Digital Art Drawing Pads: Are they worth it?







In this article, we are going to talk about digital art drawing pads and how they can help new artists improve their skills.

Software, laptops, computers, and drawing tablets can be expensive, no doubt. Not to mention the HUGE learning curve involved with some of the newer technology and software on the market.

The drawing tablets, won’t help you become a better artist either. With a click of a button or wave of the pen, you can correct an imperfect circle, straighten out a crooked line or fix up a misshapen square.

As a beginner, it’s important to be able to draw spheres, cones, and squares as accurately as possible. Without the fundamentals in place, the beginner will never reach the advanced levels of drawing or painting.

The tablets do not provide the tactile and visual feedback that a typical drawing surface can give to a beginner artist.

How are watercolor pencils going to look on smooth paper or textured paper? What’s the difference between graphite and charcoal? How does it feel to draw with these items on various surfaces?

Different mediums such as charcoals and colored pencils render different results. The new artist must learn how to work with various mediums to advance from beginner to expert. For example, charcoal can  smudge up the paper, and watercolors can bleed all over the drawing surface. How do you correct that?

Making mistakes is part of the learning process. A drawing tablet makes it easy to correct mistakes or make quick changes. Whereas, on canvas and paper, mistakes are harder to correct.

So…Why am I recommending drawing tablets to beginners?

Technology is a part of life. It’s prevalent in everything we do. All industries use technology and it is going to keep evolving.

The beginner artist has to be up to date on the latest trends in digital and traditional art if they want to pursue an art career. So it would be foolish to forgo any digital drawing pad when it can be a great resource for the beginner.

Digital drawing pads and other forms of technology have their place in artist’s repertoire. 

How can a digital drawing pad help the artist?

Sometimes it’s hard to pick a suitable subject to draw even for advanced artists. Experimenting with different subjects can be time-consuming and confusing. Wouldn’t be nice to see the drawing in all its glory before time and materials are invested?

Paints, canvas, and other drawing supplies are expensive.

  • A set of 6 – 0.7oz bottles of Acrylics can cost $30.00 or more
  • A starter set of 10 bottles of Oil paints 40mL can cost over $70.00
  • A bulk package of 40 16 x 20 canvases can cost about $90.00

As a beginner, you are going to go through a lot of supplies before you get a good painting. With a drawing tablet, a beginner can practice many times before painting the actual picture.

Digital drawing of a mountain landscape using the Ipad Pro and stylus

Technology can help to see a finished piece before drawing it and using expensive supplies.

With a drawing tablet, you can plan out your whole drawing before you set the brush to canvas or pencil to paper. You can pick out the color pallets, test out the shades, map out the whole composition in a matter of minutes instead of hours. It’s amazing the realism that can be achieved using a drawing art tablet.

If you can afford it, drawing tablets can help in the Artists’ journey.

Technology will be a part of the art industry. Robotics, video games, digital art all use technology to create images for various industries.   But tablets do not take the place of learning to draw or paint.

The advanced and beginner artist have to practice every day to develop the skills. Even Michelangelo and DaVinci practiced their craft daily.

Drawing tablets are just aids that can help the beginner to master the art and create images. Creativity happens in the brain and technology can helps to bring it out.

Do not discredit drawing tablets

A drawing tablet can help the artist conceptualize a project which will save on time, money and supplies. A digital drawing pad can show what a finished piece can look like before painting the bigger picture.

The bottom line: Digital drawing art pads are worth the investment. Even the pros use them before painting big projects. Technology is and will always be a part of the artist’s life. The drawing pads can help a beginner artist see the whole project before investing time and money into a piece.

What Digital Art Drawing Pad Should I Buy?

In the next article, we will go over some of the drawing pads on the market ranging from very expensive to budget-friendly devices. Stay tuned.

