Brushes

Wacom Bamboo iPad Stylus Update.

I’ve been using the new Wacom Bamboo Stylus for the iPad for about two weeks now. My primary use has been sketching and painting in a variety of programs like Brushes, Art Rage, and Sketchbook Pro. I am going to say hands down that this is the best stylus I have used to date. It kicks the pants of the Dagi stylus which was my primary drawing tool, and it beats every other one that I have tried so far.

The Bamboo is similar to most of the other rubber tipped styluses out there, but the way it feels in your hand makes all the difference in the world. It has weight to it, and the shorter length lets it rest more naturally in your hand as you draw. That shorter length comes in handy, or at least in my case it does because it helps me keep my hand off the iPad surface as I draw and paint. I know this sounds odd, but there is something about the way I hold the stylus that makes it easier to keep my hand from coming in contact with the glass screen. It probably has something to do with the perfectly weighted balance of the stylus as it rests in your hand. The sturdy metal construction simply feels better than any other stylus for the iPad that I have used.

Drawing and painting with the Bamboo is simply wonderful. The smaller 6mm rubber tip makes it easy to see what you are working on. The stylus moves easily over the surface of the iPad. Depending on what application you are using and how many layers your drawing or painting has there is little to no lag time behind the stylus tip, and the digital painting surface. Applications like Art Rage, tend to lag a bit when using oil paints with heavy textures applied, but it’s not that bad really. The bottom line here is, Wacom did their homework and have hit this one out of the park.

At 30 dollars the price of the Bamboo might put some people off, but I think it is totally worth the money. If you are an artist, designer, or anyone that uses your iPad to write notes on this stylus is for you.

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Wacom Bamboo Stylus for the iPad

Yesterday after a four week delay, my new iPad stylus arrived from Amazon. The Bamboo Stylus from Wacom. I am smitten. The digital painting below was made with 3 iPad applications and the Bamboo Stylus. I could have done this with any of the other styluses that I own for the iPad, but none of them would have done it with the ease and accuracy of this one from Wacom.

The stylus tip is accurate, and the taper helps with positioning it in the right location. The stylus moves easily and freely over the iPad surface making the drawing feel natural and relaxed. ( well as relaxed as digital painting can feel. This isn’t like painting on canvas or paper )

This painting took about 4 hours to complete. The process was pretty straight forward. The plane was sketched out on paper, and photographed with my iPhone. I sent the image to my gmail account, and downloaded it to the iPad. Once the image was in my library, I opened it with Photogene, adjusted the contrast of the red pencil sketch, straightened it, and saved it. I then opened the the sketch in Brushes, set it as a reference layer, and blocked the color and shading in on a layer above it. Once I w satisfied with the color blocking, I saved the file to my library, opened Art Rage, and imported the color blocked initial painting. From here I used Art Rage to finish the painting, working with oil paints, flat and round brushes, and tweaking the drying settings to allow for color blending and texture build up.

The results aren’t going to win me any awards, but I’m off to a good start. I’m thinking with some practice, I should be able to get proficient enough to use these tools to paint and draw from life, rather than starting with a base sketch that I essentially scanned in. Only time will tell.

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Wacom Introduces an iPad Stylus.

Since the iPad hit the market a year ago, I have been clamoring for Wacom to get in the game and make a stylus for said device. Well it looks like my wish is about to come true.

Wacom, the largest and most popular manufacturer of graphics tablets for the desktop computer has decided to produce a stylus for the iPad. This is a big deal, because most of the current styluses suck. I know I have given positive reviews to both the Touchtec, and Dagi styluses, but at the end of the day they really are lacking when it comes to responsiveness and accuracy. With Wacom entering the market, it looks like we will be getting a stylus designed and built by the leader on the desktop side.

Unlike most of the bulky, thick tipped styluses on the market, the Wacom stylus is lighter, has a more natural feeling in the hand, and the tip is 25% smaller which translates to better accuracy, and a natural feeling when writing, drawing or painting. Wacom’s many years of graphics tablet and digital pen making experience will hopefully lead to a much nicer stylus. That 25% smaller tip (6mm vs, 8mm) is a huge plus for me.

Wacom describes the stylus as having “satin-textured metal body and balanced weighting” which sounds like it will be as comfortable to hold the digital pen you are used to with Wacom’s line of desktop graphics tablets.

If you are wondering why you would want to have a stylus instead of using your finger, there are a number of reasons, especially if you use any of the drawing and painting applications available for the iPad. A stylus gives you better control and a more natural form of input when you draw on the iPad. I know that sounds counter intuitive, but your finger tip is fat, and it blocks what you are seeing unless you are zoomed way in on the screen. And when it comes to note taking, I can write with a stylus faster than I can type on the virtual keyboard.

For me, I am looking forward to trying this out with apps like Brushes, Art Rage, and Sketch though. I have been using the Daggi stylus for a while, and it works. The thing is though, you have to conform to holding the stylus in a specific way which makes using it challenging at times. I can’t wait until this is in a store where I can check it out in person. I have a feeling that like all Wacom products it is going to raise the bar quite a bit for other stylus manufacturers.

The Bamboo Stylus will be priced at $29.99 and become available mid-May on the Wacom site, at Amazon, and in most electronics retail outlets.

Yes I’m Going to Buy One.

