Hey everyone in this article: Which iPad should I buy for drawing? I’m going to help you decide which I’ve had to get for drawing purposes. So this article is for people who are thinking of getting an iPad to draw on for sketching for creating art, perhaps, or graphic design.
We will go through the features and the pros and cons of each iPad that is available from Apple. Anyway, in this article, I’m going to give you my thoughts on all these iPads from the perspective of an artist someone who uses an iPad indoors as well as outdoors when urban sketching for creating art.
Let’s take a look at the different iPad models currently available from Apple with this comparison chart that compares the features that may affect the drawing experience. The main differentiating factor between these iPads when it comes to the drawing experience really comes down to the size because regardless of the specifications and features that you see here, the Apple Pencil performance is consistent across all these iPads. I’ll talk more about the size and usability later on.
Which iPad should I buy for drawing? Apple pencil features:
Let’s take a look at some of the features. So Apple pencil is supported on all tablets it could be the first or second-generation Apple Pencil. Whether the display is laminated or has a high refresh rate, how much RAM there is how many layers you can create with procreate, the storage capacity, the weight of the tablet, the battery life, and of course the prices will vary depending on which model you get and how much storage you get them on iPad Pro from 2021 have the best specifications but they are also the most expensive. The other iPads are more affordable, relatively speaking, but they are missing a few features here and there.
about the Apple Pencil:
Let me talk about the Apple Pencil first before I go into the selling point and the pros and cons of each model. This is the first generation Apple Pencil and this is the second generation there are some differences. The first difference is how they charge so if the first generation it charges using this lightning connector at the back, the iPad models with the home button are the ones that support Apple pencil first generation and to charge the Apple Pencil you can connect it to the lightning port at the back here and as you can see it doesn’t look that nice, but this is actually the most common way to charge the Apple Pencil.
Make sure you don’t lose the cat because it’s very easy to lose the cat I’ve lost it once before. The other way to charge the Apple Pencil is to use the cable together with the adapter that is included. This is also very easy to lose because it’s so small. The other thing about this Apple pencil is the design is so logical. So when you put this on a table make sure you put it in such a way that there is no way for it to roll off the table. My own Apple pencil has rolled off the table countless times and when it hits the ground.
The pen tip sometimes cheap off pen tips are replaceable and these are compatible with first and second-generation Apple Pencils. In my other article, people say this is a crude way to charge the Apple Pencil. It is what it is. When you are outdoors. This is the way you’re going to charge the Apple Pencil because are we going to find a power socket?
connector design of Apple Pencil:
so that you can charge the Apple Pencil with the cable and connector design of Apple Pencil two is a huge improvement over the first model. So now it has this flat side that you can snap to the side of a compatible iPad for pairing and for charging. And since this Apple pencil is always by the side of the iPad, it’s always going to be charged you don’t have to worry about battery life. And this Flipside also prevents the Apple Pencil from rolling around too much.
Hopefully, before it rolls off the table. There is also an extra sensor that can detect your finger tapping on the stylus and this can call up shortcuts depending on the app that you use. Personally, I would disable this shortcut because I always tap on the side accidentally too often. If you buy the Apple Pencil together with the iPad and you happen to buy Apple Care the Apple Care Coverage we’ll cover the Apple Pencil
Apple Pencil supports tune-in pressure sensitivity:
as well. Apple Pencil supports tune-in pressure sensitivity, you can vary the thickness of the line by adjusting the pressure you apply and you can use the side of the Apple Pencil for shading it’s quite accurate so the lines always come out exactly the way I expect them to. initial activation force of the Apple Pencil is very low as long as the pen tip is touching the display. Even if you don’t apply pressure you can get a line. The low initial activation force makes it possible to draw strokes that taper very smoothly. Like what you see here.
Palmer rejection is provided by Ford with the Apple Pencil and it works really well. And depending on the app you use, you may get perfect palm rejection. So for example, with procreate, you can go into the settings to tell the app to accept only pen input for drawing. So when you draw with your finger, nothing happens when you place your palm on the display and your drawing, will not introduce any stray strokes, Apple Pencil, one and two have the same drawing performance.
pros and cons of each iPad:
Which iPad should I buy for drawing? iPad Mini:
Starting with the smallest one iPad Mini, the base model iPad Mini with 64 gigs of storage starts at us $499. And this year in 2021, Apple has updated the design to feature slim uniform bezels. with rounded corners, there is this touch sensor and power button. And now it supports Apple pencil so the display is vibrant and bright. And the visuals are very sharp. I can say that for all the displays across the iPad lineup. And the main selling point here really is the form factor.
