iPad Stylus

Sensū the iPad Paintbrush.

About a month ago I got a new stylus to use with my iPad and applications like ArtRage. To test out my new Sensū stylus is unique in the fact that active tip, is an actual paint brush. Unlike the Wacom Bamboo stylus that I still use on a regular basis, using the Sensū is a very different experience. To me it feels more like a real painting or drawing implement. My only wish is that it was pressure sensitive like an actual Wacom tablet.

To test the Sensū out I decided to add another image to the ArtRage motor sports group I did last year. I wanted to create something that I already had a process in place for, and could be compared to what I had done with the Bamboo. Overall I’m pretty happy with the results. Like all styluses, the Sensū isn’t perfect, but with a little practice, I feel like it gave me the best results so far.

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In ArtRage, and Procreate there is a little bit more lag time as I draw than I get with the Bamboo. What discovered is, the more often I saved while using ArtRage, the more the lag was reduced. I also began to appreciate that the lag slowed me down, and got me to pay better attention to what I was doing.

Another aspect of using the Sensū that I really like is the fluidity of the bristle tip. The way the stylus moves across the screen got me to loosen up, and really “paint” on screen like I was using a real brush. The bristle tip allowed me to be more gestural with brush strokes, and use my hand in a more natural way.

From an ergonomic standpoint the Sensū feels great in your hand. The weight is slightly heavier than most styluses which I actually like. It’s slightly longer allowing you to grip the stylus in a different way. The length also allows the stylus to rest across your hand between your thumb and forefinger giving you more subtle control it, and reducing fatigue, while painting or drawing for a longer period of time.

The Sensū stylus shines when it comes to things like drawing and painting. Where I still use the Bamboo stylus if for hand writing. The Sensū is capable of it, but the flexible bristle tip seems to make it hard for handwriting recognition apps to get what your actually writing out. Now with that said the the Sensū does have a rubber tip like the Bamboo, so you can use it the same way. The problem is to use the rubber tip you have to break the Sensū down, removing the cap/handle and placing it over the bristle end. This shortens the stylus length by half. I simple found it uncomfortable to use, so I switch to the Bamboo if I’m using an app like Paper or Taposé.

Overall the Sensū is a big winner in my book, and as apps like ArtRage and Procreate improve, using this stylus will only get better.

Adonit’s Jot Touch Stylus Might Be a Dream Come True.

I am on a constant search for a better iPad stylus. I want something for the iPad that feels like using a stylus on a Wacom Cintiq. Since buying my first iPad I have tried at least 4 different kinds of styluses, settling in on the Wacom Bamboo, but now having seent he video for the Jot Touch, I think it might be time to switch.

At $99.00 the Jot Touch isn’t cheap, but the feature set looks like it will justify the cost. This is the first iPad stylus to offer real pressure sensitivity, and the construction of the tip allows for more precise drawing and painting. At the end of the stylus is a transparent disc centered on a small metal ball that is attached to the handle. This allows the stylus to function like your fingertip, with the precision of a pen or pencil. This is a huge benefit for anyone whose drawing or painting style needs to be a little tighter than a quick sketch. In addition to the refined tip, Jot Touch also features a number of  shortcut buttons, Bluetooth connectivity and USB recharging.

Right now the stylus pressure sensitivity and buttons are supported by a number of applications including a couple of my faves, ArtRage, Sketchbook Pro, Notes Plus, Animation Desk, and ProCreate.

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.

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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