shaky hands and tablet sketching

I just borrowed a tablet from a friend to learn how to use it, and I’m wondering:

Are there any tricks to getting straighter, smoother lines when drawing with a tablet? I’m cursed with shaky hands… even with fast strokes the curves I draw are wonky.

Is there anything I can do short of using the pen tool in photoshop to create lines?

What software are you using? Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is really good about smoothing out your sketch lines whereas, in my experience, Photoshop is not made for it and will give you really bad results.

Are you trying to draw all with your wrist or with your arm?

If your hands are shaking so bad that you can’t put down a straight line on paper you should see a doctor.

If you can draw fine on paper but the tablet is jerky - look into your software and settings.

For smooth lines:

Photoshop - BAD
Painter - OKAY
Sketchbook Pro - GOOD

Make a conscious effort to tense your wrist to keep it stiff, I have the same problem. You’ll tend to use your wrist and fingers to “micro-adjust” the way you’d do with a fine art illustration. You want to get out of that habit with drawings of manufactured products which have much cleaner and precise lines than most natural objects.

tape paper to the tablet or get FELT NIBS from Wacom. the added friction makes it easier.

I had trouble at first and thought it wouldn’t work at all for me and then one day it just clicked – I really wasn’t sure why or what changed – my hand just seemed to adjust itself.

Ink Art came free on my tablet pc (it’s a stripped-down version of Art Rage). The lines are very good.

I was talking to the friend I borrowed the tablet from, and he confirmed that photoshop is terrible for tablet drawing. He has sketchbook pro, so I’ll see if I can borrow his laptop.

In the mean time, I’ll try the paper on the tablet trick.

Thanks C77

If you have photoshop CS4 it’s a lot more viable for tablet sketching than previous versions, although I still prefer SBP for the interface.