Digital Sketching with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil and Procreate

Why sketch digitally?

When Apple Pencil was first launched last year in Oct 2015, I gasped at how well the new stylus worked on the iPad Pro after watching a video demonstration by a great urban sketcher friend from Hong Kong. His name is Rob but he calls himself Rob Sketcherman. I got to know him when I attended a regional sketching symposium in Penang, Malaysia. He was sketching with the iPad, and I was really impressed by how he managed to make everything worked for him smoothly. I have tried sketching digitally with the iPad and iPad Mini with many different stylus but none work like he did. He shared his secrets with everyone else and I bought and tried all his methods but nothing worked for me. During the International Symposium held in Singapore last year in the month of July, I told Rob I was going to purchase a new iPad (v3) as the last resort to sketch digitally. Immediately, he told me to wait for the new iPad, at that time, we did not know that it would be called iPad Pro, but he knew its going to be bigger. I diligently waited for a couple more months before I got myself one in December 2015, and waited another month for the Pencil to arrive. By then I have already seen many video demonstrations on Youtube, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on the gadgets.

There was one burning question in my heart. If the Apple Pencil works so well, why weren't the Apple dealers in Singapore promoting it. For many months, the Apple Pencil did not show up on the shelves in many many Apple shops. A friend has to scour the earth and call up in order to finally find one that carried it. And when I asked around, not many creatives in Singapore actually got excited about it. Eventually I found out that the preferred stylus and tablets are actually Surface Pro, Samsung and Wacom. I guess there aren't many Apple supporters here. Oh well, I really don't care what others think as long as I am happy with my gadgets.

Since then I have been sketching digitally on the iPad Pro and it has slowly taken over my fountain pens and sketchbooks as the preferred choice of sketching, but not taken over entirely. I am still sketching with my pens and watercolours on papers, but recently I wasn't able to decide which to carry with me, so I turned to the iPad naturally. Recently I have also been tweeking the brush settings on Procreate so I could somehow emulate the effects of sketching traditionally. For example, I customised a brush that draws like the brush pen and I loved it.

The flexibility of the Procreate App makes it easy to make adjustments and providing the speed and ease of sketching fast. There is no lack and the response time is awesome. All the factors of a good drawing tablet. I wouldn't want to be bog down by settings, connections, sync-ing and so forth. I need the tablet to feel like drawing on paper though that is quite impossible, due to the glassy surface and the plastic feel of the stylus. The paper presets gives me the options of choosing which paper format and size. I love sketching on the long landscape format.


Since it is relatively light weight (almost weigh nothing to me), and fits into my bag easily, I carry it wherever I go. Sometimes my traditional mediums weigh more. I could do so much with so little. :D

It's always fun to finally find something that works well with my work flow. I like to sketch fast and problems like ink flow and finding water (still fun) sometimes frustrate me.

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