Surface texture


All drawing tablets have a slight texture on their surface. The amount of texture varies quite widely. And people have strong opinions and preferences about it.

Pen tablets

Pen tablets - the tablets without a screen - have various amounts of texture on the surface based.

Some tablets like the Wacom Intuos Pro (PTH-860, PTH-660, PTH-860) are known to have a lot of texture compared to older Wacom professional pen tablet models.

The consequences to a lot of texture is that it can wear down your nibs fast - especially if you are making lots of strokes over and over.

Also depending how much you are using the tablet, you may see over time that you will wear down the texture on the tablet. You'll mostly see this as regions where the tablet will look smooth or shiny. Despite the unattractive look, it doesn't intefere with using the tablet. The pen still feels like it has enough texture so it isn't a slippery feeling like an iPad.

Pen Tables > Replaceable textures

Some tablets like the Wacom Intuos Pro (PTH-660, PTH-860) have a surface that has a replaceable textures.

These texture sheets can be very hard to find in 2023 - and they aren't cheap - but they offer two advantages:

  • You can get a texture more like what you want. Wacom offers them in Smooth, Standard, and Rough variants. Standard is what with the tablet out of the box.

  • If you damage your surface you can easily replace it.

Again, this is an incredibly rare feature for a pen tablet and only specific models of Wacom professional tablets offer this capability.

Pen Displays

All pen display I know of have a little bit of texture.

The texture will either come from:

  • a matte film (that film is also usually providing an anti-glare treatment also)

  • an etched glass surface (the etched glass also provides an anti-glare treatment

Note that the anti-glare treatment stops the display from being glossy - but it also introduces some thign called anti-glare sparkle:

Apple iPads

The surface of any Apple iPad is very smooth glass. Many people feel that using an Apple Pencil on an iPad screen feels "slippery". The pen seems to easily unintentionally "slide" as they draw because there is so little friction.

Achieving a paper-like texture

No drawing tablet by default has a texture that comes close to the feeling of paper.

Increasing texture

There are some options that can increase the texture. In SOME cases they may give you something close to that feeling of drawing on paper.

You can buy protective sheets that you can stick on top of the surface of you drawing tablet which will provide the texture. More here: protective sheets.

Also you can use felt nibs - if they are available for your pen. These felt nibs also can provide some extra texture.

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