You don’t have to spend the big bucks on the state of the art drawing tablets such as Ipad Pro 2020 (Although it’s very nice.) There are some inexpensive tablets that are just as good. Even an older Ipad can work as well. Be sure to do your research and check out other vendors. I’ll provide in-depth reviews of the tablets on the market that will help in the purchasing decision.

Beginner Drawing Lessons: The next steps on the Artist’s Journey

What classes should a beginner artist take?

In this article, we will explore the various types of classes that are best for beginners and how to research them.

YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram have a ton of lessons that cover all types of art: pastels, oil painting, charcoal, portrait, landscape, and figure drawing.

Maybe you are excited by all the options and want to learn it all.

Or maybe, like most beginners, you are overwhelmed and intimidated by all the options.

Realistic portraits, seascapes, landscapes, can be hard to draw… no doubt. Those subjects require lots of practice and patience mastering. So a beginner wonders what are the appropriate steps to take.

Naturally, after studying the fundamentals, a beginner wants to advance and sign up for specific classes like human figure drawing and portraits. But unfortunately, those courses can be challenging even for intermediate artists. The first attempts usually render poor results and that’s when beginners quit and say

“I do not have talent”

A beginner may not have the skills to draw like the pros. But don’t get discouraged. Drawing takes time to master.

The pros have been drawing for years and have built up their skills. The drawings that you see them doing are the ones that worked. Believe me if you saw their sketch books and earlier drawings you’d be surprised by the lack of quality. Experts say that it over 10,000 hours of practice to render a good drawing. 10,000 hours!!

My personal experience has taught me, as long as the passion is there the skills will come with a little work and a lot of practice

A great place to start is to draw what you love. What got you interested in art and drawing in the first place?

  • Cartoons
  • Animated movies
  • Art Museums
  • Renassiance paintings
  • Other art forms

There are plenty of beginner-friendly FREE lessons both online and live.  I can recommend some great inexpensive online lessons (under $100.00) The Virtual Art Instructor offers classes in all mediums: colored pencil, water colors, pastels, portrait and animal drawings. Also,  check out Art magazines, they list courses that are inexpensive and beginner friendly.

Overall the lessons should instill confidence and passion. Be sure you understand the cost.  Sometimes the course description fails to show ALL the materials needed for the class.

How to determine if a LIVE class is Beginner Friendly

The best way to determine the skill level of the course is to ask. Try to sit in on a live class and talk to the instructor. Most classes at community centers and local colleges are beginner-friendly. Start there. The best classes are made up of both beginners and advanced beginners.

On this website, we are going to make sure that everyone acquires the basic skill set to develop drawing confidence. With hard work and dedication, any type of art form is within reach. Portrait, human figure drawing, or other detailed work can be challenging but doable. All that is needed is the basic skill set.

Don’t Try To Be Original. Be simple. Be Good Technically, and if there is something in you it will come out.

Henri Matisse

Art is not an exact science and there is no formulaic approach. Books, webinars, and online tutorials cover theory or repetitive drills that offer little insight on how to apply those exercises to actual drawings. In the beginning, it’s important to build confidence and passion.

Color mixing, shading, and proportion are challenging even for the pros. And to a beginner, those topics seem out of reach. It’s no wonder why a lot of beginners just give up.

Bottom Line: Remember why you started drawing in the first place

Picking a certain type of art form can be difficult for the beginner. The best approach would be to start with what you love and go from there. Art once learned can open up a lot of creative doorways and it’s important to maintain a positive mental attitude.

Keep drawing and keep learning.

Quality is within reach to the ones who stay the course.

Here’s to happy drawing!

Please comment and let me know what you think about the wonderful world of art.

How To Become a Professional Artist

Do you really want to be a professional artist? Read Below

The REAL STORY behind the profession

In this article, we will cover the realities of how to become a professional artist and give some tips on how to pursue the artist’s life.

Deciding on any career can be challenging. After all, there is more to a career than making great money and doing work that you love. You have to consider the impact that it will have on your personal and professional life. This article will cover the realities of the profession to consider before making the commitment.

