Welcome back, digital artists or random note-takers. Before we jump right in, I will not be including the Apple Pencil(s) on this list because everyone who writes or draws on the iPad, has heard of it and uses it. This list involves some stylish unknowns and productive novelties from a mechanical keyboard to a fast charger. Let’s get started.
I use the Parblo PR 100 but there are numerous options on Amazon. Why do you need one? Well, most iPad users have a folio case either from Amazon or Apple (way too overpriced) and they fold it back and use it as a stand for writing or drawing. It creates a bad angle that’s not good for your neck and shoulders; it involved a lot of hunching over. This is where this stand comes in. At an ergonomic height(s) akin to that of a drawing tablet, your body posture will thank you.
Matte Screen Protector
I promise this is not another Paperlike 2 review. I use one from Supershieldz. Matte screen protectors are relatively common to the point where there are numerous sellers on Amazon selling them. As an artist, it creates the illusion of drawing on paper and eliminates that pencil tapping on glass sound. Overall, a better drawing experience is…experienced. In conclusion, don’t spend $40 on a screen protector. I recommend this video by MobileReviewsEh on Youtube.
A numpad is short for a number pad. These are for artists who like to keep their pen on the canvas at all times. In your drawing software (I use Clip Studio Paint), you can program the tools and features you use the most to the keys on the numpad for easy access. For instance, programming the select tool to 1, or the save tool to 0. It significantly improves drawing or designing efficiency. I use a mechanical one called the GK21s but you don’t need it, I just have expensive taste. I recommend these that offer a wide range of prices to choose from.
It is known that Apple covers all bases including palm rejection for the Apple Pencils. But I’m a skeptic. I always use a drawing glove when drawing on my iPad despite having a matte screen protector. My hand slides over the screen easily and most importantly, no nasty palm and hand oils getting all over my display. I recommend the SmudgeGuard® drawing glove of which I own two.
Wireless Keyboard & Mouse
You’re not a writer, you’re an artist. You’re not on a laptop, you’re on a touch screen device. Okay, bad analogies. But some tasks require a bit more screen and precision. What do I mean? Well, posting your artwork (if you primarily use the iPad) online, that virtual keyboard can take up space that does not enable you to preview what you’re writing. Secondly, editing is much more precise if you’re working with dialogue (if you’re a mangaka or comic artist) in your artwork. Believe me, I know what it’s like to tap the screen with the pencil and the virtual keyboard doesn’t pop up. Not everyone likes to use Scribble.
It is as the name says, it’s for traveling. Everyone could benefit from a travel sleeve but as iPad Pro artists, we reap a huge benefit by having a little more protection than our cases as we are more likely to draw on the go. It doesn’t hurt to get the ones that have extra pockets for peripherals like a keyboard, a numpad, or the Apple Pencil. I currently use one from ProCase which comes with a smaller pouch for your charger and maybe a flash drive. However, if you want something a bit more stylish and personal, I suggest vendors on Etsy like GrandiUa, iCareCases, and CushCaseDesigns.
One simple purpose. Long. Drawing. Sessions. It’s no surprise that the iPad Pro lives up to its 10-hour battery life claim but picture this; You’re working on a big project, numerous layers, cycling between different apps to pull inspiration from former artwork, downloading references, and taking Youtube breaks in between to name a few. That battery isn’t doing too hot but you’re so in the zone so you don’t see that green battery icon turning to red. Getting a fast charger eliminates that disturbance. I use an L-shaped cable and a RAVPower charger for my battery woes.
Wireless is the standard in today’s technology consumption environment and when you’re working on an iPad, having fewer cables is much more convenient. I use the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones. To be honest they’re great but pricey and you can find various affordable alternatives on Amazon. Spotify or Youtube and some nice wireless headphones make for a great drawing session.
I could’ve made a list of recommended items for this article but keeping it open-ended seemed optimal because we all have different needs and wants when it comes to drawing. Some people like back and neck pain (I commend you good sirs and madams), whereas others love that tapping noise the Apple Pencil makes (weirdos, that’s who), in the end, I hope you get something out of this article. Before I go, check out ergo josh’s video for solid and specific recommendations. Talk to you all in the next one.
Vincent Bekong | @mrbekong
I am Vincent Bekong, Freelance Illustrator and Character Designer by day, medium article writer by night! You can find me on Upwork for project collaborations or on Instagram @mrbekong for one-off commissions.