This is very compact and very portable, the weight is 293 grams. So it’s really lightweight. And this is a tablet you can hold comfortably in one hand like this very securely. And you can also hold it like this for long periods of time with just one hand on a site here with a dark feeling of discomfort.
So that really is the main selling point. But for drawing purposes, I don’t like it because this is a much smaller display compared to other iPads. When drawing on this display, I feel kind of restricted due to the smaller size. And also if you’re holding a tablet like this to draw, your hand is moving the other hand is also moving so it’s a bit more difficult to control the lines. But if you raise your palm on the display, you can see your hand is going to block off a huge portion of the display.
And you’d have if you have the display horizontally like this and you are drawing, it’s also going to block off a huge portion of the user interface elements that are going to appear smaller. And depending on the app that you use, some of the buttons can be really small. For example, with this app concept, the buttons are sometimes so small that I have to tap a few times to hit the button. So in this case, I had to tap three times to go to the home gallery. Yep, so this can be an issue that you will face when working with such small user interface elements.
Affinity Designer a graphic design app:
This app is Affinity Designer a graphic design app. All the buttons here are just way too small for me to tap on accurately with my finger, I have to use an Apple pencil to tap on the icons accurately. And also this palette here is so small the taxes so small. This 8.3-inch display is not something I would recommend for graphic design work. And icons are also too small for me to see easily. The display is laminated so there is no gap between the line and the LCD.
If you value portability, this is the one to get this is a very compact portable sketch pad that you can bring around easily anywhere. And when you put this inside of the bet you probably won’t even notice the extra weight. Personally, for me, I don’t mind carrying something slightly heavier so that I can work with a larger display because this 8.3-inch screen size view is quite limiting to me. Having said that, I do have an artist friend who swears by this form factor.
about the 10.2-inch iPad 2021:
Next, let’s talk about the 10.2-inch iPad 2021. The base model with 64 gigs of storage starts at us $329. And if you want to increase more storage to 256 gigs, it’s $479 which is still cheaper compared to the base model of the iPad Mini which is $499. And with that, you only get 64 gigs of storage. So the main difference between these two obviously is the size. If you take a look at how small the iPad Mini is, it is quite small compared to this 10.2-inch display. On the larger iPad, you can draw details without having to zoom in. And because you don’t have to zoom in you get to see more of your sin.
Let’s take a look at this size:
Let’s take a look at this sketch. So I have sized these two artworks to be at the same size. So When I draw the details here, I can still see a lot of the scene, I can still see the van that is parked on the street. Whereas on the iPad Mini, you can see all the visuals outside are just cropped off. So when I want to see the whole scene, again, I have to zoom out when I want to draw the details, because this is so small, I have to zoom in to draw the details and zoom out again to see the overall scene. But here, I can actually just draw the details without having to zoom in. And I can see a much wider scene. So this I find is quite useful compared to the iPad Mini.
And also all the palettes here are bigger. The user interface elements are bigger, the tax is bigger, the icons are bigger, easier for your eyes to see, and easier for your fingers to tap on accurately, the bezels on the iPad are huge, but you can actually raise your palm on the bezels. And you still get a large proportion of the canvas to work with.
Whereas if you have an iPad, meaning the bezels are small, it looks great, but you don’t have space for you to raise your palm. So you have to push your hand further in and you can see blocks off the screen, you’re only left with this small portion, the iPad may only have three gigs of RAM, but the overall drawing experience is due for a really smooth move. When it comes to navigating around the canvas zooming in and out rotating, yep, all this is going to be very smooth, there is no lag whatsoever. The only limitation here is you won’t be able to create as many layers compared to the other iPads with more RAM. The only display that is not laminated is the iPad display.
So when you’re drawing, there is this small gap between the pen tip and line on the LCD. It’s a small gap. So it’s not going to introduce parallax, there is no misalignment, and Apple Pencil tracking is still very accurate.
So the small gap, the nonlaminated display actually doesn’t affect drawing performance at all. It’s just that when you are tapping on a display like this, the sound sounds a bit hollow. And when you’re not looking for the gap, you really can’t see the gap at all,
Selling points for the iPad:
the main selling point for the iPad is you get the same terrific drawing performance you have a larger and more comfortable display size to work with and pricing is quite reasonable for the drawing performance that it provides. Now, this drawing area is almost the same size as A five-size sketchbook. So this is a really nice size to work with. The downside here is the design looks a bit dated, and it’s noticeably heavier compared to the iPad Mini. This is 487 grams. So this is not something I can use with one hand like this for long periods of time, especially when I’m sketching outdoors.
