Visual Design

Painting on iPad (with Procreate and Sensu brush)

Tablets are becoming productive tools and not just for media consumption. Back in the days of the Amiga, I had a Wacom tablet; it worked well but the drawing programs were quite primitive. Today, with tablets and many decent drawing and painting apps, artists can be creative wherever they go.

Procreate is an amazing painting app for the iPad, with features found in professional software, and costs only $4.99. This may seem expensive to some, considering many apps are free. However, this is probably the best $4.99 I’ve spent on apps. Today, version 1.7 is released, and it adds at least two new features that I was hoping for: full-screen mode and 4K resolution. Together with the Sensu brush, even my parents feel comfortable painting on the iPad.Procreate

The Sensu brush looks like a traditional artist brush, with special brush hair on one end that works with capacitive touch screens, and a rubber tip on the other as a regular stylus. It feels balanced, comfortable, and at the right length.

Sensu brush

Another similar but simpler app I like is Paper. It’s for drawing or writing notes, and is free. In the free version, there is only a single pen tool and a limited number of colors. With in-app purchases, additional tools and a color mixer can be added for about $9, which is a little high for a simple app like this. But then, it’s the simplicity that’s the beauty of this app. With Paper and the lighter iPad mini, I can see this combination as an everyday notepad for jotting down ideas and sketches.

Last but not least, the Pogo Connect is a much talked-about pressure sensitive Bluetooth stylus. Both Procreate and Paper support it. I have yet to try it as the cost ($80) is higher than the other pens, especially for casual drawing.

Using the iPad as a creative tool for artists is becoming a reality with these apps and styluses (styli). As we’re moving away from the PC era, tablets already fulfill the needs of most people. As a new media software developer, working on a computer with a real keyboard is still the only choice. I can’t wait to see what the next generation of software development tools will be like. And no, I don’t think Siri is the answer. 🙂


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