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I work for Toys for Bob / Activision. Posts here are my personal views, and do not necessarily reflect that of my employer. 

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Friday, January 22, 2016

iPad Pro + Pencil Artist Review (vs Wacom Cintiq Companion)

I've been using the iPad Pro + Pencil for a couple of months now, and I think it's the best digital drawing experience that I've ever had. For sketching and drawing, the Pro and Pencil just feel so natural. Apple made something different, whereas other drawing tools and tablets are either made by Wacom, use Wacom, or trying to copy the Wacom stylus. I'm a huge Wacom fanboy, so it's hard to win me over, but Apple did it! The Apple Pencil is truly is an incredible first gen device, see the review video below, to see why:

iPad Pro + Pencil Artist Review


Procreate is my favorite drawing app on iOS, it really is an amazingly powerful app. It has everything you need for sketching and painting. Here is my tweaked Pencil brush for Procreate. Here are directions on how to import brushes into Procreate from Dropbox: The brush is here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/w8y5grf3eqsbnkd/Apple_Pencil_Crabfu.brush?dl=0

I found the tilt setting on most drawing apps make the line thickness way too much, and Procreate was no exception. This may make the Apple Pencil look really impressive at first, tilting will turn your pencil into a gigantic graphite stick, but is very hard to control. After a lot of tweaking with this brush, I'm very happy with the results. It feels like a natural pencil, when a bit of shade when you tilt it down low. This pencil brush, along with the pressure curve + screen protector shown in the video, made all of the difference.

Here are some of my sketches, using 100% iPad Pro/Pencil & Procreate:

Portrait sketch practice, me and my boys. I used ipad's split screen view, to see reference pictures on half of the screen, and sketch on the other half, worked out great.

I'm not much of a painter, but testing out painting rather than drawing.

Sketch of my wife

Love the blue pencil feel!

And a sketch using Sketchbook Pro

Previously, I reviewed the Wacom Cintiq Companion, Wacom Creative Stylus, and Galaxy Note, and other Tablet PC's, but now it's hard to imagine wanting to use them over the iPad Pro/Pencil. I still need to keep the Cintiq Companion, for heavy duty photoshop stuff for work. But if I want to just draw, design some characters, sketch out ideas, even render in color, I think iPad Pro can handle just about everything I need. At half the cost of the Wacom Cintiq Companion, I'd strongly recommend iPad Pro and Pencil.

18 comments:

  1. Hello,
    I read an article where you said a matte screen protector gave some texture... I'm looking for that paper feel while using my Apple pencil. What screen protector do you recommend? Is it a film or one of the tempered glass ones? Thank you!

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    1. It was that exact one pictured in the video. Icarez antiglare, 2 for $10 on Amazon. It's not the tempered glass, I think the glass would feel just like the normal iPad screen.

      The screen protector does do a great job with getting rid of reflection and glare, and adds tooth to the pencil. However, it does make it more noisy, it sounds like a real pencil on paper. But you can hear it with just your finger, where it was silent before on glass screen. It also makes the images and text not as crisp. So it's a trade off, I kept mine because how great it is for drawing. I'm not sure if I would if I didn't draw on it.

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  2. Hi crabfu,

    Fan of your work and your YouTube videos! Was really looking forward to your apple pencil review. I find your review to be the best and most informative from a real artist and u into concise details of the pros and cons.

    I am planning to get an iPad pro for work and Leisure. For work I do a lot of mark ups and would extensively use a lot of tracing paper To go through design ideas. It seems like the iPad pro and apple pencil would be a great way to replace the tracing paper workflow ? What do u think? And would procreate be the software to use for layering etc?

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    1. Thanks. If this is your first digital draw on screen device, there will be a little learning curve, but I think it'll be the smallest learning curve on any digital device, because it's the closest thing to real pencil. I'd think having layers and being able to just sketch will suit your needs. For that, I'd recommend Sketchbook Pro and Procreate. Given the cost of these apps compared to PC programs, I'd say just get both, you can't go wrong, both are great tools. Sketchbook is easy to use with lots of tools, and Procreate looks and feels more like real media, both can have a lot of layers that you can adjust opacity, so would be good for tracing.

