He is an online writer who loves gadgets that make his job easier. Although not tech-savvy, Mohsen enjoys writing about technology.
On average, a screened drawing tablet costs $850. The average cost of an LCD writing tablet, however, is only $25. So, by getting a writing tablet for drawing, you could save up to $825.
But is that even possible?
The short answer is no; you cannot use an LCD writing tablet for drawing. It might be a proper tool for doodling or sketching. But for detailed illustrations? No. Not at all.
6 Reasons an LCD Writing Tablet Is Not Good for Drawing
- The tablet's screen isn't pressure-sensitive enough.
- It has no internal storage for saving files.
- It has no undo button or eraser.
- It is monochrome—you can't change pen color.
- You cannot install apps like Photoshop or Procreate.
- Doesn’t have a backlight.
1. The Pressure Sensitivity Is Low.
While reviewing Xiaomi’s LCD Writing Tablet, I discovered that “the thickest line you can draw on the Xiaomi LCD writing tablet is 1/20th of an inch. And the thinnest line you can draw is as half thick as that,” meaning that the screen is not quite sensitive to pressure.
But that’s not the only issue. Combined with the low sensitivity of the screen, the thick, round tip of the stylus pen makes it impossible to create precise lines, which is not good for drawing.
2. No Internal Storage or Save Options for Digital Art.
How would you feel if your digital artwork, the one you spent 12 hours completing, just disappeared? I assume you wouldn’t feel happy about it, to say the least. But if you’re using a writing tablet for drawing, that’s a constant threat.
Most writing tablets—excluding the high-end options like reMarkable 2—don’t have internal storage. So, there’s technically no way to export your work.
Companies like Boogie Board have mobile apps to scan and digitalize the table screen through your phone’s camera. But the quality of the scanned images is disappointing.
As an artist, you want to have a device that’s at least as trustworthy as a piece of paper when it comes to storing your work. However, while writing tablets create a paper-like experience, they are not as safe as sketchbooks. And pressing a single button on your writing tablet could cost you the whole artwork.
3. Most LCD Writing Tablets Don’t Have an Undo or Erase Button.
With a mid-tier writing tablet, you have no room to make mistakes because there are no undo buttons and erasers. While it might not be a big issue in writing, it makes drawing impossible; one sloppy line and your artwork is ruined.
4. You Cannot Change the Pen Color in Most Writing Tablets.
If you’re okay with monochrome drawings, this one might not bother you. But it’s noteworthy that almost none of the LCD writing tablets have color options. Even worse, most of them come with a non-black color because the LCD is already black. (So, no black and white contrast either).
5. You Cannot Install Drawing Apps on Writing Tablets.
Top-tier, expensive versions aside, LCD writing tablets don’t come with an OS. All they carry is a battery to create an electrical pulse to clean the surface. So, don’t expect a writing tablet to run a drawing application or software.
The only tools you have for drawing are a not-so-sharp stylus pen and a blackboard-like surface. No brushes. No line tools. No nothing.
6. You Cannot Draw on Writing Tablets in the Dark.
LCD writing tablets are useless when the lights are out because most models don’t have backlights. So, you either rely on an external light source or give up on drawing in poor lighting.
The lack of a backlight in writing tablets particularly sucks because lots of artists prefer working in their artistic little dark dungeons, also called home offices.
Why Some Buy an LCD Writing Tablet for Drawing?
Despite being a poorly chosen device for drawing, LCD writing tablets are favored by some artists. Of course, they know too that writing tablets are not the best option for professional artworks. But they find writing tablets useful for doodling and mindless sketching.
Using a writing tablet for drawing could be beneficial because:
- It’s environment-friendly and helps you cut back on paper.
- It challenges your skills and techniques, thanks to limiting your options down to just a pen and paper.
- It’s relatively cheaper than an actual drawing tablet.
- It doesn’t have the blue light other LED tablets have, so it doesn’t disturb your eyes.
Get Yourself a Writing Tablet Here
Bottom Line: Not Good for Drawing, But Not Bad for Doodling
Having an LCD writing tablet in your arsenal of drawing tools is smart. While it’s not a good idea to count on it for professional artworks and detailed designs, you can still count on it as a digital paper for deploying raw ideas.
Writing tablets make mindless doodling and sketching easier when pulling together your ideas. They separate you from all the fancy tools you have on your drawing tablet, leaving you with no tool but creativity.
But again, if you’re already happy with doodling or sketching on a piece of paper, buying a writing tablet won’t necessarily add anything to your life as an artist. But if you want to experience a new form of scribbling, it’s definitely a must-have.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Mohsen Baqery