Is a drawing tablet the correct way to approach 2D art?

I have a decent chunk of experience using Blender and making general art, but I came to a realization last year that my skills were stagnant, and that I wasn't going to improve without guided instruction. I joined CGCookie with the mindset that my skills were fundamentally flawed, and that I was essentially relying on tricks and shortcuts where real skill and knowledge should take precedent. I needed to relearn the basics.

Since joining, I've gone through quite a few of the modeling flows(Intro, Modeling in Blender), and I've really enjoyed them so far. However, my real weakpoint has always been texturing. Upon reaching the exercise for Introduction to Texturing, I was thoroughly sobered by how inadequate I am in that area. I have yet to complete that exercise.

Upon seeing advice in that very same exercise, I decided to look into 2D Concept. I've peaked into the Concepting flows, but have not begun them. I imagine when I do, I'm going to have to jettison all my knowledge about the subject and restart from scratch. However, before I do, I need advice.

My question: Is a drawing tablet the correct way to approach 2D art? Is drawing with a mouse a fundamentally flawed method? Are my skills poor because I lack the correct workflow and knowledge? or is it that I was doomed from the start because I learned it using a mouse? Is it both?

Normally, I wouldn't bother asking, and just continue to avoid those flows/courses until I'm ready to bite the bullet. However, with Black Friday coming up, I thought it'd be a nice time to get a tablet. I'd like to know if it's a good investment.

Sorry for the long post... it's kind of my thing.

  • No, a drawing tablet isn't strictly necessary.  I've done things with the pen tool over pencil drawings scanned in, but it is a heck of a lot more work than using a tablet.  The tablet is a tool that provides you better control over your strokes and curves; you're just leveling up your tools to have better control and output.  If you're feeling limited by the tools you're using and think getting a tablet will allow you to do a lot more, then get a tablet.

    I don't know if you play a musical instrument or not, but when I was looking for a new instrument myself, it was because I felt I had reached the limitations of my student model and I needed something to keep up with me.  I tried out some intermediate models and it was a whole new world.  The intermediate instrument allowed me to play quicker with better response than my student model.  It's a similar idea with drawing tools.  Again, if you're feeling limited by your current setup and a tablet would offer way more options, flexibility, etc., then go for it.  I'm very happy with my current setup and I know I'll be using it for a very long time.

    There are some great cheap tablets out there, so take a look and don't feel like you have to buy a Wacom, either.  Huion seems to be another competitor with very reasonable prices for the same specs.  Keep a look out for pressure sensitivity, programmable keys (if you like having a quick shortcuts), lines per inch (1000-2000 LPI seems to be enough, here's why), and get the biggest active area you can for the price and portability so you won't have to make cramped movements.

    I hope this helps and happy hunting!

  • silentheart00 Thanks for responding. I'm new to the site, and didn't realize that it doesn't notify me when someone posts to my thread. I only just now thought of checking the thread directly.

    I think you're spot on with the musical analogy. I think it'd probably be better for me to practice using traditional drawing and scanning rather than jumping from a mouse to a tablet. Practice the foundational skills first, and then make decide if I need to make the transition from there.
  • astute Yeah, no problem.  And yeah, I hope they add notifications when someone posts on your thread soon, but there's only 1 web dev dude, so I'm sure he has plenty to do.

    Hey, if that works for you, then go for it.  I did that for a while then as I began doing more and more in a digital space I got a tablet.  You got this.  Happy drawing!