      If you can, I'd go to an Apple Store and try it out. Unfortunately they won't have Sketchbook Pro or Procreate installed. But you can try Adobe Sketch, which works pretty well to get a feel for drawing, but is really limited in tools.

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  3. I just wanted to say thank you for making this review your advice was spot on and your brush is pleasure to use

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    1. Awesome! Glad that you like the brush!

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  4. I'd like to second that. A very helpful review and your brush and screen protector tips are very useful.

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  5. Hi there, thanks a ton for the review and the video. It was great having an artist's point of view on this. How many gigs did you choose for your iPad Pro? I'm a little undecided about that :)

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  6. Heya! Excellent notes on both the iPad Pro and the Cintiq Companion. I also use both devices; and like you I tend to depend on the Cintiq for my studio work, but about 50% of the time I draw Director's boards just in graphite and scan them into PhotoShop for small corrections and then to upload them on to servers. I can totally see my iPad Pro taking over on those types of projects. The darn thins is just so much fun to draw on. It's totally natural. I'm starting to get to the point where I'm not even aware of the fact that I'm drawing on a computer! Your recommendation on the anti glare screen protector was spectacular! Has anyone commented that the spiritual father of the Apple Pencil is the Faber Castell Polychromos Pencil?? (They are also within a couple of mm in length, so I don't want to hear how some people think Apple Pencil is a weird length.) I've been trying to download your pencil brush for Procreate, but every time I paste the link in the query line, it only searches in MY Dropbox files and ends with the result "No Match". Any ideas on what I'm doing wrong? Thank you in advance! Your video seems to be highly influential! P.S. you're also a pretty terrific draghtsman!

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    1. Sorry, the link above has been updated with directions on dropbox download.

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  7. Hey Crabfu, I got procreate, but I can't import anything from dropbox, so can't install your brush... And I can't figure out why not. When I want to import, procreate just gives me itunes and icloud as import options, not dropbox. Dropbox is installed on the ipad and functioning as it should. I realise I could try to get the file on itunes or icloud instead, but I still want to be able to use dropbox with procreate, since it advertises that I can. So any help would be very welcome.

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    1. Sorry, I've updated the link above to include directions, hope you can get it!

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    2. Thank you!!!!! Once the dropbox link worked, it was kinda self explanatory. :D Regardless, I'm pretty sure there's useful info in that tutorial you linked to for a procreate/ipad n00b like me, so it's in my "watch list". :) Nice brush btw! :D (As a thank you: I got a real nice & real affordable ipad back cover that you may like too. It is the poetic clarity series and it is transparent (my ipad has a pretty sticker, so I wanted to see it :) ), has an integrated in-line pencil holder and "inkwell" to put the pencil upright when in use and it is smartcover/keyboard compatible. Most importantly: it didn't break the bank. Hope it's useful for you too -> 9.7" = https://www.amazon.co.uk/Poetic-Clarity-Keyboard-Compatible-Compatibility-Crystal-Clear/dp/B01EMF3GRC?ie=UTF8&ref_=pe_385721_138980131_TE_item // 12.9" = https://www.amazon.co.uk/Poetic-Clarity-Keyboard-Compatible-Compatibility/dp/B01BMZP0FQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1467110342&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=ipad+pro+12.9+poetic+clarity&psc=1 )

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  8. Hello there- I was just wondering what size Ipad Pro you have? I'm looking at buying one for my partner and am unsure of the smaller or larger one :)

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    1. I have the larger 12.9. If it's only for art, bigger would be better. As an everyday tablet or something you need to travel with often, the smaller size may suit better. If possible, I'd go to an Apple Store to see the two sizes side by side to determine.

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  9. Hi, I've commented on your iPadPro review video in the past, I'm a recent purchaser of the iPadPro (because of your review) and am very happy with it. Was wondering if you'll end up at the Microsoft store to check out the Surface Studio. I like its footprint/size, the "dial" or puck-like peripheral, etc. I'm not all that fond of n-trig stylus and wondering about the "tooth" of the screen, and the price seems pretty steep. Interested to hear your thoughts on it when you get a chance.

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