Answer this question: Are you a die-hard fan or a casual fan of art?

You might like Classic rock and consider yourself a die-hard fan of the genre. Hundreds of CDs and albums from various groups adorn your bookshelves and CD racks.

You may like a certain band and their music, but you are not interested in who influenced them, how they learned to play, or where they started out. You just like them because their music is fun to listen to.

It’s the same with art…Some people enjoy sketching and painting, but learning about color theory, perspective drawing, advance shading techniques, etc. is a complete turn-off. They’re more interested in drawing the fun pictures, cartoons, landscapes, forests, etc. than learning about life-like portrait work and human figure drawing.

The die-hard fans, on the other hand, want to master ALL the techniques in art. They want to learn human figure drawing, realistic portraits, acrylic/oil painting, and color theory. They are not intimidated by the competitiveness of the profession or the amount of work involved.

How can you tell if you are a Die-Hard fan of art?

It’s easy to fall into the romance of being an artist. Where you imagine yourself painting along the Seine river and selling your work to all your adoring fans. Or having your work displayed at a prestigious gallery 

The art profession is more than creating pretty pictures. The professional artist has to create a body of work that sells. They have to find clients, be up on the latest trends and market their work.

So, the real question is: do you really want to learn the business of art: how to sell and create it?  If the answer is yes, then you have to do the research!!!!!

Start off with a basic google search “how to become a professional artist” and see how many options there are. Sign up for art blogs and subscribe to art magazines and newsletters.

Immerse yourself in the career!

Learn everything you can.  Go to the library and find books on art. Even take a couple of online courses. Find out who the “real players” are in the art community and subscribe to their newsletters and blogs. Maybe, take a couple of their courses.

Be sure to attend open houses at local art and design schools and talk to the instructors about training and employment opportunities. Even if you don’t want to pursue a degree, the information is valuable.

Most instructors will tell you the cold hard truth about getting jobs and finding clients. That’s the information you want because that’s exactly what you’ll have to do after graduation. Listen to them and don’t fall for the hype.

What can you do as a professional Artist?

Some artists teach in schools, community centers, or studios. Freelance artists, sell their work online, art fairs, and studios. Others may work for Ad agencies developing comics and illustrations for magazines. Some artists get into video game designs, animation, or work in architectural firms.

Again, do your research. Find out about the business and how competitive the job market is. There could be some things that you can combine with art such as psychology, and sociology and become a licensed art therapist. Or you could become a Special Ed teacher and develop art lessons for special needs students.

Keep thinking and keep researching. Be creative. After all, you are a creative type, right? Check out Greg Houston’s “Book Illustration That Works.” The book covers the how to’s of illustration and typical assignments that a client would give to an ad agency. Another book to check out Andrew Loomis’s Book “Figure Drawing for all It’s Worth.” It covers how to draw human figures in proper portions for magazines and ads. The does give drawing assignments that a typical Ad agency would give for a campaign.

Having a passion for art doesn’t equate with having a career in art.

If nothing that you’ve read so far resonates with you, then a career in commercial art may not be for you.

That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it as a hobby and sell some of your pieces. But pursuing it as a career could prove to be more challenging than learning about the medium.

It really depends on what you want to do with art and what your skill level is. Most people want to enjoy art as a hobby while they are employed. There is nothing wrong with that approach and if that describes you then GOOD for you! You found a lifelong pursuit instead of a job.

Watch out for online courses that promise a lucrative career.

There are tons of online courses that promise to help get your art career off the ground. But keep in mind it’s still hard work and there is no substitute for hard work. You won’t have a lot of help in the beginning.

Here are three things to consider before spending your hard-earned money on courses.

