Apple iPads are popular for myriad reasons. Known as all-rounders, they offer access to hundreds of apps and are packed with features to cater to all activities and users. The iPad is not classed as a dedicated drawing tablet, but how does it perform in comparison to other makes and models on the market, and what should you know before buying a tablet with a screen for drawing?
7 things to know about the iPad as a drawing tablet
If you’re shopping for a drawing tablet, it’s wise to research and consider the pros and cons of different types of tablets before making your decision. Here are 7 things to know about the iPad:
1 - Is iPad a drawing tablet?
If you’re interested in art, animation and drawing, and you’re looking for a tablet, you may be wondering if the iPad will cover all bases. Apple iPads are among the most versatile tablets, but do they offer all the benefits and features of graphics tablets and are they good for drawing?
The iPad is not strictly a drawing tablet, but it delivers high levels of functionality for aspiring artists, as well as professionals. You can create digital art on drawing tablets and iPads and they offer access to brilliant apps, which are suitable for animation and drawing manga. The iPad Air and Mini are good for rough sketches and putting ideas down on the screen, while the iPad Pro offers a step up in terms of class. Many manga artists may still prefer a dedicated drawing tablet, but the iPad Pro is definitely an option worth considering.
Drawing with an iPad is easy and simply requires the use of the Apple Pencil. Once you have the stylus, you can create a huge range of artistic products and ideations via apps and programs and creative freestyling. Most of the newer iPads are suitable for beginners and those who like to draw for fun. Professionals may gravitate towards the more advanced models, including the iPad Pro.
2 - iPad vs. Others
The range of drawing tablets is diversifying and increasing in size all the time. Consumers now have more choice than ever, so how does the iPad stack up against other leading products?
Apple and Microsoft are tech giants, but neither is known specifically for drawing tablets. Both the iPad and the Microsoft Surface are impressive in terms of their all-around capabilities and functions, but the iPad Pro is more powerful, the drawing screen is larger, the color accuracy is better and the spectrum of apps is likely to appeal to artistic buyers. When comparing these products, it’s also important to factor in personal choice. Some people are very familiar with particular operating systems and they prefer to stick with one over the other.
Another option to consider is the Samsung range of tablets. If you’re looking for an Android tablet with a pen, Samsung’s Galaxy tablets may be of interest. The newest models are great for drawing, but they don’t quite hit the dizzy heights of the iPad Pro at a similar price.
Wacom has dominated the drawing tablet market for years and is still considered the name to beat in the realms of professional digital pen displays and drawing tablets. The iPad is getting closer to models like the Wacom Cintiq, especially with the newer versions of the iPad Pro, but Wacom may still win out for buyers who are looking for drawing tablets, rather than devices for other uses. Wacom tablets are ideally suited to people who like to work in front of a computer, multitask and utilize advanced programs like Creative Cloud from Adobe. The iPad range suits people on the go and those who prefer to draw directly onto a screen.
For digital art, iPad users can benefit from Procreate, a fantastic illustration app. Some digital artists prefer to use Procreate over Wacom. In this case, buying an iPad Pro may be a better option.
3 - Price Comparison
One of the main disadvantages of buying an iPad for drawing is the cost. Even the cheapest iPads are much more expensive than other drawing tablets, which is why it’s best to think about how you want to use your tablet before you set a budget. The best iPad for drawing is the iPad Pro, but this is also at the top of the price range at over $799. More affordable iPad options, which are also good for drawing, animation and digital art include:
- iPad Air + Apple Pencil (from $698)
- iPad Mini + Apple pencil (from $598)
Learning to draw with the Apple Pencil is easy once you get used to the device. The iPad Pro offers access to a vast array of features and apps for artists making it suitable for graphic design, editing, animation, drawing and sketching.
4 - Digital vs. Paper
Is drawing on paper better than drawing on a tablet? Advances in technology mean that artistic, creative individuals have scope to explore different ways of creating art. Some people prefer to draw on paper, some prefer to draw on a tablet, such as an iPad pro, and others like to enjoy a mixture of media. It’s not difficult to draw on an iPad, and it’s worth exploring new ways to draw and create content if you enjoy sketching and you’re open to new ideas.
5 - Connectivity
Connectivity is important when comparing tablets. Some drawing tablets have to be connected to a computer or laptop, while others can be used independently. Drawing tablets and graphics tablets known as passive tablets need to be connected to a computer. Examples include Wacom and Huion tablets. Standalone drawing tablets, such as the Simbans Picasso and PicassoTab XL, function without being connected to a laptop. Apple iPads, Samsung tablets and the Microsoft Surface are portable, so you can draw on the go.
Generally speaking, it’s best to stick with the tools and apps designed for the tablet you buy when exploring apps, software programs and pens and pencils. If you have an iPad, for example, you won’t be able to use a Wacom Stylus unless you buy a pen that is specially designed for use with the iPad. You can use Adobe Animate on iPads via the sidecar function and you can also use Procreate with Wacom once you have paired your Stylus. The Wacom Intuos does not support iOS, but you can buy a Wacom Stylus for use with an iPad.
6 - Beginners or Professionals?
Some drawing tablets are ideal for beginners while others boast advanced features and technology that are suitable for professionals. The iPad range caters to everyone from novices who want to develop their drawing and animation skills to seasoned pros, but it may not be the first choice for professional artists. Some professionals still prefer dedicated drawing tablets. If the tablet is being used specifically for drawing and digital art, beginners may want to choose a cheaper device, as iPads are among the most expensive options. The Simbans PicassoTab XL is an ideal choice for beginners who don’t want to break the bank. It is affordable, easy to use and it doesn’t need to be connected to a computer.
7 - Apple Pencil
It’s beneficial to consider the quality, functionality and connectivity of the drawing pen before deciding which tablet to buy. Apple Pencil is highly rated. It works well with Apple devices, but does not work on Android devices like Samsung tablets. Latency is a factor when exploring iPad models. The latency is lowest in the latest models, including iPad Pros from 2017 and later. In comparison with the Samsung S, the Samsung pen feels more like a real pencil and provides an enjoyable drawing experience. The Apple Pencil is easier to use and better to draw with than Microsoft’s Surface Pen, which is recommended for note-taking. If you have an iPad, you can also use the Wacom Stylus.
The iPad is an excellent option for drawing and animation, especially for buyers who want to use a tablet for other purposes, such as work, watching movies, listening to music and hanging out with friends virtually, but there are downsides. The iPad is not the obvious choice for all professional artists and it is expensive, which makes it a less appealing option for beginners and those looking exclusively for a drawing tablet. Wacom is a market leader, which is popular among experienced artists and novices may prefer to opt for more affordable tablets, such as the Simbans PicassoTab XL.