The Apple Pencil in Action

Using the Apple Pencil

After having to wait a week before I actually got the pencil in my hands following my order of the iPad Pro and also the Apple Pencil, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it at first. Did I need to charge it up? Did I need to go to settings to connect to the iPad? Then I remembered reading somewhere, the first thing to do is to plug into the iPad lightning port and the connection will be taken care of automatically. In any case, I was already aware that this is the way to charge the Apple Pencil. It’s not necessary to charge it up in this way very often, as giving it only 15 seconds of plugged in time will give it 30 minutes of usage. It’s easy enough to plug it in every now and again, go off and make a cup of tea and it will give you enough for a good session of drawing with your iPad Pro. The lightning connector at the end of pencil is covered by a magnetic cover which seems to be held on securely enough for general usage. It’s all looking good for going Post PC with the iPad Pro.

At the top of the post check out the Free Book about iPad Art Apps.

Palm rejection while using the Apple Pencil

To get good quality lines and shapes when you’re drawing, you do need to put your palm onto the iPad as it helps to steady the hand. Just the same as if you are painting and using a mahl stick (a small soft pad on the end a stick allowing you to steady your hand when you have a paintbrush and wet paint on the canvas.) I can report that the palm rejection software works flawlessly. When you are using the Apple Pencil and resting the side of your hand on the screen you don’t get any extra unwanted marks on your drawing. This makes it very comfortable to do precision work as you are drawing your lines. It’s a little bit like magic because you put your hand onto the screen first before the Apple Pencil touches the screen and you still don’t get unwanted lines. It is actually very impressive technology.

Drawing on the iPad

Comparisons with the Wacom Creative Stylus


I have both version 1 and version 2 of the Wacom creative stylus and they are both good quality. Version 1 has a larger round soft tip while version 2 as the hard small point. Version 1 feels better to draw with as the softer tip moves more smoothly on the screen, while version 2 feels a little bit harder and more difficult to control. The Apple Pencil somehow or other has the harder tip like version 2 of the Wacom, yet still feels smooth and controllable on the screen. You don’t get the harsh tap and movement of the end of the tip with the Apple Pencil as you do with the Wacom stylus. The difference in quality between the two in terms of the quality of the lines you get, is huge. The Apple Pencil is a joy to use in comparison. With the Wacom devices there is supposed to be pressure sensitivity, but that comes down to how well it is implemented in the various iPad drawing and painting applications. I haven’t seen much evidence of this pressure sensitivity and integration as yet. The Apple Pencil, on the other hand is well supported in Procreate and is certain to be implemented in all of the best iPad drawing applications. In Paper by 53 when you use the pen tool it is very easy to control the width of the line you’re drawing. Press a little bit harder to get a wider or thicker line. With the pencil tool in that application when you press harder the line is darker. This means if you want to do some shading in a small area, you can press lighter or harder to get the graduations of tone or colour. For larger areas of shading you can draw with the Apple Pencil at a low angle. Pixelmator for iPad hasn’t yet been updated for the Apple Pencil, but I am sure it will be quite soon. The application Concepts which is a vector style of application but feels like a bitmap editor at times has been updated to work well with the Apple pencil. Concepts is a marvellous application and I highly recommend it for iPad design and drawing work. I will also be looking forward to seeing an upgrade to the application ArtRage as soon as they can do it. With the application Tayasui Sketch you can use the Apple Pencil, but it hasn’t been well implemented as yet. There is a noticeable lag between the pointer of the Apple Pencil and the line you’re drawing. I’m sure it will get better in time as these applications get upgraded, but for the moment the best application for the Apple Pencil in my opinion is Procreate. See the article on iColorama on the iPad.

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The Apple Pencil in The hand

The body of the pencil feels slightly slippery. Despite that, it still feels good in the hand and easy to control as you draw. The balance of the Apple Pencil is just perfect for the length of it. The length of the Apple Pencil is a little longer than your usual stylus to use on an iPad. It doesn’t take too long to get that feeling of being totally comfortable with drawing with the device. When using Procreate and using one of the painting brushes you’ll see an outline of the shape of the brush on the screen as you use it. Not only that, you get visual feedback showing you the effect of the pressure sensitivity. This makes it very easy to get used to the amount of pressure you need to apply with the Apple pencil, so you can get a smooth transition from light to dark. After a couple of days of using the Apple Pencil I can safely say that I’m in love and I want to do more and more drawing with the perfect combination of iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

Have a look at Photo Art with Affinity Photo on Mac20Q