People are always surprised when they see me working on my computer with a pen instead of a mouse. I use the pen for everything from surfing the web, editing photos, to doing digital illustrations (yes, even with Illustrator's Pen Tool!) I've completely ditched the mouse (I mean seriously...I don't know where it is even if I wanted it!) and moved over to using my Intuos graphic tablet+pen for navigating around my computer screen. I feel like there are only three people in the world, people who love their graphic tablet+pen, people who gave up trying to use the tablet pen, and people who are debating the idea about getting one. This post is for the latter two!
5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD DITCH THE MOUSE
1. THERE IS A LEARNING CURVE!
Okay this isn't a reason, but something that needs to be brought up first. I can remember reading reviews before I purchased my first tablet about how natural it will be to draw with the pen. I've been doing digital work with a mouse for awhile, and when I got my tablet in it was so awkward to use. Besides the "cool" factor of the tablet, anything I tried to draw wasn't nearly as good as I could create with a mouse. I grew frustrated quickly and shoved my tablet into a drawer for years after that expectation. But first step you need to learn:
THE PEN IS NOT A MOUSE!
They do not function the same way, it takes a while to get use to, but OH so worth it! When you pick up a mouse the cursor stays right where you left it, until you put the mouse down and start moving on a surface. The tablet pen is not like that. When you pick up the pen the cursor hovers with you. Which makes navigating around your monitors quicker and with less movement. It might be awkward at first, but stick with it. It soon becomes natural, and you won't have a ~$100+ paper weight!
2. IT'S FASTER
Using your tablet+pen makes everything so much faster. YES there is a learning curve at first, but worth sticking with it. I can jump around my two large monitors with ease by just pointing and clicking instead of dragging the mouse around a surface. It's easier to select an item/right-click/move around. Using the pen tool or selection tool in any Adobe Suite is not only faster but more precise. I have my tablet express keys mapped to perform common functions for different programs. I think over all it has increased my productivity level. I feel so lost when I have to edit without my express keys!
3. PRESSURE SENSITIVITY
Photographers this is for you! Dodging and burning with the pen is awesome, it will vary your exposure just by you just adding pressure to the pen. You can even set the pen to vary in brush size, opacity, or both! Meaning that you can edit quicker with precise detail. I mean what are you going to do with all this extra free time? You also get the full effect of Photoshops clone tool when you are using the pen.
4. IT'S MORE NATURAL
I know this seems to contradict point number 1, but I mean a more natural hand position. The reason why I started using the pen was not because of speed and precision, it was actually because I started to develop carpel tunnel pains. Like most of us digis, I am on my computer all day! There is literally no way around it, and with that came the sharp elbow pains. I do a lot of calligraphy and noticed that I didn't have the pains when addressing 100s of envelopes, but as soon as I grabbed a mouse...different story. I stopped getting those pains within weeks of switching over.
5. IT'S CUSTOMIZABLE
Even though the pen is awesome and pretty customizable, it does have this graphic tablet surface that is really the star out of this set up. There are so many ways you can set your tablet workflow up. Which can be overwhelming at first. But what I did was slowly add common functions to my express keys and touch/rocker ring. Now my tablet's express keys adapts to whatever program I'm using. I absolutely love it.
So this was a quick overview on reasons why you should ditch the mouse and use a graphic tablet.
Have you been debating on getting a tablet?
I highly recommend getting a Wacom Bamboo tablet to start out with. I have a medium and large Intuos Tablet, and even a 13inHD Cintiq Tablet, that I might talk about in another post.
i have a tablet but just can't get use to it!
You really need to use it for everything. I use to just use it for digital paintings and would feel a little awkward using it. Once I started using the tablet+pen instead of a mouse, it became second nature, and my illustrations have improved dramatically.
If you are a tablet user I would love to hear how you feel about it, or if you have any other questions I'll answer them as best as I can!