1. Learning the craft could take years to master depending on how quickly you pick up the skills.

2. Developing a body of original work also could take years depending on how quickly you can produce work.

3. Finding an audience that likes your work could be challenging.

Legitimate online art programs will teach you how to paint/draw and market the work. But there is no guarantee that your work will sell.

Some courses claim you can become a paid artist in a year. Keep in mind everybody’s abilities are different and so are the results. Positive reviews and testimonials are from the people who succeeded.

But…what about the ones who failed or are struggling? Does the course provide options and help for those people? Be sure to find out if there are additional resources that help if you are struggling.

Everybody is different. Just because the course worked for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you.

“One size does not fit all”

Do your research and make sure the course is a good fit. Don’t fall for the hype and promises.

The courses can be expensive and don’t include the materials in the fee. Some courses cost thousands of dollars plus materials. The legit courses will give a guarantee after a few weeks of signing on. Be sure you understand the terms of the guarantee.

Be Ever Vigilant

There are a lot of scammers out there preying upon “creative types”. They promise heaven and the world too. Just be smart and realize if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. There is no such thing as a get-rich-quick scheme.

But I really want to be a professional artist!

Ok, I get it.
You love to paint Seascapes, landscapes, people, and animals. The passion is deep and nothing is going to stop you.

Take this little quiz to see if the profession is for you.

The Realities of becoming a professional artist.

At the beginning of the career, you have to play many roles, business planner, marketer, writer, builder, teacher, secretary, and website developer, until you start making money. Or pay someone to do these things, which can get expensive.

Setting your own hours, being your own boss, and keeping all the money for yourself sounds like a sweet deal. But running a business is HARD work. Furthermore, you are not really your own boss you still have to answer to the client’s wishes and demands.

Lots of people fall for the “romance” of starting a business and later realize that there is nothing romantic about it at all especially when the money runs out.

Quiz Time

There are no right or wrong answers. The questions are designed to give insight into the commercial art profession.

There are two avenues to follow:

  1. Work for someone else.
  2. Or, start a business.

1. Are you willing to take all the risks of running a business? Like financial risks? Especially, during an economic downturn. Think about the Pandemic and how many businesses closed down and how many people lost their jobs. What about health benefits? Dental medical etc.? What if you need major surgery and can’t work? Medical procedures are expensive.

2. Do you like working for someone else where the work and income are predictable? Believe it or not, even if you are working for someone else the same principles apply for the self-employed. You’ll have to hunt down good art that will sell, find clients, schedule showings, and work on tight deadlines.

3. If, want to open up your own studio, are you willing to learn about business practices:, marketing, planning, financing, how to obtain permits, licenses, etc.

4. How long are willing to stick with the business until you start making money: one year, two, three years, etc.? Most start-ups fail within two years, due to a lack of planning and effort. Treat your business like a job then you have a better chance of success. Make sure you get up a certain time, make your own hours, look for clients, set daily goals, and finish projects by a certain deadline, etc.

4. Are you a competitive person? Would you enter art contests, bid for commissions on jobs or assignments? Are willing to provide free samples of your work? Even if you are working for someone else, the agency needs to make money and you have to produce work that sells or puts them ahead of their competition. Commercial art is competitive.

5. Do you have a large body of work that can sustain you throughout the years or can produce work on a regular basis?

6. Are you willing to use all means available to you to sell your work including going to art fairs throughout the world and utilizing social media?

7. Finally, How do plan on sustaining yourself while building your business? Would you consider teaching or working part-time etc.?

Do you see why most people work for someone else and use their creative talents as side gigs?

Do not let the above questions turn you off.

There is no reason why you can’t pursue art as a career if you are passionate about it. You will find a way to make it work. You don’t need to spend money on a degree or formal training. The internet is a great resource for art instruction for beginners.

In fact, some of the best artists in the world are self-taught. What determines your success is YOU. How hard are you willing to work? Are you willing to take the time to develop the skills, and set-up your business?

A truly passionate person doesn’t have a back-up plan. Nothing is going to derail their goals to become a professional artist.

