the mouse, so it’s better to do it with the better device.
I hope this post has helped you see the difference between drawing with mouse of graphics tablet is better. I am aware of being biased against the mouse, but I hope I was fair in my comparison here. Tell me any thoughts you may have in the comments section.
I hope I answered your question about what’s better for drawing, a mouse or graphics tablet.
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