Just in case you have been in a coma, or living under a rock for the last 24 hours, yesterday Apple introduced the iPad 2 to the world. On the surface the update seems like a fairly minor upgrade, with a simple speed bump, addition of cameras, and the gyroscope. (stuff that probably should have been in iPad 1) The thing that made me say “Yes I’ll buy the new one.” was the 2x faster CPU and the 9x faster graphics chip sets.


This extra horsepower under the hood opens up the possibility for some serious and complex computing for full featured applications like Apple’s iMovie, and Garageband for the iPad. With the upgrade to the 1GHz dual-core Apple A5 CPU, and the faster dedicated graphics chip, the iPad 2 is not just a mobile media center with light browsing capabilities.

The iPad 2 packs enough power to run an iPad version of a fully functional Photoshop for example, not just a simple photo editing application. (rumor has it that Adobe is indeed working on a version of Photoshop for the iPad that is more functional than the iPhone version.) In addition to applications like Photoshop, the iPad 2 will be able to run some serious 3D applications that scientists, doctors and engineers require for their work, or third-party video editing software that will be a huge benefit for video pros. Bottom line, it will be able to pretty much do anything that doesn’t require moving of huge amount of data that the 32 to 64GB of storage space can’t handle.

The new power combined with a thinner and lighter form factor will allow people to use the iPad in even more situations. It will truly become a transcendent device that allows people to use this device where previously a mobile phone’s screen and processing power was too small to handle the job or a laptop was too big and heavy for the situation.

I use my iPad for content creation and sketching on a regular basis, running applications like Brushes, SketchBook, ArtRage, and Photogene, as well as Pages and Keynote. I am looking forward to a more responsive device, that is capable of doing more tasks. While I wish that the iPad 2 had a higher resolution screen and a card reader, these are two things that I can get by with out for now.

My current iPad has already replaced my aging laptop, and the new iPad brings enough to the table to justify selling my old one and purchasing the iPad 2.

Images Made With Brushes on the iPad.

This morning I have received a couple of email from people asking me for examples of stuff I have painted with Brushes and the Dagi stylus on the iPad. Rather than add more friends to Facebook, I decided to post these images that were uploaded to Facebook last week. All of them were drawn by hand on the iPad with the stylus from scratch using the application “Brushes” which is also available for the iPhone. I would upload more, but I left the iPad at home today, so I’ll have to them to this post tonight when I get back to the house. For my review of the Dagi stylus go here

The Dagi Capacitive Stylus for the iPad Review.

Update: When I wrote this review, Wacom had not released the Bamboo stylus for the iPad. Since I got the Bamboo stylus, I haven’t touched the Dagi. Why? because it pretty much sucks in comparison. You can read my thoughts on the Bamboo here, and to see the kind of work I am producing with it, click the ArtRage link at the top of the page.

Since I bought my iPad, I have been exploring using it as a digital sketchbook. I have a couple of paint applications that I use, but I almost always fallback to “Brushes”. I find it easier to use than “Sketchbook Pro”. Both applications are great, I simply have been using brushes longer and I’m more familiar with the paint tools etc. Both applications do a great job when it comes to digital painting, but both benefit from using a stylus. Or I should say I benefit from using a stylus. My fat fingers get in the way making it hard for me to sketch, and paint. And because I tend to go in and do tight clean up, when using my finger I have to zoom all the way in. Bottom line it is a hassle.


I am now on stylus number two, and I am sold on this one. Last Friday I received  in the mail, my fabulous Dagi Capacitive Stylus. It is the most expensive of the three I have tried coming in at $23.00, but it has the most promise. The Dagi, has a clear plastic tip, with a red dot in the center indicating the exact point that you will paint or draw from. The tip is angled away from the barrel of the stylus creating a more natural feel when holding it, and that plastic tip lets you see exactly where you are painting. The feel of it in your hand is superb. Another plus to the plastic tip is that it glides over the surface of the iPad or iPhone with zero resistance. One of the issues I had with the TouchTec stylus was that the leather tip tended to sort of stick, or have this kind of drag when you would try to use it. It wasn’t much but it was noticeable.


The Dagi like all styluses, has a bit of a lag at times when drawing with it. By this I mean that the line you are drawing might trail just behind that small red dot as you move your hand. The thicker the brush, the more transparency, the more fall off etc. all effects this. It is possible that this has less to do with the stylus, and more to do with the processing power of your iPad or iPhone. (This is not a Wacom hooked up to your Macbook Pro.)


The Dagi is a simple device. It is a medium length metal barrel. On one end you have the stylus tip, on the other end a plastic plug with a hole drilled in it so you can attach it to a lanyard or strap of some kind. I’m not exactly sure what the Stylus material is made of, I just know it works, and the surface is pretty sensitive allowing you to slightly roll it back or tilt it without losing contact. So far it seems pretty durable, but I have to be honest here. The plastic stylus end is pretty thin. If you are rough on your gear or heavy-handed you might break or crack the tip off. I am sure that Dagi has tested these out, and I bet they did an impact test, I’m just noting that the flat plane that makes up the stylus tip is about 1/32 of an inch thick. It is very thin, and it is plastic.

After using the stylus for a week, I haven’t seen any issues with the surface of both my iPad and iPhone. No scratches, or marks left behind on them at all. I am really happy with the results that I have gotten from the Dagi stylus, and I’ll probably use this until something better comes along. I’m still hoping that Wacom brings something to the table that has more of a pencil tip point, and an eraser on the back just like the one I use with my tablet. Wacom, are you listening?

Painted with the Dagi Stylus and Brushes on the iPad.