Sketching on the iPad Again

I am reading a book I haven’t looked at for many years “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards. This is a great book about drawing and sketching, along with her other book “Drawing on the Artist Within.” In both books she focuses on sketching as a technical skill, not a talent.

But why is sketching important, and is it only important to artists and architects. The answer is that it is important because sketching is not about art, it is not just about drawing, it is about looking and seeing the world, it’s about perception. Edwards believes that teaching the skills of drawing helps students to see the world and it helps them to use the right side of the brain to “see in new ways, with hopes that they would discover how to transfer perceptual skills to thinking and problem solving.”

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Sketching on an iPad

If you get my newsletter you would have seen this sketch (all images copyright Jonathan Pickup 2016).

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This sketch is from my trip to Chicago for the design summit and it was drawn on my iPad. I have been using my iPad, Apple Pencil and sketching software (Procreate).

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iPad Stylus 2 – Pencil by 53


This is supposed to be a great stylus and my friend Neil says that his works really well. But I have had terrible results with it. I got it to connect at first, but now it won’t connect to my iPad. Even when I did get it to connect, I found that the fatness of the stylus made it hard to see where I was drawing.

The design of the stylus is to simulate a buider’s pencil. That means that it will not roll away, like all my other styli did.


It is beautifully engineered, well balanced, and it was nice to hold.

It is an active stylus, which means that it has a battery that needs recharging. The battery is accessed by pulling out the tip of the stylus. This a a great way of charing the pencil, you do not need any special cables, you plug the battery straight into a USB port for charging. There is a charge light on it that will show green when the battery is fully charged.


I have two main problems with this pencil:

I can no longer get this to connect to any of my sketching apps.

When I did get it to connect, the fatness of the stylus prevents me from having fine and accurate control of the tools. I often found that I would start drawing a line away from my desired location. I would have to Undo and try again.

I have ordered a new pencil, to try this out again in case I have a dud pencil. I will let you know how it goes.

iPad Stylus 1

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I have been looking for a stylus for my iPad/Tablet so that I can use it to create sketches. I create a lot of sketches (usually to show a Vectorworks concept) and lately i have been creating 100’s of sketches for a course that I was writing for the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. And to explain the concepts of Marionette, I created lots of sketches. So i thought there must be a better way to create the sketches, rather than drawing them on paper and scanning them. 

it has been harder that I thought to find a good stylus. Stylus? why not use a finger? I find that using finger to draw is so inaccurate, I never know where the line will start. Just using a finger to draw has been a complete waste. 

So, now I’m looking for a stylus to draw with. I like the look of the Apple Pencil, but that will really only work with the iPad Pro. Before I invest $1600 on a tablet, i thought I would look at what kind of styli were available for my iPad.

So, that is the reason for trying out styli. I have bought plain ones, cheap ones, fat ones, expensive ones, and active ones (these are my favourites).