So I need to hold it like this, which is not a big deal. But when you have a case on it, it’s going to be heavier. Anyone can hold it and have it in one hand, no problem, but how long you can hold it is a different question. So usually, for me, when I’m outdoors sketching, I will hold a tablet like this for 30 to even up to two hours and my Tom can really be great. The next step I want to talk about is the iPad error, which is a tablet I do not have because I don’t have all the tablets.
Anyway, the iPad area is quite similar to this iPad in terms of drawing performance, but the design looks like the 11-inch iPad Pro. So the iPad area is between this iPad and the 11-inch iPad Pro, the base model of the iPad air starts at 599 US dollars.
So that is almost two times the price of this tablet. And if you increase the storage to 256 gigs, that’s $749. Again, it’s almost two to $300 more than this in terms of the performance like the joint performance or it’s very similar. So that is why this iPad which is so much cheaper provides more value compared to the iPad pair. But the design here is dated whereas the iPad Air looks cooler with the thinner bezels but that’s about it. Oh, the display on the iPad error is laminated.
Here it’s not laminated hurt, but as I’ve said earlier, not having a laminated display is not a big deal because when you’re drawing If you don’t really see the gap between the positive and the line, the iPad Air also has the same fingerprint power sensor supports Apple Pencil too and has the real speakers, the speakers on the iPad. The speakers on the iPad are down here whereas on the iPad Air is on the left and right side so you get better stereo quality.
Which iPad should I buy for drawing? iPad Air:
Now the iPad Air will give you better user experience pay attention to the choice of words that I’m using here. Use the experience but the drawing performance and drawing experience, it’s going to be quite similar. The iPad Air 2020 In my opinion is for people who want a good-looking tablet but don’t want to stretch their budget to buy the 11-inch iPad Pro. Let’s take a look at this comparison table again.
Now if you have the budget for the iPad error but don’t have the budget for the 11-inch iPad Pro from 2021. I highly recommend you go with the refurbished model the 11-inch iPad Pro from 2020 which is just $10 more and with the extra $10 You spend you get a 120-hertz refresh rate more RAM more layers with procreating. You also get more storage at the base level. And you get all these extra features for just $10 it’s a no-brainer. Go with the refurbished model, it’s available I do not recommend going with the iPad Air 2020 If refurbish model is available.
now let’s talk about the iPad Pros the 11-inch and the 12.9 inches. Now if you want some sort of portability, I will recommend you go with the 10-inch iPad the 10.2-inch iPad, 10.9 inch iPad Air, or the 11-inch iPad Pro. If you want to work with a large display then there is only one option the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
value for your money:
If you want value for your money, I recommend you go with the refurbished version from 2020.
pricing between the M one iPad Pros from 2021 and the refurbished iPad Pros from 2020:
Let’s take a look at this chart again more specifically at the pricing between the M one iPad Pros from 2021 and the refurbished iPad Pros from 2020.
So the 11-inch and one iPad Pro is $800. The 11-inch refurbished iPad Pro is almost $600. That’s almost $200 difference if we go with the refurbished model. For the 12.9 inch M one iPad Pro is $1,100. For the 12.9-inch iPad Pro refurbished, it’s $749. So this is almost $350 lower compared to the M one iPad Pro. I mean, this is the deal here.
What difference between the M one iPad Pro versus the refurbished model from 2020?
So what’s the difference between the M one iPad Pro versus the refurbished model from 2020? Well, you get a brighter display the M one iPad Pro has HDR display. So what’s the difference between the M one iPad Pro versus the refurbished model?
Well, the M on iPad Pro is using a mini LED LED display so the display is actually slightly brighter in normal use. And when it comes to watching HDR movies, you get better HDR effects the visuals contrast better. But when it comes to the performance, the benchmarks are better with the M one processor, that’s for sure. But when it comes to actual drawing performance, or usability two iPads are identical.
Oh in case you’re wondering why I have two 12.9-inch iPad Pros here. It’s because my 2018 model actually broke, the screen was black, and it wasn’t able to restart. And that’s why I bought this replacement and one iPad Pro After the return period this came back to life so now I have to and after this came back to life I’ve been using this 90 to 95% of the time.
