How a drawing tablet differs from a graphic tablet

By John Thatch / April 9, 2018
graphic tablet

The main difference between a tablet PC and a graphic tablet is apparent in the fact that Tablet PCs have screens you can draw on. While graphic tablets do not and further require a computer to run with but there are a few more details that you should know about as well. This article will discuss these differences.


Drawing tablet

wacom mobilestudio pro

Graphic tablet

intuos pen and touch m

What it means for you 

Normally artists start out practicing in traditional art. The next logical step there is a graphic tablet that allows you to work faster and save your work or fix your work in a way that wasn't possible before the digital age. Nowadays the last step for the modern artist is a monitor tablet or a tablet PC.

If you're a beginner it would be easier for you to start drawing on a tablet PC however these are slightly pricier than their graphic tablet counterparts. It would be easier because there is a certain disconnect between your ability to draw on the graphic tablet and having to look at a monitor instead.

For me, it took 2 months to get used to it but I know there are others who still struggled with it even after months and eventually upgraded to a pen display instead. This is not to say that drawing with a graphic tablet is hard. It isn't. It just takes practice and getting used to.

Graphic tablet benefits:

  • Express keys ( mechanical keys you can attack functions to like erase or fill)
  • Cheap Price
  • Great Life Span (years and years)
  • No Parallax
  • They are built to last unlike their screen counterparts
  • You never block your vision with your hand
  • Active stylus

Tablet PC benefits:

  • See where you draw
  • Easier to draw
  • Faster to draw than a graphic tablet
  • Portable, sketch as you go
  • Most regular tablets work with passive styli. But an active stylus is required for the art of drawing.


Generally, tablet PCs are not made for drawing but nowadays we see more and more tablet manufacturers also trying to capture the essence of a graphic tablet. As always we want to emphasize that it's not the tools that make the artist. It's the artist that makes the tools show their potential.

About the author

John Thatch

John Thatcher is a computer science educated artist. He uses technology to solve artist problems. His friends don't like it when he speaks of himself in the third person. But John does it anyway, because he's a rebel.


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