Category Archives: iPad Pro

ipad pro screen protector

Should I use a screen protector to draw on iPad Pro?

Should artists use a screen protector with the Apple Pencil?

screen protector to draw on ipad pro

Now that I’ve had my iPad Pro for a while, I’ve finally gone beyond random scribbles and dived into some apps and drawings. I now find it to be my main tablet, since I’m addicted to its portability and wide choice of apps. But, slipperiness is an issue; sometimes I feel like the Apple Pencil is skating on a tiny ice rink. Finally I got around to trying a screen protector to draw on the iPad Pro.

(Read what’s new for artists in the 2017 iPad Pro)

Slip slidin’ away on the unknown glass

Unlike Wacom, Apple does not coat its glass with a substance that gives it a paperlike bite. The benefit of not having this coating is that that the display’s colors are bright and clear. But your hand can slip around.

Nobody but Apple knows what glass is used in the iPad Pro. The Surface Pro and many other tablets, including, reportedly, the first two iPads, used Gorilla Glass, but Apple keeps the iPad Pro glass a secret.

The iPad Pro screen does come with both a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, and an antiglare coating. All the same, it gets smudged easily, and I can see my face in the screen when the tablet is turned off, so glare is there. Without these coatings, the glass might be even slicker.

The Apple Pencil is relatively heavy, and the length of it took some getting used to as far as finding my balance, making the slipperiness even worse. Its tip is hard rubber, not plastic, but the rubber is so hard that it’s plasticlike. I had put a matte screen protector on XP-Pen and Ugee tablet monitors and liked the feel, so I decided to try one with the iPad.

My choice: matte screen protector

I got the Photodon matte MHX 25% anti-glare high-definition for the 12.9″ iPad Pro, ordered from Photodon. Photodon makes high-quality screen protectors. They’re a little pricey (this one is over $20 for one), but you can get a wide variety of surfaces for just about every screen you can think of. If they don’t carry the size you want, they can custom-cut one. You can also order sample packs to try out different types. I didn’t consider a glossy one because a matte surface gives the tooth I want.

The Photodon protector perfectly covered the whole screen and the border as well, with cutouts for the home button and camera that fit fine.

The screen protector came with a cloth, a moist wipe, and a sample piece to test. I followed the instructions as well as I could, except the optional one to use a vacuum to get every speck of dust. I don’t have a vacuum like that. Luckily, the vacuum was only a suggestion. I also turned off the screen so it would be cool, as the instructions said.

Bubble trouble?

Bubbles in a screen protector are a pain. They are visible and distort the image. Oddly, drawing over them doesn’t seem to affect the drawing much unless the Apple Pencil gets caught on one. There are ways to get rid of bubbles but it’s not easy.

One solution for bubbles I’ve heard about but haven’t tried is to put on the screen protector in a steamy bathroom, but it’s over 100 degrees outside today, so I didn’t feel like creating a steam room.

Does a matte surface wear down the Apple Pencil tip?

If you press very hard, and draw all day, you might wear down the tip a bit. But your lines and painting are coming from software, not the sharpness of the tip.The tips are not that expensive to replace; you can buy a 4-pack of them.

I have only just installed the screen protector so it’s too early to say, but I doubt it’s going to be a problem.

You just don’t want to wear it down to where it’s whittled to a sharp point and tears your screen protector or scratches your screen. It’s an unlikely scenario.

Keeps Apple Pencil from scratching the iPad Pro screen

Another benefit is that it’s possible to scratch your screen with the iPad Pencil if a little speck of sand or dust lodges itself in the rubber tip. A screen protector provides protection against such a mishap.

Multitouch and handwriting

Touch works fine with the protector on. If anything, the screen protector will save your screen from smudges from your hands. It also improves handwriting.

Drawbacks to screen protectors

Screen protectors can be hard to put on; they also add some expense. Bubbles can be hard to get rid of.nti-glare coatings can reduce clarity. The film may block or even refract light, causing a slight blurriness or the appearance of colors via the refracted light. I don’t find it to be an issue in this case.

The verdict: I am pro-screen protector

I find it better to draw on the iPad Pro with a screen protector than not. I was able to draw my straightish lines a lot easier than before, when the Pencil tip would slip. It makes me draw a little slower, with more control. That ends up making me work faster, as I’m not fighting the slickness or spending much time on cleanup.

I stopped getting tons of little “hooks” on my lines that were caused by slipping. Erasing those hooks was a time-consuming task. They would show up right in the beginning and sometimes also at the end of the line, like a tail.

They happen when I’m rushing and make initial contact strike too hard. I find these hooks are really related to screen surface, perhaps related to coatings or lack of–in one of my old old tablet PCs with a hard plastic screen, it was almost impossible NOT to get them.

If I concentrate I can stop getting them, but in drawing, there are so many things to focus on at once that any help in that area is needed.

With the protector on, there’s less glare, and a lot fewer fingerprints, even though this model lacks an anti-fingerprint coating.

There is an occasional squeaking sound, but this may stop once the oils from my hands coats the whole surface. There’s less of the tapping noise that results when the Pencil meets unprotected glass. There’s now more of a soft whoosh or whisper: the “iPad Pro whisperer” perhaps.

