Paper Graphic tablet: what's the difference?

For many years now, the graphics tablet has become a part of the daily life of designers, graphic artists and other illustrators. Although the use of this tool has been democratized with the evolution of technology, the choice between drawing on paper or directly on the computer is a question that many users ask themselves. Thanks to the paper graphics tablet, this choice is no longer necessary. It is now easy to rediscover the feeling of drawing on paper with all the advantages of drawing on a computer.

What is a paper graphics tablet?

The paper graphic tablet, also called scanner tablet, is a new type of device, whose development is now promoted by several brands. The principle of the paper tablet is simple: it allows you to draw on a sheet of paper, while reproducing your graphic creation live on a smartphone or a computer, thanks to a dedicated software.

How does the paper tablet work?

Like a traditional graphics tablet, the paper tablet will allow you to precisely draw your numerous sketches and illustrations by using pressure levels to transcribe your pencil strokes as faithfully as possible.

The big difference with standard peripherals, lies in the installation of a sheet of paper directly on the operating surface. You can thus draw on the computer with the comfort of using paper. The sensors installed in the tablet scanner will allow you to precisely track the movements and tilt on your drawing surface, thanks to a magnetic ring that you will have installed on your ballpoint pen, felt-tip pen or pencil. The latest tablets, such as the ISKN Repaper, use up to 25 magnetometers to measure the direction and intensity of the magnetic field generated by the ring fixed on your drawing implement. So try not to use your equipment next to objects containing magnets or that may disturb the magnetic field. Also remember to secure the sheet of paper with the clips provided with the tablet, and do not to move the ring while using it to avoid distorting the transcription of your sketch on your computer.

What equipment should I use with my paper tablet?

With the paper tablet, you do not draw directly on the graphics tablet with a pen, but on a sheet of paper placed on the operating surface. Thanks to the magnetic ring, you can use any of your pencils to make your graphic drawings. Connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth, to a Windows computer that may require the installation of drivers, or to a MacBook via the USB port, the compatibility of the scanner tablets with all devices allows you to do vectorial or matrix drawings.

Just like a graphics tablet without screen, the paper tablet is also compatible with many drawing softwares, whether Windows or Mac OS, such as Gimp, Adobe Photoshop or a vectorial software such as Illustrator, or even more specialized softwares such as Lightroom, Canvas, or those provided directly by the manufacturer. This allows you to keep using your favorite drawing software, with all provided brushes, layer management, zoom and graphic palettes, while keeping the comfort of drawing on paper.

The paper tablet provides many advantages.

The paper tablet combines a traditional graphics tablet without screen and drawing on paper. This specificity provides many advantages across many use cases.

Blending digital and traditional drawing.

Until today, to draw a new graphic work, the designer, graphic artist or illustrator had to make a choice: draw directly with a graphics tablet and an electronic pen, or use pencils with a sketchbook. A traditional graphics tablet works directly with a digital painting software to make all the necessary retouching or colorization work. However, although technologies have been able to get closer to the sensation of drawing on paper, the use of a pen and the artificial operating surface did not allow to fully perceive them. On the other hand, working on a notebook or a drawing board is very fast and intuitive, but when it comes time to transfering your freehand drawing to a computer for retouching, it becomes an obstacle requiring the use of a powerful digitizer. Thanks to the paper graphics tablet, the combination of drawing on a sheet of paper, as well as the live reproduction of your lines on the graphic software, allow you to keep the sensations of traditional drawing, while giving the possibility to use powerful computer programs.

A perfect tablet for digital drawing beginners.

For digital drawing beginners, the use of a graphics tablet can be confusing, because simultaneously looking at the computer screen while working on the drawing area is not intuitive. The only existing alternative, until now, was to invest in touch tablets with an LCD screen, hence allowing you to directly see on peripherals what you are drawing. Unfortunately, the high cost, even for entry-level or mid-range drawing equipment, can make it difficult for beginners to get into the world of digital painting. Similarly, buying a touch tablet like an iPad pro or a Microsoft Surface Pro, won't provide the expected precision to draw optimally, even with an HD screen. The paper tablet has solved this problem by offering to every beginner to learn how to draw, or for professionals to perfect their technique, while stepping into the digital world thanks to the possibility of digitizing live drawings in high resolution. Thanks to your favorite pencils and to the great precision of the tablet’s graphic sensitivity levels, you'll work with a better grip, and are not disturbed by the use of styluses with unpleasant ergonomics.

At home or on the move, the paper tablet adapts to any situation

The biggest advantage of the paper tablet is, without doubt, is its versatility and mobility. Ergonomic, on a train trip, a coffee break, or if you like drawing outside, it is the ideal companion tool for your walks and trips. Being screenless, they run on rechargeable battery and do not require a mains connection. Moreover, thanks to the dedicated mobile applications, you no longer need a laptop with USB or HDMI cable connections, a simple smartphone with a wireless Bluetooth connection is enough to see your drawings come life on screen. You can sketch what's around you with just your digital drawing tool, pencil and a simple sheet of paper. Then save your creation to work on it in more detail when you get home. The ability to use it as a drawing book, but also, thanks to a digital pen, as a graphics tablet without a screen, with many surface points calculating pressure levels, the tablet scanner provides a multiple use cases, from digital painting to photo editing. You'll have access to all the customizable shortcuts usually available with a standard device.

The paper tablet, a versatile companion for all your drawings.

As you can see, the strength of the paper graphic tablet is above all its versatility. For those who want to rediscover the sensations of traditional drawing, but want to rework their sketches digitally, it is definitely the most efficient option, at a much more affordable price, and a better quality/price ratio, than graphic tablets with integrated touch screen and full-HD. The mobility that the tablet scanner provides is also a huge plus for those on the go and those who want to seize inspiration from their surroundings.