If you find using a mouse a little awkward and less than natural, a good alternative is to use a graphics tablet as the pen allows you to work far more naturally than a mouse ever can.
This latest version from Wacom is an entry-level device that lacks the sensitivity or resolution of the company's more expensive range, the Intuos, but for the first-time user or those simply looking to use it for data entry and not for using with art packages it works well.
The tablet has a nice feel to it and it’s certainly more stylish than other similarly priced tablets we’ve seen of late. It plugs into the USB port on your PC, which also powers the device. With four programmable function buttons you can launch your favourite tools and there is also a scroll wheel for zooming in and out of images.
The tablet itself has a 217 x 135mm active area, which is the same as A5 and has 512 pressure levels. We found you needed to be quite forceful to get it to respond but once you get the hang of it, it’s a great device to use.
There is a range of software bundled with it, including Adobe Photoshop Elements 5 and ArtRage 2, Corel Painter Essentials 3.0 and Nik Color Efex Pro 2.0 GE. While most of these have been written for Windows, the tablet can also be used by Mac OS X. If you use Windows Vista, you’ll also be able to take advantage of the built-in tablet functions.
The Wacom Bamboo Fun Medium Graphics Tablet is a great first-time tablet that offers great value for money. Best suited to casual users instead of serious artists but the bundled software makes it great value.