4 Easy Ways To Break In Your New Tablet


So you bought yourself a new tablet. Pen tablets are all the rage in the design industry as an extraordinary asset for any designer or artist. Their incredible technology allows artists to have the comfort of traditional pencil to paper methods without all the fussy mess or extra supplies. Whether your new to tablets or just upgrading, getting comfortable with the handling and basics of the tablet is very important to its use.

Old Tablet vs New Tablet

My first tablet was an affordable UC-Logic version purchased at a computer show three years ago. The tablet is 5.5x4 in size with an accompanying ballpoint-like pen and holder. In fact, this setup often confused people at work who would reach for the nearest pen only to discover it had no ink. Although it wasn't as stylish as the latest tablets on the market, it did its job despite the abuse it encountered. Three years later and you'll see the pen is covered in teeth marks and taped together from a clumsy accident, which bent the metal securing the battery inside. Both the tablet and pen still work but it was definitely time for an upgrade.

My new tablet is a Wacom Bamboo much sleeker in design to my previous one. The pen is very solid with seemingly no chance of bending from my clumsy design habits, and actually took some time to get used to despite being a previous tablet owner. Firstly, the detection of each pen to the tablet differed slightly. I often found myself bringing the Wacom pen back to the center of the tablet for freer movement and better detection, whereas I had less restricted movement on the UC-Logic grid. However, the red tab at the bottom of the Wacom tablet is a much more convenient addition for portable pen storage by keeping both tools together at all times.

The biggest concern for new tablet owners is getting comfortable to the handling of the device. "How can I see what I'm drawing on the screen if I'm looking at the tablet," is the question I get asked the most from non-owners. So, here are four easy ways to break in your new tablet.

1. Use Tablet For Everyday Browsing

Programming yourself to use a tablet is similar to learning how to type without looking at the keyboard. For the most part you're looking at the screen the entire time until you take the pen too far from the tablet. One of the best ways to get used to this is to first use your tablet for everything except digital art. Use it to surf the web, highlight text, and scroll up and down a page. Also get familiar with the button on the pen, which can be used to bring up a program's normal options by right-clicking.

2. Experiment With Settings And Tools

One of the incredible benefits of using a pen tablet is the beautiful artwork that can be created. First make sure the tablet's driver is properly installed in order to reap the benefits of pen pressure in Photoshop. Pen pressure can only be utilized while using a tablet, otherwise the brushes stay solid without the ability to taper at the end like a pen stroke. Experiment with the brush settings to create custom brushes for your next project. Though tablets are more widely known for their use as tools to draw with in Photoshop, take advantage of using other tools with ease such as the pen, lasso, and slicing tools, amongst many others.

3. Practice Your Signature

Our signature and handwriting is something that stays considerably constant throughout our lifetime. Because handwriting often results in quick, swift strokes, writing in Photoshop is an easy exercise you can do to get used to a new tablet. Practice your signature a dozen times or write a few lines of sentences in order to get comfortable with the tablet's pen. When I first tried this, I was surprised to feel and see a difference in signature from the old to the new tablet.

4. Start A New Art Project

The best way to improve in any endeavor is to practice, practice, practice. Once you get used to the tablet the next step is to simply dive into a new art project. The first painting I created as practice with the Wacom tablet was a "Ladle of Awesomesauce." Though it looks rather simple, it actually took about 15 hours just because it was my first painting with the Wacom Bamboo. Now that I'm a couple of paintings in, I've realized the benefits of upgrading to the new device.


Breaking in your tablet can be a fun experience that enters you into a realm of possibilities with digital art. These simple tricks will make you comfortable with the unfamiliar handling in no time. Good luck!

Related Posts
  • Design & Illustration
    25 Amazing Blend Tutorials in Adobe Illustrator on Tuts+ Blend tool
    In this week's Round Up we've focused purely on beginner content for those who wish to get a better understanding on the Blend Tool and Blends! These aren't the only tutorials we have on Tuts+, in fact I'd like to share with you many of our others.Read More…
  • Photography
    The New Buyers' Guide To Graphics TabletsGraphicstablet preview newpre
    Graphics tablets are a creative-industry staple for a wide variety of tasks involving precision computer input. They're recommended for every photographer and designer, and pretty much a requirement for any kind of digital artist or painter. How, though, are they used? What makes them so indispensable in the industry? And what features are you supposed to look for when shopping for one?Read More…
  • Design & Illustration
    Tools & Tips
    How to Make, Use, and Manipulate a Calligraphic Brush in Adobe IllustratorPre1
    The Calligraphic brush in Adobe Illustrator mimics the look and feel of a calligraphy pen nib. Let's take its options for a spin to get everything you can from this brush type.Read More…
  • Design & Illustration
    Why Mouse Users Should Ditch Photoshop and Draw in IllustratorMousedrawing 400x400 fix
    Creating digitally gives amazing possibilities. You get so many colors, so many materials, every mistake can be fixed easily and it's all in a friendly, clean environment - you just need to turn off your computer afterwards. All these advantages are the reason why so many artists try their hands at Adobe Photoshop. This software, although so popular and powerful, is designed to work with a graphic tablet. Drawing with a mouse is possible, but it's hard, time consuming and very frustrating. On the other hand, there exists another product of the same company - Illustrator. And while Photoshop (and every other raster drawing software) favors tablet users, Illustrator doesn't mind creating with a mouse. Do you want to learn why?Read More…
  • Design & Illustration
    Interview With Illustrator Liran Szeiman1105 liran szeiman preview400
    Liran Szeiman is a talented digital artist from Spain with a unique style that fuses dark and cute elements into her illustrations. She has contributed her work to incredible art collectives like Hysterical Minds and is a frequent author here at Psdtuts+. In this interview, Liran discusses her journey as an illustrator and the importance of learning foundational art techniques.Read More…
  • Design & Illustration
    Do You Need a Graphics Tablet? Find Out What You Need to KnowGraphics tablet 400x400
    Are you thinking about ditching your mouse and replacing it with a graphics tablet? Do you need more information about features, uses and optional accessories before rushing out to buy one? Not sure which size will best suit your needs? Read on!Read More…