Questions about getting started with tablets


I’ve been learning how to draw for the last month or so, and now I’ve decided to get a tablet, since what I really want is to get into digital drawing. That being said, while I’m very new to all this, I was getting better and my lines on paper are feeling much more convincing. So far I’ve taken the approach of not really paying attention to how good the line is, but paying attention to how good the shapes are, and my lines have improved over time on their own… but now I got a tablet.

It’s really hard to draw the lines I want to with the tablet, especially curves. My tablet is a lot smaller than my screen (about 1/4 of it, perhaps even a bit less since my screen is really big), so I tried to map it to a small area to see if that would help, and it did a little, but it still felt slippery and like I didn’t have much control over the pen. I cannot for the life of me draw a horizontal line with the tablet, no matter how small the line or how small the screen. It’s really weird, because I don’t even know why. The tablet’s texture is pretty similar to paper, and while it does slide a bit more than graphite on paper, the difference doesn’t seem that great, and yet, while I can quickly draw a straightish line from point A to B on paper, with the tablet, no matter how fast I move the pen, my line always comes out really bad. Even when I try to trace over the line I want to make with the pen up before drawing it, as soon as the pen touches the tablet it’s like watching a train wreck.

I’ve heard many people say this is normal when you’re starting out with a tablet, so I’m not that worried, but I guess I’m a bit afraid of picking up bad habits, so that’s why I’m making this thread. I want to start with the right foot.

So I have a few questions:

Should I get used to using the entire screen even with a small tablet, or should I really be mapping just a small part of the screen to the tablet? On one hand I feel that mapping the tablet to a small area helps me now, but I wonder if I will benefit from practicing with a bigger area, since then I’ll be able to do big lines with small movements (I don’t even know if this is a good thing or not), even if it takes me longer to adjust.

I’ve only recently been focused on using my arm to draw instead of my wrist and fingers, but I was wondering if it’s better to use the wrist since my tablet is so small (I can just zoom out if I want a bigger line), or if I should really practice with my arm. One more thing I don’t quite get when people say “draw with your arm”: do they mean to say “draw long lines with the arm”, or “draw every line with the arm, even small details”?

Should I zoom in and out often, or should I aim to keep the drawing at the same size always when drawing? The reason I’m asking this is because while zooming in makes it easier to draw details, it might make us lose track of the rest of the drawing. What about the scale and move tools, should I stay away from them while practicing for now and try to draw things the right size and in the right place?

Any other tips that might be useful?

I think that’s about all I can remember for now. I know some of these questions might be a little strange, but I just really want to make sure. Just out of curiosity, if you draw with a tablet, was it hard for you at first? How long did you take to get used to it?

Anyway, thank you in advance.