Colors are not affected and the screen is as sensitive as before.

Lines are also unaffected by the screen protector. I zoomed in to make sure the screen protector was not subtly causing a change in the marks, then zoomed in on marks I made without the protector, but they looked the same.

Antiglare also protects your eyes, especially in bright light, more of an issue when outdoors.

As I haven’t tried other brands of screen protector with the iPad Pro, I don’t know which are best–maybe I’ll try some more.  I have tried other screen protector brands on other tablets. I think in the end the effects are similar, but the durability may be different. The Photodon seems thicker. Some screen protectors are thinner but the package contains more than one. Whatever floats your boat. Just get a good-quality, matte one.

Conclusion

Using a screen protector to draw on iPad Pro beats drawing without one. I recommend matte, not glossy, because matte is the kind that has the tooth. Glossy may provide some traction, but less.

Is it like drawing on paper? No. If you want paper, you can use something that can work with real paper, such as the Intuos Pro Paper Edition or the Lenovo Yoga Book. But using a screen protector to draw on iPad Pro is closer to drawing on paper.

 

 

Astropad 2.0 faster now: use iPad Pro as Cintiq

For those anxiously awaiting, today’s the day the new Astropad 2.0 is being released. Some improvements:

The Liquid engine, developed by Astropad, is now 3x faster and the company has managed to lower the pixelation by a while lot. The polling rate is much faster to correct issues with latency and improve images. It’s also now using way less memory so you can work longer and not run down your power so quickly. The pressure curve has been improved. Gestures are now available on more programs., including ArtRage, Clip Studio Paint, Mischief, Affinity Designer and Photo, Lightroom, and Sketcbook. You can now auto-hide the cursor. And, the UI has been given an overhaul.

Astropad turns your iPad or iPad Pro into a Cintiq-like input device and allows you to use any programs that are on your Mac. It’s available at the iTunes store. For OSX only.

 

Smaller, 9.7″ iPad Pro is here

A smaller, 9.7-inch iPad Pro

A smaller, 9.7″ iPad Pro with Apple Pencil is has been announced. Apple gave the word in a March, 21 2016 presser, along with its new iPhone 5se and some new Apple Watch bands. This smaller sibling sports nearly the same specs, such as the fast A9X processor and as much storage as the original 12.9″ iPad Pro, and supports the Apple Pencil (yay!) It also gets a Smart Keyboard accessory. The smaller iPad Pro is less expensive than the larger one, and easier to carry. This looks to be replacing the iPad Air line and we’re grateful it’s getting the whole Pro treatment.

 

new 9.7 inch ipad pro

Now all it needs is the Apple Pencil.

best ipad stylus for drawing

What’s the best iPad stylus for drawing? Psst, they work on Android too

best ipad stylus for drawing

What’s the best iPad stylus for drawing?

best ipad stylus for drawing

Wacom Bamboo Styluses for iPad

Looking for the best iPad stylus for drawing? (Most of these work on Android tablets as well). Many artists enjoy drawing and painting on their iPads. An accurate iPad stylus is great for note-taking as well. An iPad is a valuable digital sketchbook, and styluses and art apps have made fast progress in expanding the iPad’s art capabilities. While tablet PCs, Cintiqs and similar art tablets are still the usual choice for professional artists, and you can now do sophisticated art on the iPad.

Yes, you can get pressure sensitivity

Some iPad styluses use Bluetooth to get 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity, as much as any art tablet does. These styluses only achieve the pressure sensitivity in that are designed to provide it. There are art apps for Android that get pressure sensitivity as well.

Here’s a handy comparison chart that will help you shop for the best iPad stylus for drawing.

StylusFeaturesOur Rating/Check price on Amazon
Adonit Jot Touch with Pixelpoint
Bluetooth; 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity;
shortcut buttons; diskless, precision tip;
connects to Adobe Creative Cloud; works with many apps
3.5/5
Check price

Pencil 53
palm rejection; eraser; blends; best with Paper app; wood or metal; rechargeable; magnet snaps to Apple Smartpad case; Bluetooth; surface pressure (change marks according to how you hold the tip). For writing, try Noteshelf app4/5
Check price
Sensu Artist Brush and Stylus
best ipad stylus sensu
Brush and stylus. Achieve a painterly style. Best with the Procreate app.4/5
Check price

Adonit Jot Pro Fine Point Stylus
fine point; magnetic cling; rubber grip;
metal tip with circular plastic disk; sound dampener
4.5/5
Check price
Wacom Bamboo Stylus for iPad/Tablet
Solid build; thin, rubber tip. Replacement tips available.
Has Bamboo app
3.5/5
Check price

AluPen by Just Mobile
alupen ipad stylus
Solid aluminum; soft rubber tip; chunky; good for drawing and for older kids.4/5
Check price
DotPen Active Stylus
dotpen stylus

Aluminum barrel with hard, fine-point plastic nib; rubber grip; glides smoothly; replacement tips available; takes AAA battery (included). No palm rejection.4.5
Check price

Although Steve Jobs famously said, “If there’s a stylus, they blew it,” plenty of people choose to use them with their iPads.  In 2011, Apple filed for a patent for an active stylus. UPDATE: We now of course have the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro. The Apple Pencil is made only for the iPad Pro. Lots of people are still using regular iPads, and the styluses below will work on any iPad.

