How Do Digital Drawing Tablets Work?

How Do Digital Drawing Tablets Work

If you're like me, you've probably wondered how those digital drawing tablets work. They don't use paper, so how do they work?

Well, I'll explain how digital drawing tablets work and how you can use them to create fantastic artwork.

Quick overview: How do drawing tablets work?

How do drawing tablets work

A digital drawing tablet is a device that allows you to draw or paint on a computer screen. It is also a pen tablet, graphics tablet, or input tablet.

The tablet consists of a flat surface on which you can rest your hand and arms while drawing and a stylus, a pen-like instrument used to draw on the surface. The stylus is pressure-sensitive, so the harder you press, the thicker the line will be.

Moving the stylus across the tablet's surface sends a signal to the computer that is interpreted as cursor movement. This enables you to draw directly onto the computer screen, just as if you were using a pen and paper.

Most digital drawing tablets also have special software that gives you additional control over your drawings. For example, you can use the software to create different “brushes” with different colors, textures, and sizes. This makes it easy to develop realistic-looking drawings or paintings.

What is the main advantage of a drawing tablet?

The main advantage of a drawing tablet is that it offers users a more natural experience when working with digital art applications like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Lightroom. Alternatively, you can use an iPad as a drawing tablet as they also have some of the best apps like Procreate and Vectornator.

With a drawing tablet, you can hold the pen like a real pencil and draw directly on the tablet's surface. This gives you much more control over your line work and allows for more precision when making selections or painting. When using a traditional mouse, you must click and drag your cursor across the screen to create lines and shapes.

Where does the stylus in a drawing tablet get its power from?

The stylus in a digital drawing tablet gets its power from a battery inside the pen. The battery is connected to a sensor that detects the pressure and angle of the pen tip.

Transmission of electromagnetic waves by the pen tablet.

The electromagnetic pen tablet uses a digital pen to directly input images, letters, and symbols on a computer. The pen emits an electromagnetic field that the drawing tablet uses to track the pen's location.

This information is then transmitted to the computer, which converts it into electrical impulses interpreted as image data.

Stylus – power generation and pen measurements

Generating the power of the pen and measuring how it moves are the two essential functions of a digital drawing tablet's stylus.

The power generation function is crucial because it lets the tablet know when the pen hovers over the tablet's surface and when it's touching down and drawing. And for the people who make fun effects using photoshop, this is the most important thing.

There are two main ways that manufacturers achieve this. The first and most common method uses electromagnetic induction. This works by using an electromagnetic coil in the tablet's base, which generates a magnetic field.

How does a drawing tablet locate and track the position of the stylus?

How does a drawing tablet locate and track the position of the stylus

There are two ways a digital drawing tablet can locate and track the position of the stylus. The first is by using an electromagnetic field, and the second is by using optical sensing.

An electromagnetic field, also called EMF, is generated by an inductor coil located around the perimeter of the tablet's working area. The stylus has a magnet, and as it moves around the tablet, the changing magnetic field is detected by sensors. The EMF method is used in most Wacom tablets.

Optical sensing uses a grid of infrared LEDs and sensors located around the perimeter of the tablet's working area. As the stylus moves, it interrupts the grid of infrared light, and the sensors detect this interruption. The optical sensing method is used in some Wacom tablets and in most other brands of digital drawing tablets.


Digital drawing tablets come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, but they all serve the same purpose: to allow artists to draw digitally. These tablets usually come with a built-in screen and a stylus, which is used to draw on the tablet's surface. The image is then transferred onto a computer or other digital device.

Some tablets also come with pressure-sensitive tips, which allow artists to create different thicknesses of lines based on how hard they press down on the tablet. This feature is often used with software that simulates traditional painting and drawing techniques.

These tablets have become increasingly popular recently, offering a more natural and comfortable drawing experience than using a mouse or trackpad. For many artists, digital drawing tablets are now an essential part of their workflow.

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