So even though the benchmarks for the Mr. iPad Pro is like much better compared to this old iPad Pro. The actual usability of the user performance in real life. They are identical. So in terms of value for money, I don’t really recommend the M one iPad Pro simply because the refurbished version of 2020 exists. Apple also increase the launch price of the 12.9 inches and iPad Pro by $100 over the previous model we call using the mini-lab display on this and yes, the display is definitely nicer compared to the previous model.
However, the display on the previous models of the iPad Pro the air, and the iPad Mini, those displays look good too they have good colors and good brightness. So in terms of value for money, in my opinion, one iPad Pros are not worth the money, especially when the refurbished versions of the 2020 models are available.
IPad Pro is a wonderful size:
This 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a wonderful size to work with if you don’t mind the weight. This is how the size compares to A five-size sketchbook so you can see this display is noticeably larger compared to a five-size you can have your palettes here on the display and you can still get a large proportion of screen or canvas to work with. Even if you place a palm on the display, you still get like a huge area to work with. When I’m using this tablet, I always have it on my wrist, then I will need to have some sort of support for this tablet. This is the Pablo PR 100 standard that I use with my tablets and laptops, it has adjustable angles.
If I use this 12.9-inch outdoors, I would need to sit down I will need to have the tablet on my lap or on the table. If I use the 11-inch or the 10-inch iPads, I can still afford to stand and hold the tablet to draw but not with this one because this is just too heavy. If you don’t have any specific need for a 12.9-inch display, I highly recommend you go with the 10 to 11-inch tablets because those are just more portable. If you are using your tablet mostly at home, then yeah, sure, we can get a large tablet, no problem because you’re not going to be bringing this out that often. The last thing that
Talks about the 120-hertz refresh rate that is only available on the iPad Pro:
I want to talk about the 120-hertz refresh rate that is only available on the iPad Pro. So with the higher refresh rate when it comes to drawing there is less noticeable latency. And by latency, I mean the gap between the lie as is trying to catch up with the pen tip, that gap is very small, or the other iPads are using the 60-hertz display.
Having 120 hertz is nice, but not having 120 hertz is not a deal breaker, in my opinion, because most of the time you’re not drawing long sweeping lines, you are going to see the gap when you are really testing for it when you compare the iPad Pro with other tablets side by side. But when drawing at normal speed,
which is what I’m doing right now, in fact, I’m trying to draw as fast as I can. I don’t really notice the chapter with the 60-hertz display, I don’t really notice the gap between the pen tip and the line that it creates. So not having 120 hertz is not a deal breaker is definitely not a deal breaker. Especially when you consider the price of the iPad Pro. It’s significantly more expensive compared to the other iPad Pro models.
So if you want to save money, go with the other more affordable iPad Pros. Yep, so here, I’m really trying to draw as fast as I can and I don’t really think much about the refresh rate. When it comes to creating line art the difference between the latency on 120 hertz versus 60-hertz display. It’s not a very visible difference unless again, you are really testing for it. Where you can really see the effect of 120 hertz or as Apple calls it pro motion is when it comes to scrolling webpages.
The animation of the scroll is first to move when you are going to the homepage when you move the icons around this animation is very smooth. And when you are zooming in and out like rotating. This animation is very smooth When it comes to creating line art, you’re probably not going to notice the gap between the line and the pen tip due to latency.
portability goes to iPad Mini:
All right to conclude, if you want portability goes to iPad Mini. If you want the best value for money goes with the iPad. If you have a bit more budget, go with the refurbished 11-inch iPad Pro from 2020. And if you want a large display, go with the refurbished 4.9-inch iPad Pro from 2020. Or if you really have a lot of budgets and you’re here, get the latest and one iPad Pro. For those who are thinking of upgrading.
My general advice is this. If you happen to be using an iPad that is less than two or even three years so and your iPad can still do whatever you want it to do, then there really isn’t any compelling reason to upgrade. However, if your iPad can no longer do what you want it to do, for example, you want to save more files but you are not able to because you’re running out of storage if you want to create more layers but you are not able to because you are limited by the amount of RAM in your iPad.
Or if you want to create more complex drawings but are not able to because the performance is getting sluggish when you create those high-resolution files. Then yes, you can consider upgrading or a better user experience.
First of all disclaimer, this iPad Mini and the iPad from 2021 were bought specifically for review purposes I will be returning them soon. This is the 12.9-inch iPad Pro from 2018 which is the one that I am using