How to Use a Graphic Tablet with Photoshop

You’ve probably heard of graphics tablets and how you truly can’t draw digitally without one if you’ve ever tried to learn how to draw in Photoshop. 

I’ll demonstrate the explanation for this in this tutorial. I’ll go over how to operate a graphics tablet in Photoshop and how to make the most of its settings when making art.

My name is Aly, I have been using Adobe Photoshop for over five years now and I am Adobe Certified. In this article, I will be explaining how you can use a graphic tablet with Photoshop.  

Key Takeaways

  • Make sure you have a tablet that is compatible with Adobe Photoshop, as not all of them are. 
  • You will want your tablet to have a stylus so you can achieve good quality while drawing in Photoshop.

How to Use a Graphic Tablet in Photoshop

To follow this tutorial, you need a graphics tablet. It can be any tablet, small or big, with or without a screen – as long as it supports pressure sensitivity and Adobe Photoshop. 

Step 1: After connecting the tablet, the correct drivers must be installed. Look for the drivers made for your individual model on the manufacturer’s website. Restarting the computer after that is important! 

Step 2: The tablet should function once the drivers have been installed. For example, the cursor should move in sync with the pen’s tip. Make sure that everything is customized to your liking.

Step 3: This step really depends on if your tablet has a built-in screen or not. Most newer tablets do, but this is not always the case. 

If your tablet does not have a screen: You will need to plug in the USB cord that your tablet most likely came with into the tablet and the computer and that should allow access from your tablet to Photoshop once you open the program. 

Note: This depends on what brand, and style your tablet is. They are all different so I would suggest reading the instructions on your tablet first to make sure there are no mistakes being made. 

If your tablet has a screen: If your tablet has a screen you will be able to see if it is connected correctly by pulling up photoshop on your computer and seeing if the tablet will function correctly. 

Usually even tablets with a screen you will have to connect it to your computer via USB. But again check over the instructions.  

Step 4: After you have connected the tablet, find the brush tool in Photoshop and select the type of style and size you would like your brush to be. 

Step 5: Now take your stylus on your drawing tablet, and start to draw with it, you will notice it showing up on your screen on the computer in Photoshop. This is a good way to practice drawing and then be able to edit through the computer in Photoshop. 

Now you should be good to go, it’s really that simple. If your screen on the computer is not showing anything I would highly suggest going back and seeing if there are any connectivity issues you can explore further. 

Tip: Read the instruction manual for your specific tablet as they are not all the same and may require different steps than I have explained in this article. 

Final Thoughts

You are now fully informed on how to use a drawing tablet with Photoshop! Spend some time modifying the settings in your tablet’s settings.

The pressure sensitivity of the pen or stylus, the speed at which the cursor glides across the screen, and other settings are typically customizable. Once you find something that feels good for you, experiment with these settings.

Now that you’ve seen it, I hope it’s clear to you that a graphics tablet is absolutely necessary if you want to produce artwork quickly; a mouse just cannot provide you with the same range of options as a drawing tool. For Photoshop, a pen tablet is a necessity for every digital artist!

Any questions about using a graphic tablet in Photoshop? Leave a comment and let me know.

About Aly Walters
As a graphic designer who uses the entire Adobe Suite on a daily basis, Photoshop is my inspiration, especially since I'm Adobe certified and use it most often for my graphics and web-designed images.

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