When it comes to a mouse, it usually depends more on the surface you're using it on as opposed to your actual precision. Of course, yes, it is still difficult to draw with a mouse, but usually if you just try to take the drawing slowly you can get nicely drawn curves and lines. I'd recommend using a surface like a thin cloth or a couch surface even. This will give you some friction to work with instead of a slippery surface like a desk. Mouse pads work wonderfully for this kind of thing as well.
less choppy lines? I feel your pain. I used to be in your shoes a few years ago. a few options...
1. pen tool (hate it, but it can work. only thing is you would need to scan in a piece of work.) 2. The Hard Way ( ctnrl/cmmd+Z fifty billion times and re-draw the line till you get it as close as possible.) ultimately, in the end, this teaches you great line control in the future when using other tools. 3. tablet and/or program that has top notch line clean up (like illustrator.) [tablet is cheaper option]
Something that helps me out sometimes is making a really rough drawing on one layer then reducing the opacity. Then making a new layer and drawing over that one using the rough drawing as a guide only the new drawing is being tightened up and having more detail added to it. Repeating the steps as needed until the drawing looks the way I want it to. And after that using the pen tool to trace over the drawing as the final line work if I want my lines to be extremely crisp.
I draw with a mouse, if I'm patient and careful I can almost get straight clean lines but it really hurts my hand and wrist and takes forever to make decent art. My advice is to play with your brushes and eventually you'll find something passable, but as long as you use a mouse you're likely to always have a bit of trouble. It doesn't allow for the control or precision of a tablet with a pen and it never will. I borrowed my friend's tablet once and it was almost like drawing with an actual pencil, no mouse can compare for me. My advice to you is to save up for a tablet, which is what I'm doing currently.
A long time before artist used a tablet they were confused to believe the trackball was the best artist tool.
It is easy to think anything is better than what you have, but that is just propaganda. All commercials are propaganda so art people that like to convince you the mouse is not the best tool for an artist. They play on you lack of skill to sell you a distraction, which is just another tool to get use to rather than deal with the real problem. The lack of skill.
A lot of sales people see this as a good sales opportunity. Any thing that can be a good sales opportunity you know some people can not pass up. It is like marking your face with the words sucker all over. A fool and their money will soon part.
So a tablet is not the best tool, because the mouse has been around much longer. I don't like people who pick on peoples faults for profit, but that is exactly what makes everyone thing the tablet is better. In a way it could be, but it is not necessary as people like to make you and everyone believe.
To be honest the first tablet I ever saw was on the Disney's 600 million dollar computer system, that created cartoons. On one end you have a VHS recorder that records the animation, because it made people believe it can create a 30 minute cartoon in 30 minutes. I could never know if that was a lie, but I was artist using the tablet for the first time, and it wasn't until the next decade before you could actually buy a tablet.
So people can make you believe anything to sell you a tablet. Yes, they have been around for years if you wanted to buy the 600 million dollar computer. the offer for just the tablet was never offered back then. It was another sales gimmick. If you want this you have to buy this, type of thing.
I am sure some of the best digital artist you know were great before they knew about a tablet.
If you want to do more with a mouse, then practice doing more. If you practice hand writing with a mouse you will get good at it, the same as you would the tablet, because that would be one thing you would practice doing.
Your skills don't get worse, they just need to follow a new set of rules, and with a tablet you will still need to jump through the same hoops.
Mouse, indeed very hard to handle... First time, second time I was using mouse, my hand was cramp (╥﹏╥) ~
But, without I realize I already tame my lovely mouse and as result all my work was on this DA \(^‿‿^)/ and I can't stop using it till now~ cause I'm still can't buy pen tablet (─‿‿─)
The key is... never give up with what you started, always try and be better and better~ to make better lineart, I was done two things so far~ - rough sketch with pencil > scan it > Clean it in photoshop with adjusting brightness/contrass or Threshold - explore the pen tool in photoshop for better line art (So far I'm using this method) Athough, The big challenge is coloring and shading... ヽ(`Д´)ノ
I would suggest looking up tutorials on using the pen tool. If you don't want to do that, then I wouldn't recommend digital drawing at all until you get a tablet. Using a mouse is actually pretty bad for your wrist.
Oh god.... I painted with a mouse for so long. /grimace. If you don't want to pay big on a tablet, you can get a DigiPro 640 tablet on Amazon for about 30 bucks. It's what I use right now. It may seem way too good to be true, but this tablet has lasted me almost two years, and it's absolutely fantastic, especially if you have little to no budget (like me ) But, if you don't wish to use a tablet, the pen tool and a steady hand (along with a lot of practice and editing) will get you a long way. It just takes a lot of time.
I'm actually giving away two Bamboo Pen and Touch tablets starting tonight at midnight if you want to enter to win. I know what it's like trying to draw with a mouse so I wanted to give away two new tablets to two people in need! [link]
Before I ever got a tablet the only way I could draw digitally was with a mouse...so over time I became very good at it. [link]
I learned many tips and tricks, but one in particular allowed me to keep a steady hand and keep from making those un-even lines; controling my breathing. Sounds lame, but simply by shallow breathing or holding my breath for short spurts of time I was able to keep my hand steady when I needed to make a steady line. It works. Try it.
The same goes for tablets too, amazingly enough. After I finally got one I found this breathing tip also helped keep my hands steady, especially when making straight lines (i refuse to use the line tool!).
I also use a mouse so I understand how you feel . Actually everyone knows how you feel. One thing you can do is draw it with pencil/pen and scan it to colour digitally. Or just use small short strokes to colour and line the work by zooming in. Or use the pen tool for lineart. That helps quiet a lot for lineart or other types of functions you would like to do. You can't have flow and pressure sensitivity or stroke changes with a mouse, but you can make do with colouring step by step. It won't be ok at first but slowly you can train your hand to coordinate with mouse well.
I've been inking with a mouse using Paint Tool SAI. But there are several free programs you can do it with. Inkscape is one most folks mention. But I can recommend Serif DrawPlus Starter Edition. It's free and you can use the mouse to draw vector lines you can adjust. And you can also apply pressure profiles to the lines to add thick and thin widths and make it look like it was done with a tablet. My most recent deviation was done this way.
Drawing with bigger canvas, and no zooming will help your drawing a bit. The pencil tool may not be a good line to use, but some brushes have better options.
Resizing a big canvas alot of bad lines or edges will go away.
No matter what tool you use, drawing is still drawing. It uses the basic fundamentals, and in dynamic sketching, you just need to learn to be loose eventually. Nice clean lines, usually come with practice.
Its also the problem of the pentool, you can't control the flow for lines. Although you could try changing the brush for it, it won't look close to your sketch.
If you want some inspiration look around trejim's site. He is a mouse artist: [link]
You could always save up money for a tablet. Bamboo tablets by Wacom are less expensive than some of their other tablets. Or you could do what I did before I got one. If you have a scanner, sketch and ink your drawing on paper, then color it on the computer. Trying to draw with a mouse is like trying to draw with a bar of soap.
People have already given the advice I would have, but personally, I'd save up for that tablet. I find it sooo much more natural. I was able to find a small wacom 4 tablet for $135 on Amazon. Save up and you'll feel the difference.