Don't have pentab? Mouse if fine too

In some forum, i sometimes find people who said you can’t really start drawing digital art without first owning the pentab. Or having pentab automatically makes your art better. Which is of course hardly true.

After all, people like Kantoku is avid mouse user too. And his drawing looks amazing. So here, i’m. Showing how to make something mostly only a mouse.

I doubt this tutorial would have any use to most people here. But there’s a chance it would help someone who can’t afford (the one that not so cheap) pentab but still want to start the jump to digital media.

  1. Line.

The reason why most people want to buy a pentab is to make a good line (the people around me at least. But even you can afford one, learning to mastering it still take quite a long time. While waiting to be able to buy/master your device try this stopgap solution.

Do it manually, scans it, and than trace it back in digital.

Yep, it’s not a rocket science thing. It’s that simple.

If you wanted to use this method, “Bezier Curve tool” is your best friend. Trace the line using it, and erase all the excess or unnecessary lines using the same tool in “Eraser Mode”. It would help you make an easy line and make the line doesn’t looks too rigid.

  • Manual Sketch

  • Tracing the manual sketch using line tool

  • Clean the lines. Use the same brush you used to create the line. In my case, i used the G-pen.

  1. Colors

Most of the time we spent on drawing is, usually in the coloring process. And doing a coloring use a mouse is doable, honestly it’s very troublesome. Our palm movement is simply not precise enough.

In order to solve this problem, we need to use our other best friend. The selection tool. The “Bezier Curve Selection Tool” to be exact.

Using this tool, trace the outer part of the line of your work to select the area you want to work with. After that, just color it normally. But please don’t use “Fill Tool” aka the bucket. Because sometimes it wouldn’t able to color every nook and cranny of your line work.

Side notes, please separate basic color and shading layer. It would be easier to recover if somehow you messed up.

  • Basic color

After the basic color, it’s time for you to add shading. For me personally, I usually used 3-4 shading layer. Each layers of shading serve to highlight the light source, separate each different elements of the drawing, and then to make it looks like having a volume.

  • Shading 1

soft gradient on hair, dress, and socks

  • Shading 2

hard shading under the stuffed rabbit, crease on her clothes, hair, and chin

  • Shading 3

Soft shading using gradient with a clear border on Hair, wrist, skirt part. . .

  1. Finishing

In this part you just need to effect from the environment to the drawing you make. In this instance, i brushed her hair and clothes with “Airbrush” with light color to show that a light is hitting her head and her side.

I also put some color using “Airbrush Linear Noisy” to the stuffed rabbit to show that its fur colors are uneven from a long use.

You can add background to it too. . . but because i suck at it. I’ll leave that topic.

So here the end result . . .

Once again, i doubt this would help anyone in this community. But just in case there’s someone who needed it, feel free to ask anything.

You are welcome, . . . unknown person.


It’s true that using a tablet doesn’t make you a better artist by pure magic but it makes the transition easyer at least because when you know how to draw with a pen you basically know how to draw with a graphics tablet too. Also there are a few things you simply can’t do or at least are very hard to do with a mouse since it has no sensors other then relative position and click or no click (except maybe when you have a fancy 3D mouse).

When I started digital art 15 years ago or so I used a mouse too. It was possible and fun but after having even a cheap tablet I never went back to mouse. Well not true there are still some things I do with a mouse, like vector drawing and stuff.

Definitely a good tutorial to have.

Thats a very good example of process and workflow with advice about shading and lighting.

For ‘construction’ types of artwork, I prefer to use the mouse because that gives me fewer problems with hand/finger wobble and it’s a lot easier (for me) to do a right-click when needed.

I don’t really understand how to use the Bezier Curve Tool to produce lines, curves and cusps that I’d like to produce, or even to trace over existing/scanned lineart.

There’s the question of when do you use the Alt key and what for, how do the Tool Options settings affect behaviour, etc.

Is there a good tutorial anywhere for this? A slow moving video tutorial would probably be best.

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I’d like to know a few more details too, but as I understand, the suggestion is to use overlapping bezier curves in erase mode, that way you can shape the bottom curve and thus give it taper effects etc.

But doing it on a raster layer gives limited control over the curves before they get rendered, creating two vector layers in a group and setting the top layer to erase mode seems a better approach, but not sure I’d want to create the entire line art that way.

Perhaps this little game helps to learn the bezier-tool, I found it useful.
The Bezier-Game

Thank you for that link but that game/tutorial wasn’t much good for me. I couldn’t even put the required nodes on properly.
I can make any polygon shape and then adjust the node properties, add nodes, remove nodes, adjust control handles etc to make the curves and cusps I want.

What I can’t do is use a Bezier Curve tool to draw the curves and nodes I want immediately. There are tutorials for this on YouTube so I’ll need to watch them carefully.