Write and draw on Android as well

If you can draw and write using a stylus on the iPad, you can use it on other capacitive touchscreens too, such as the iPhone, nearly any smartphone, computer touchscreens, Android tablets, and Kindle Fire. The best Android styluses for drawing are pretty much the same list, but those that works with apps are OS-specific.

Pencil by Fifty-Three only gets pressure via the iPad Paper app, so won’t work with Android, but you can use it without pressure. However, Microsoft worked with Fifty-three to create a Windows Paper app, so you can use it with Windows.

Adonit and DotPen have apps for iOS and Android.

What to look for in a stylus:

Pressure sensitivity. This feature is only possible via Bluetooth with specific apps, and only some iPad styluses offer it. It means you can vary the width of the line, just as if you were drawing with a real pencil, pen, or brush. The sensitivity should work as a smooth curve, not suddenly changing line width.

Apps are what make variations in pressure possible on an iPad or iPhone. Otherwise you will get a same-width line. Most artists prefer a varied line, but it depends on your own art style. Examples of iPad styluses with pressure sensitivity are the Adonit Jot Touch with Pixelpoint and Pencil by FiftyThree.

Palm rejection. The things to look for in choosing the best stylus for iPad for drawing are accuracy, responsiveness, ease of use, and reliability. You also want palm rejection. Without palm rejection, the iPad cannot distinguish between your hand and the stylus, since you can finger paint on the IPad.

If your stylus doesn’t have palm rejection, you have to do a Michael Jackson move and wear a glove with cut-off fingers on one hand. And even with that, it may not be enough. The best is not to touch the screen at all with your hand. Still, some of the most popular IPad styluses for drawing do not feature palm rejection. Artists are a resourceful lot and work around this problem.

best ipad stylus for drawing

Pencil by FiftyThree, Walnut

Rechargeable. Also desirable is having a rechargeable stylus. While some of the best styluses for iPad lack rechargeable batteries, this becomes an added expense, and creates waste, not to mention your stylus may suddenly stop working when you’ve forgotten to tote an extra battery. But, some of the best iPad styluses for drawing use nonrechargeable batteries. You can always buy a separate rechargeable battery and a battery charger.

Nibs that last a long time or do not cost a lot to replace. Some tips or nibs wear out quickly with use, so you should check into ease and cost of replacement before choosing your iPad stylus.

Compatibility with your favorite apps. The quality of compatibility of styluses with apps can vary quite a bit, so try out different apps with different styluses. You can’t pick the best iPad stylus for drawing without taking what apps you want to use into consideration.

Other things you may want to consider:

Noise. Some styluses make a clack-clack sound. Are you noise-sensitive? Will you be using your stylus in classes and meetings, to take notes or sketch? The model of the Adonit Jot Pro  (without pressure sensitivity) has a plastic disk on the end that clacks on the screen, but they added a “dampener” to soften the sound.

Traction and glide. Make sure you are happy with the relative slipperiness of your stylus across the iPad glass. A screen protector can add traction with some apps; others, such as Paper, advise against using one. Your drawings can be affected; some people prefer a lot of glide for long lines, others don’t. Some users have mentioned in reviews that though they thought they were getting the best iPad stylus for drawing, but slipperiness was a big enough issue that they ended up returning the stylus.

Looks. Do you get inspired by a sleek, or maybe a funky art implement? While I wouldn’t pick by looks, if all else is equal you might want to make a fashion statement.

Comfort. Very important, especially if you draw for hours on end. Does the stylus feel good in your hand? Are there certain angles you need to hold it at to get it to work best? Is it lightweight, or heavy? Is the length of the stylus comfortable to you? What about the thickness?

Grip. Does it have a good grip in your hand, or does it slip?

Writing. Everyone has to write sometimes, and sometimes a stylus that’s good for drawing is also good for writing, but that’s not always the case. It’s often app-dependent. You might have trouble writing in some art apps but do fine writing in note-taking apps. The best iPad stylus for drawing is not always the best iPad stylus for writing. For writing, you want a fine-tipped stylus such as the Adonot Jot Pro. The Apple Pencil is excellent for notetaking. However, the Sensu paint stylus obviously is not. The Bamboo one is OK but it’s not my favorite for writing due to the tip size being fairly large. That doesn’t affect the line size, but it just feels a little more difficult.

Painting. Some styluses are actually like paintbrushes. While you can do digital painting with any stylus, if you want a painterly look you might want one of these brush styluses in your toolbox. These are not that expensive and you can get beautiful effects with them. The Sensu brush and tablet stylus gives you both a brush and stylus, and we recommend this painting and drawing tool as a good addition in your search for the best iPad stylus for digital artmaking.

If you want to read more, here’s an interesting New York Times article about styluses for the iPad.

With all these options, you can enjoy your Apple technology and be creative as you wish.

 

End of Best iPad Stylus for drawing