sketching on the iPad

I ran myself completely down on my extrovert batteries this past week. So far down that I didn’t even leave the house for wanting to avoid all of humanity on Saturday. On Sunday, I relinquished a bit – and at least went to a coffee shop. While I was enjoying the complete anonymity of being alone in a crowd, I decided to take some more time to sketch with my iPad.

And yes, it hasn’t left my side. On of these days Karen might get to use it. Maybe. When I get a 3G version perhaps…

Anyway, it was time for the new experiment! I purchased a pogo stylus for working with the iPad. I originally saw one that an apple employee was using in an Apple Store (she wouldn’t give it to me, strangely enough), but she couldn’t tell me anything about it. I later saw an article from the Brushes help page on it, and went out and ordered one. Since I had the stylus, I wondered how different it would be to sketch with that instead of just my fingers. Pretty good, actually. Although I’ve got to admit I’ve become somewhat of a sucker for pressure sensitivity that you get with a Wacom tablet….

The end result is that you have to press a little harder, so in the end it doesn’t feel like a stylus – or at least not like any medium that you might be used to. There’s no scratch of paper, texture to the draw, and hard or soft and angle doesn’t make a different on an iPad. The good news is that you can see what you’re drawing a little better – as the stylus is about half the width of any finger, if not a bit thinner.

I’m still very much learning to use the application (Brushes) too. I have SketchBook Pro, which is pretty cool too – just haven’t really tried to work with it much yet – focusing on Brushes to start with.

Lunch at Macrina Bakery

I’ve learned to start sketching with really light opacity and a variety of thicknesses, repeating strokes to firm up lines. I’m also just now starting to get a handle on even the basics of textures with Brushes. It’s super flexible, but that just means I’m super lost right now too. The hardest thing to get used to is slowing down some of my motions, or making sure only the stylus touches – it’s very easy, if you’re a little sloppy with your hands – to make it thing you’re trying to double-tap when hatching a background, or to inadvertently “pinch/zoom” instead of making a stroke. Still, I’m happy with the initial results, even if I have a long way to go to get to the amazing quality of artwork I see others producing out there.

Published by heckj

Developer, author, and life-long student. Writes online at

3 thoughts on “sketching on the iPad

  1. hey i’m also in seattle. ๐Ÿ™‚ so pogo stylus is pretty good but i bough like 6 different ones and the best so far is the boxwave stylus. you don’t have to press like you do with the pogo and it glides really nice. (actually i’ve gotten 3 boxwaves and 2 glide really nice and one is not as good so hopefully if you try you’ll get a good one)

    for sketching apps you should try out one i just released called Sketch Club! ๐Ÿ™‚ it’s got some really cool brushes that Brushes and Sketchbook Pro don’t have and if you visit the site you can see i made a nice gallery where people can upload there stuff and rate other sketches and enter fun competitions. check it out if you get a chance! ๐Ÿ™‚


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