Electronic Drawing Pads

The coolest way to input “stuff”



Electronic Drawing Pads

What do they do, and why do I need one?

Electronic drawing pads are just what they sound like, a computerized way of drawing directly on your PC, and they can be very useful if you have a need. I found I wanted one just to do some elementary box and chart drawings to illustrate a book I was writing, but your needs may be more comprehensive, and there are a selection of drawing pads available to cater for all purposes.

The little pads can be found for under $100, but if you want to practice artistic skills you may prefer the larger pads that can cost you a couple of hundred dollars. The small pads can be used without moving your hand much, just like a mouse, so if you don’t have too much detail to draw, they are OK. The only awkward thing when you start is that the cursor always goes to the same place on the screen for a position on the electronic drawing pad, so if you are used to picking up a mouse to shift to another area, you will find it works differently.

Many pads also come with a mouse device that can be used instead of the pen - again, the actual position of the mouse on the computer drawing pad determines where it is on the screen.

Pens can be wired or wireless - I prefer wireless, but really it doesn’t make a lot of difference once you are used to it. Most pens have some sort of pressure sensing built-in, which means that if you software is compatible, and many modern programs are, you can draw thicker if you press harder.

Apart from pressing down, you can double click by bouncing the tip, and the pens have one to several buttons to control various actions. See how you feel about this, and what you might want - I find two buttons hard to get used to as an occasional user, but if you are heavily into drawing more could be better, as you can program the buttons to perform various functions.

Really, an electronic drawing pad is not necessary for most things at the moment, but if you are the type who wants to stay ahead of the curve, I predict that in a couple of years they will be the preferred input method for many graphical applications. Once you get used to inputting with a graphics pad, you might start wondering why you put up with a mouse!