Should You Buy a Pen Tablet for Drawing Anime and Manga?

A lot of aspiring anime and manga artists out there seem to be wondering if they should get a drawing tablet. Using a tablet can certainly bring a lot of benefits but there are also few drawbacks.

Below are some tips and suggestions that can help you decide weather or not it’s a good idea for you to buy one.

Drawing tablet illustration
Drawing tablet

When deciding weather or not you should get a drawing tablet you should consider the following:

  • How much do you really like drawing?
  • Are you willing to take the time to learn?
  • What can you afford?
  • How familiar are you with digital drawing software?
  • What benefits will you get from using a drawing tablet?

How Much do You Really Like Drawing?

Do you absolutely love drawing and are sure you are going to use the tablet? If you draw on paper on a regular basis or are maybe even thinking of turning your love of drawing into a career then it may be a good idea to get one. But if it’s a spur of the moment thing then you might want to sleep on it for a while and see if you still want one.

Are You Willing to Take the Time to Learn?

Even if you love drawing on paper learning to draw on a tablet will take some time and may feel akward at first. If you draw on a regular basis it shouldn’t take too long to adjust but it’s still something to consider before you get a tablet.

Can You Afford a Drawing Tablet?

If you are absolutely sure you are going to use the tablet and it won’t just sit there next to your computer collecting dust then the next step is to decide how much you want to spend.

Unless you are a professional artist you don’t need to get the most expensive biggest art tablet  but don’t go for the cheapest one either. Get something that’s reasonably good (reading some online reviews may help) for an amount that you are comfortable with spending.

If possible try the tablet before you buy it to see if it feels and works the way you expect. As already mentioned It will take you some time before you are completely comfortable when drawing with one but at least you will know what you are getting into.

If you are a younger person still in school a pen tablet can definitely be a bit pricey. But unless your family is having financial troubles your parents might be willing to pitch in. After all drawing is a not a bad hobby to have. Alternatively you can always get a part time job and save some money by buying a used tablet vs a new one (just make sure it’s working properly before you do).

How Familiar Are You With Digital Drawing Software?

Don’t forget that you will also need some digital drawing software to go with the tablet and that may cost extra. Though there are some fairly cheap and open source (free) options.
I would strongly recommend you try the software first before you buy the tablet. A lot of the paid stuff often comes with a trial period so you don’t have to buy it if you find that it’s not right for you.

Benefits of Using a Drawing Tablet

Once you get used to drawing with a pen tablet the benefits are plenty.

  • You can erase, delete or otherwise mondify your work as much as you need (no need to worry about the paper tearing or waiting for the paint to dry)
  • It’s easy to store and organize your work (you can make unlimited copies/backups)
  • You can upload, email and otherwise share your work fairly easily (no need to scan)
  • You can save space (no need for paper, canvasas and other art supplies)
  • You may save money in the long run (depending on how quickly you burn through art supplies)

Should You Buy a Drawing Tablet For Drawing in the Anime/Manga Style?

I find that drawing tablets are particularly well suited to the manga/anime cel shading and line drawing art style. I also find that other than the initial cost and the learning curve there really are not too many down sides to using a tablet. Pencil and paper are still probably the cheapest and fastest way to do line drawings but a tablet offers so much flexibility.

In the end consider all of the above and make your own decision. I’ personally have been using a drawing tablet for years and have no regrets at all about buying it.