Which is best for digital artists?

Whether you’re a digital artist or just want to simplify your work in the digital space, using a graphics tablet or pen display can be very beneficial. But how do you decide which one is right for you?

Each comes with its own pros and cons, depending on your preference. Knowing which one is best for your business (or even your hobby) is key to making the right choice, and we’re here to help. This article discusses the uses and key differences between pen displays and graphics tablets.


Pen displays vs graphics tablets: how do they work?

Basically, pen displays and graphics tablets have the same main function: they are two types of hardware input devices that (when connected to a display) transform your work into digital form using a stylus/pen. Whether it’s art, sketches, or designs, using a pen display or graphics tablet can be the easiest way to get your work onto a screen.

There are some major differences between pen displays and graphics tablets that can make them more or less useful for someone, depending on the type of work they are doing. The main difference is that one has a screen, while the other does not.

A pen display is both an input device and a monitor. This means that if the image or sketch you are working on can be projected on the main screen of your choice (PC, laptop, etc.), you will also be able to see it by moving the stylus on the screen of the Tablet ; the same way you might see your work when moving a pen across paper.

USE VIDEO OF THE DAY

Related: Why You Don’t Need to Buy a Better Graphics Tablet Yet

A graphics tablet, on the other hand, is just an input device. It doesn’t function as a monitor, which means you’ll have to look at the primary display you’ve connected the tablet to to see your work. You won’t see it directly on your work surface, so you’ll have to get used to moving the stylus across the tablet while your eyes watch the drawing on the monitor.

The benefits of a pen display


benefits of using the pen display

The main advantage of using a pen display, also known as a graphics tablet, is the fact that drawing on its surface is almost identical to drawing on paper. You do your work as you normally would and can see every change and detail in real time on the tablet’s screen as it transforms your design or artwork into digital form.

Another huge advantage of a pen display is that you don’t have to hook it up to a computer or monitor, as you can just use the graphics tablet on its own. This handy gadget acts both as an input device and as its own monitor.

This convenient visibility of your work can speed up your workflow, while you also have the option of viewing it from another angle, i.e. the primary monitor.

Portability is another big advantage of using a pen display. You’ll be able to draw on it anywhere, anytime, without depending on a computer or larger screen to see what you’re doing.

The disadvantages of a pen display

The main disadvantage of a pen display is that you have to be careful when handling it because the touch screen tends to be sensitive and less durable than a graphics tablet, especially if too much pressure is applied. Sudden movements or strong pressure can quickly cause screen degradation and color chips.

Another disadvantage of pen displays is that they are more expensive than graphics tablets.

Related: Digital Art for Beginners: What You’ll Need to Get Started

The benefits of a graphics tablet


benefits of graphics tablets

Unlike pen displays, graphics tablets don’t have as many fragile components; especially the work surface, it is much less fragile. Therefore, durability and strength are two of the biggest advantages when using a graphics tablet.

Many graphics tablets have pressure sensitivity which gives you more control and precision over your drawings or sketches and can make it look like you are drawing with a pen on paper every time you use the stylus on the surface of your drawing or sketching. work, which isn’t too different from a pen display. .


Graphics tablets are also more affordable than pen displays, so if you’re a digital artist looking for a budget option, this might be the best route for you.

The disadvantages of a graphics tablet

First, you will still need to connect the graphics tablet to a computer with a screen in order to use it. This means you won’t be able to use it if you don’t have access to a primary monitor; it’s not really portable as a pen display, despite its compact form.

You’ll only be able to view your real-time work on another screen, which means you’ll have to split your attention in two. This gives you a less hands-on experience, and you’ll constantly have to move your eyes from your hand to the screen, requiring hand-eye coordination.

Related: What you need to know before buying a graphics tablet

Both pen displays and graphics tablets have pros and cons

Choosing between a pen display and a graphics tablet will depend on your preferences and level of experience, as well as your budget and drawing experience expectations.

If you’re new to digital art, a pen display is probably the best choice because you’ll have a more hands-on experience of what you’re drawing in real time.

Graphics tablets are great for those on a budget or if you’re a more experienced artist who doesn’t necessarily need to see what they’re doing on the screen and has good hand-eye coordination.

The pros and cons of pen displays and graphics tablets we’ve discussed here should help you make the best buying decision for your money.


xppen16 - featured image
XP Pen Artist 16 Pro review: a professional graphics tablet for amateurs?

Despite the Pro part of the name, we can easily recommend the Artist 16 Pro to non-professionals who are passionate about their art.

Read more


About the Author

Marilyn M. Davis