How to Draw Smooth Lines in Photoshop With a Tablet

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Have you ever felt frustrated about your line control when drawing in Photoshop? The key is to find a method that suits your style and is easy for you to learn. The article examines the different ways to learn how to draw smooth lines in Photoshop with a tablet.

How to Draw Smooth Lines in Photoshop With a Tablet

Drawing smooth strokes in Photoshop is a great way to add more detail to your drawings. That’s not all, it is also super easy to get by, using the proven methods discussed below.

An image of a person working on laptop and tablet

Don’t get it wrong; a mouse is great for simple tasks like drawing straight lines and arcs. However, you’ll want something else when it comes to drawing anything more complicated than that. A tablet is the best way to keep your hands steady as you draw.

Steps to Draw Smooth Lines in Photoshop With a Tablet

Drawing smooth lines in Photoshop may not be rocket science, however, you would need a proper understanding of the chosen tablet and Photoshop drawing tools and settings. Starting from the basics, these are the steps to draw perfect strokes in Photoshop with a tablet.

  1. Calibrate the pen: Most of today’s drawing tablets come with a pen or stylus. Manually calibrating the pen gives a near-accurate precision that mimics drawing on paper. Use the crosshair icon on the calibration settings to give a better drawing perspective on the tablet.
  2. Adjust the pressure sensitivity: One of the primary advantages of a drawing tablet over a mouse is its pressure-sensitive feature. Thicker, darker, or thinner and lighter lines are created by the pressure applied. Adjust the pressure sensitivity from soft to hard, depending on what works best for you.
  3. Launch Photoshop and open a new document: Begin by clicking on the Photoshop icon to get it started. When opened, navigate to the File option on the Menu Bar at the top left corner of the screen. Next, click on New Document after the drop-down menu expands.
  4. Select the Brush tool: Locate the Brush Tool (B) on the left-hand side of the screen and click on it. Whether you’re using a stylus or not, the brush tool is what is needed to draw lines in Photoshop. From the brush list, you can select the thickness of brush strokes.
  5. Use the Smoothing feature: On the upper bar (underneath the Menu bar) above the opened document, set the Smoothing percentage to determine the smoothness of the brush lines. It can be adjusted from 0% to 100%. Adjust until you find a preferred smoothness by applying strokes on the document.

Tips to Draw Smooth Lines in Photoshop With a Tablet

As Photoshop continues to deliver amazing drawing and editing features, users need to enhance their skills continuously. As an artist, knowing how to draw with smooth lines in Photoshop with a tablet can help bring your sketches to life.

Know When to Draw Slowly and Fast

Sometimes, the smoothness of your drawing lines is determined by your stroke pace. There are some tricky little strokes that would need to be applied a bit slow to give it a smoother appearance. For example, you may want to draw slowly when drawing a difficult curve or sharp edges.

On the other hand, there are situations where fast brush strokes would deliver smoother lines than if you attempt to use a slower pace. A good example is when you’re trying to draw a cat’s whiskers or hair details. Although it may take some practice, it’s needed to get those perfect, smooth draw lines.

An image of a woman learning on how to draw smooth lines in Photoshop with a tablet

Set Pressure Sensitivity to Optimal Levels

Although pressure sensitivity is often enabled in several tablet programs, it’s always best to confirm and set it appropriately. For example, in Photoshop, the Hard Round is sometimes the default brush style in the General Brush menu.

Therefore, to ensure optimal pressure sensitivity, you have to set it to Hard Round Pressure Size. This activates the pressure sensitivity of the pen or drawing tool. This allows you to make smooth, thin lines with the lightest strokes and also thicker lines with stronger strokes.

The Size of the Tablet

While no one is suggesting you dump your current small-sized graphics tablet, it doesn’t undermine the fact that it’s easier to make smoother lines on relatively bigger screens. For beginners, a medium-sized graphics tablet is the best way to get started.

For most people, it’s a lot easier to draw strokes and rotate images on medium-sized tablets than on smaller ones. However, by incorporating zoom features, you should still be able to perfect smooth lines on a small tablet.

Use the Rotate Tool

The rotate tool can become an ally unless you’ve got remarkably steady hands when drawing. The tool allows you to make horizontal and vertical lines without fear of making wobbly lines. For easy use, you can set up a shortcut key with Ctrl or Command + R to quickly turn the drawing document.

Take Advantage of Layers

One of the outstanding features of Photoshop is allowing users to work with layers. However, trying to get smooth strokes that do not frustratingly overlap can sometimes be a daunting task. Not to mention the number of Command or Ctrl Z (undo) you would have to make to get things right.

By working with layers, you can add lines and not have to worry about erasing adjoining lines. Although it may require you to create more layers and may seem time-consuming, it’s often worth it in the end.

Selecting the Right Smoothing Settings

On the right-hand side of the Smoothing option, there’s a setting icon for choosing the type of stroke mode needed. The four settings modes include the Pulled String Mode, Stroke Catch-up, Catching on Stroke End, and Adjust for Zoom. Each has a unique way of producing smooth lines.

Depending on what design you intend to achieve, each mode delivers unique stroke control to the artist. Also, each mode is activated to work with the drawing tool’s pressure sensitivity. This enhances the level of control you can make with each stroke.

An image of a person using a tablet and a laptop

Benefits of Drawing Smooth Lines in Photoshop With a Tablet

There are many good artists out there who are skilled with drawing on paper and pencils and are yet to understand the ins and outs of drawing with Photoshop. If you’re still one of them, here are some benefits of drawing in Photoshop.

Helps Make Digital Art

One of the art world raves is the digital arts’ popularity and lucrativeness. In a world where comics, animations, and cartoons have become incorporated into the film industry, it’s an important skill to know how to transform drawings or create them as digital arts.

Photoshop can help transform sketches and blurry areas into masterpieces if you know how to use smooth strokes to define outlines. You’ve more credibility and respect as an artist when your drawing does not end up with wobbly lines.

Ease of Drawing

If you’ve ever tried to make smooth lines with a mouse on a computer, it’s easy to understand how frustrating the experience can be. Using Photoshop with a tablet gives you immeasurable control of your strokes and resulting lines. In addition, you shouldn’t have to worry about drawing curves and edges since it is designed to imitate pencil on paper.


Using Photoshop with a tablet allows you much more flexibility with strokes and pressure sensitivity. In the past, with few options of pens, drawing smooth lines was more or less chaotic. The article provides steps and tips on how best to draw smooth strokes in Photoshop with a tablet.