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.
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.
Many artists enjoy drawing and painting on their iPads. 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. 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.
Our 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
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 app
Although Steve Jobs famously said, “If there’s a stylus, they blew it,” plenty of people choose to use them with their iPads. And in 2011, Apple filed for a patent for an active stylus, so let’s keep our eyes peeled for developments. UPDATE: The Apple Pencil and iPad Pro will be available in November 2015! The Apple Pencil is made only for the iPad Pro. The styluses below will work on any iPad.
If you can use a stylus on the iPad, you can use it on other capacitive touchscreens too, such as the iPhone, Android tablets, and Kindle Fire.
What to look for:
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.
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.
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.