Are you that kind of person? Because there is no one to urge you on if you quit. It’s up to YOU.

Don’t underestimate the value of working for someone else to learn the business

The best approach to learning the business is to work for someone else. The experience will give insight into business practices. Then you’ll be able to make an intelligent decision regarding going into business for yourself.

For more information on careers in art visit the occupational outlook website

Did this article help? Please leave comments below.

Why People Believe, they Can’t Draw

Most adults believe that can’t draw because they never embraced their innate desire to draw.

Human beings have been drawing since they’ve walked the earth. The paintings were used to communicate the location of game, water and shelter.

Do you think that they had any formal training? Was their worked criticized?

Don’t be fooled painting and drawing is in all of us.

Kids draw all the time and all over everything. They draw on the walls, the kitchen tables, the chalkboards at schools. They use paintbrushes, crayons, and their fingers. There is nothing that kids won’t draw with. Paints, crayons, colored pencils are no match for kid’s creative talents.

More primitive drawings from a cave in Bulgaria

Castles, dragons, and fighter planes are their masterpieces. And their audience is anyone that will listen.

Supportive parents will ask them about their wonderful creations. And children will talk incessantly about their works of art.

Then as they grow older something happens. Their drawings are criticized and told that their work looks like crap. The enthusiasm for drawing fades. Then as adults, they believe that can’t draw or paint.

Maybe that describes you?

Art Books and classes don’t meet the beginner’s needs.

“Draw what you see” is the typical catchphrase invoked in art classes and books alike. A beginner is supposed to take a look at a scene or an object and begin to draw it accurately.


Before you, can “draw what you see” you have to understand “how to see.” Everybody’s interpretation of a scene or object will be different. Without a proper “reference”, or the proper “vision” the beginner will be floundering around on the page trying to render the object as accurately as he can.

Eventually, frustration will set in and then the beginner gives up.

The belief:

“I cannot draw” will be forever ingrained in the mind.

The authors of beginning art books have a limited amount of space in which to write and the publishers are very specific on what is included.

Video tutorials address the step-by-step issues but they fail to show how to develop a unique style. The expert instructors have been drawing and painting for so long that they have forgotten what it’s like to be a newbie.

On this site, I know exactly what it’s like to be a newbie. I am struggling with the same issues that most beginners struggle with, but I have achieved some success. And I will show the beginner step by step how to draw basic shapes that make up more complex pieces.

Triangles, squares, cubes, circles, ellipses, and other basic shapes are used in all paintings and drawings. The beginner has to learn to see them. These shapes exist trees, mountains, rocks, people, and animals.

Once the beginner understands how to break down these objects into their basic shapes, then they can draw anything with a high degree of accuracy. For example, a human arm or leg is just a tapered cylinder with a triangle attached at the end. The human head, eyes, and ears are also made up of basic shapes.

Once the newbie combines good visualization skills with the 12 drawing concepts, there is nothing that they cannot draw. Realistic portraits of friends and family, beautiful watercolor landscapes, and detailed animal drawings are within reach of the beginner if they stick with the practice.

And soon the beginner will become a Master Artist.

Let’s bust this limiting belief ” I cannot learn to draw” and make some awesome drawings.

Did you know that Anthony Hopkins considered art as a career? Check out this interview with Anthony Hopkins

Click here to begin your amazing journey!

Are You a Beginner?

The term “beginner” is thrown around loosely on the internet and art books. The word seems to have different meanings for different people.

Here’s my definition of a “True Beginner”

  • You have no idea what art is in fact you can barely use a pencil or pen. ( Thank god for smartphones and text messaging.)
  • You might have some pictures hung on your wall.
  • You’ve been to an art museum once or twice in your life.
  • You think that it takes “talent” to learn how to draw.
  • You just want to learn how to draw.
  • If any of these conditions fit you then you are in the right place

Click here to begin your journey



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