Drawing on iPad

Recently I bought stylus for an iPad, I used it for couple of months and in today’s post I want to tell you about my impressions from drawing on iPad.

Choosing stylus

Really, there were not too much of thinking. Before buying iPad I already knew that I’ll get Wacom’s stylus for it. Wacom has established itself as great comapany with great products for artists, so I had no ideas why I should check othere noname styluses. After buying stylus I watched few comparsion reviews and most of them put Wacom’s stylus in first rows. I got it for 60 bucks (because this is Russia!), but I guess in whole world you can get it in half price or something. You can also buy replacement nibs (Soft and Firm Nibs — have no idea what’s difference).

Using stylus

First of all I want to say, that you’ll not get super precise drawing with stylus for iPad. It has some kind of soft ball at the tip, so you’ll have some “deadzone” in 0.3–0.5mm. In addition you can’t put whole hand on the iPad like in drawing on paper — because you’ll start to tap on touchscreen by this. So you can either use a glove (you can buy special glove if you want) or try to adapt to not put your hand on display. I tired to wear glove (regular glove), but at the end I’m just trying to not put hand on iPad.
Besides, there’s some lags while drawing.

Yeah, sounds not so optimistic. But it worth trying anyway. And below I’ll tell you a bit about apps for drawing.

Apps for drawing

There a LOTS of apps for drawing in iTunes Store. I tried most popular of them, and here’re my impressions about them:

Bamboo Paper (Free + $1.99)

This is official Wacom’s app and it has most quick response time. Almost like on regular paper. As useful functions, there’s small circle that indicates size of eraser, dunno why but only Bamboo Paper has this. But it has lack of tools and colors. You can’t choose exact size of brush tip, you have only 3 presents for each tool. Also you can’t pick RGB/HSB color, only from selected colors. It has no layers. But the fact that it works REALLY fast is kinda big advantage in comparsion to other apps.

Autodesk SketchBook (Free + $4.99)

Pretty old app, but I guess it has big amount of fans both on desktop and tablets. It has layers, brushes/tools and other useful things like Symmetry Tool. But big disadvantage of the app is its speed. Laggy-choppy, even on The New iPad. Not sure how well it works on previous models.

Adobe Ideas ($9.99)

Adobe’s app reminds me Bamboo Paper somehow, but it has more tools and layers (also there’s color HSB picker). Looks pretty well and works kinda fast (not so fast as Bamboo though). Drawing mechanics reminds me Flash drawing (or Blob Brush Tool from Ai) — there’s line smoothing and everything is in vector, so you can send your drawing via email in PDF file. There’s also Creative Cloud sync.

Procreate ($4.99)

Procreate calls itself “A studio of tools at your finger tips”. And it has pretty big amount of tools and brushes. You can also create your own via uploading image from Camera Roll or Dropbox. Nice app.

Paper by FiftyThree (Free + $6.99)

Yeah, Paper. I bet there’s no person who didn’t heard about this app. It is pretty popular app in iTunes Store. Before buying iPad I thought that it’ll be the first app I’ll try. And it was. But honestly I’m kinda disapointed about it. It looks pretty nice and stylish. Moleskine, pages animation — looks great. But there’s no page zoom or layers and it has kinda uncomfortable way of undu/redo (they call it “Rewind”, I call it “How to make this damn thing work like I want”). So Paper by FiftyThree for me is app that is nice to love…but on some distance.

My choice

All these apps have their strengths and weaknesses. I wish there were an app that combined all strengths and filters all glitchy things (I’m betting on Procreate — looks like developers work pretty hard on each update). So at the end, most used apps for drawing on my iPad are Autodesk’s SketchBook Pro and Procreate.
I wish Wacom will add some more functions to the Bamboo Paper, because really it most of the fastest apps in store.

In conclusion

At this moment because of slow response time, low accuracy of stylus and app’s lags I don’t see it as professional tool. It is no way Cintiq/Intous killer or something. It’s more like a thing to have fun with before going to sleep and scribble bunch of doodlings. Sad, but true.