Whether you’re a doodler or a proficient note taker to a great artist there are many styli out there ready to empower you to create magic. Here at SmartArt we look at some of the best out there and give you a good review of each so you can choose the best one that suits you!
The market for smart pens and pencils is now bursting with many viable options and digital art is coming alive with each stroke!
Apple Pencil (£89 - Apple)
Where it all began – the Apple pencil may have debuted towards the end of 2015 but it has already set the standard for styli. Before going into details, the Pencil only works with the 9.7-inch, 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the 6th Generation iPad. The Pencil itself is one of the fastest, and most responsive styli we have used with essentially no latency (certainly not noticed by us).
Thanks to the pressure sensitive screen the iPad Pro, the Pencil can produce incredibly fine lines with variations in gradient as you increase pressure. The side of the tip creates wider strokes, which is great for shading, and the tip can also offer a fine point when you need it. It can be slippery at times, but generally sits pretty well in the hand.
Sadly, the Pencils other end only features a charging cap that’s easy to lose rather than an eraser!
But other benefits include the fact that the Pencil is designed to expand on the versatility of Multi-Touch, giving artists freedom to sketch, paint and draft ideas on the go. It’s known for its fast response from when you begin drawing to when the lines appear on screen, using twice the data points it normally collects when you use your finger!
The Pencil can run for 12 hours on a full charge, or if you’ve only got a few minutes, 15 seconds of charging from your iPad Pro will give you 30 minutes of battery life.
Adobe Ink & Slide (£22)
If you’re already invested in Adobe apps and the Creative Cloud, Adobe’s Ink and Slide stylus and ruler combo may just be the perfect tools for you. The Ink & Slide can connect to any iPad 4 or later. iPad Air, or iPad Mini via Bluetooth LE. It’s also synced up with the Creative Cloud, so every drawing you make or preference you set will be stored in the cloud for you to access on your computer or other devices later. The Ink & Slide also works with Adobe’s illustrator Line and Photoshop Sketch apps.
The Ink stylus has fine a fine-tip, pressure-sensitive point and feels like a normal pen in your hand. The ink uses Pixelpoint technology from Adonit for greater accuracy. A status LED on the stylus even shows you what colour you choose, so you don’t make any mistakes (how cool). The Slide ruler can be used to make perfectly straight lines, circles, and other shapes. Even though it’s a pricier stylus, the Ink & Slide does come with a USB charger and carrying case, and it’s the ideal stylus for serious creatives who are deeply invested in Adobe’s products already.
Fiftythree Pencil, digital stylus for iPad (£30 - https://www.fiftythree.com/pencil)
53 Pencil is one of the best all-around artistic styli when used in conjunction with the company’s app Paper. Using the pre-set tools available in the app – available for iOS – you can produce remarkable watercolour paintings, fine line drawings, pen and ink sketches, as well as dynamic comic-book like images with the marker function.
53 specifically designed Pencil to feel solid and comfortable in your hand. It’s shaped like a carpenter’s pencil and even comes in real walnut wood! Pencil even touts a built-in eraser on the end, so you can just flip it around when you want to erase. You can also use pencil to smudge lines and create a nice blurred effect.
Although Pencil works best with Paper, it also fully compatible with popular drawing and painting app Procreate and Noteshelf. It connects to your iPad via Bluetooth, and once you’ve paired it, you’ll never have to do so again. When it runs out of battery, you can just remove the tip and pop the USB into any standard USB port.