iPad Pro + Pencil + Procreate

Looking for some advice.

Been doing a lot more sketching recently (both digital and analog), and considering updating my hardware.

Looking for thoughts on the iPad Pro + Pencil setup. I’ve been seeing a lot of people (Yo!) do some really great stuff on Procreate with the Apple pencil, and did a little test at the Apple store and was very impressed.

I’ve had iPads since the very first version and one of those rubber tip fat styli but never really used it as the experience, response and app (Sketchbook Mobile) really sucked.

I’m currently using an older Wacom Intuos for digital but would prefer to sketch on the screen rather than the hand eye/disconnect.

I’ve read a few opinions that the Wacom Cintiq is perhaps a better digital tablet, but the all in one of an iPad Pro is very attractive. Not that I’m mobile that often, but why not have the option? Plus a nice large iPad for in flight movies, etc. doesn’t hurt (though I’ve mostly stopped traveling with the iPad now I have the iPhone 7+ and a MacBook Pro).


10.5 vs the 12.9 in tablet? I think larger maybe be better for the sketch…


Version? Any real difference between the first version running the A9X and the latest on A10x chip?

Figured I don’t really need the larger capacity and can maybe do with a refurb Wifi 32Gb one and save $300 on retail when its otherwise the same internals… as mentioned don’t go mobile too often.



Have only heard good things about the 12.9" pro form factor with the pencil. I’ve been pushing myself off from impulse buying one only because they haven’t been in stock and I feel like I need instant gratification.

The newer version does have some other improvements to the screen quality that I’ve also read make a useful difference compared to the older form factor.

I’ve got the smaller one and enjoy the portability, but I have friends that have the larger one and sometimes on the desktop I prefer that. Blaster has the Wacom companion that can be a stand alone tablet as well, but it runs windows of course.

MD, do you have the 10.5" one or the older 9.7"?


9.7" … I think I would be happy with 10.5"

One thing I’m curious about is does the iPad Pro + Pencil combo feature pressure sensitivity? When I’m sketching I like to vary between heavy and light linework (as do most sketchers), but haven’t been able to tell if this is a feature with the iPad Pro/Pencil or not.

yes, it has pressure sensitivity. It is not as good as a cintiq though of course,

Of course, I think every modern Pens feature that, otherwise it would be pretty pointless, right? :wink: The higher end like iPad Pro or Surface even feature tilt.

The iPad features the best stylus of all solutions available currently in my opinion. Even better than the high end wacoms. They just figured it out pretty much in the first try. Well, the tip could be a bit more rubbery and “soft” (less ice skating), but that is really pretty much it. And I haven’t even tried the newer version.

What I find extremely offputting is to lug around a laptop AND an iPad when travelling. That’s a lot of metal and batteries and redundancy to carry around and just not as sleek and integrated as Apple pretends it is. In the end I am a surface guy because it can do both reasonably well and the pen is 80-90% where the Apple pencil is which is all in all the better proposition to me. Plus you get the giant perk of just throwing your sketch into whatever Adobe software suits you best if you want to without any file transfers. The workflow is just so much more convenient. You need to be okay with Windows, though, which I understand is a dealbreaker for many.

EDIT: Oh, if you get an iPad Pro, don’t get the keyboard. It is really junk. Not Apple at all. Totally overprized for what it is. Stay away, get some third party Bluetooth keyboard or just don’t write stuff on your iPad :wink:

I’m curious, how do you handle rendering?

Does anyone have experience running Solidworks on the newer Wacom MobileStudio Pro models?

I prefer Windows to iOS, so the idea of the Surface is really compelling. However, the price point is really high for models with enough processing power to do real CAD work (i.e. larger assemblies & complex part design/surfacing). I’ve heard from a couple people who have bought Surface products that they are still kind of buggy and don’t really operate as well as a standard laptop. Wacom still seems to be the gold standard for pen/display interfaces, but I am skeptical of their ability to execute a fully function computer. And the cost of their Mobile studio products is at the same level as the Surface products (which is too much if the computer part of it doesn’t work well).

When will one of these players just go ahead and execute the perfect portable ID sketch/CAD/render machine?!?

Getting back on topic (Windows be damned), I’m now looking at the 12.9" iPad Pro. Not much difference between the 2015 and 2017 versions I can tell. Slight processor bumps which don’t matter in sketching, more screen brightness (never an issue).

128Gb 12.9" (2015) Wifi + Cellular OR 64Gb 12.9" (2017) Wifi + Cellular + $150?


Do you mean rendering sketches? I use photoshop directly on the surface, I do the linework in Leonardo. Do you mean CAD Rendering? I don’t do that on the Surface. No way I will inflict that pain on me. I mean, yeah, technically you can. But you don’t really want to. After all it is an Ultrabook so it has as much power as an macbook air or maybe the smaller macbook pros if you spec it out. Nowhere near workstation capabilities.
Wacoms products are clearly priced for businesses, so I would never pay for it with my personal money. It is just has a horrible bang to buck ratio, so let your company buy one for you if you can :wink:

You mean with the latter option you would save 150 bucks? Then I would take that one. I haven’t witnessed it myself but people say the display in the 2017 version with the high refresh rate gives a nice fluid feeling when sketching. And, this is my personal opinion, I never use much of my storage on iOS. I stream everything, I don’t play games and I don’t download silly apps. To this day I use a 16GB iPhone 6 and have enough space. I wouldn’t even know what to put on 64GB. But you might be different. Also you could spend the 150$ on the pencil and some case, which is both not really optional. So you can get the full package.

Opposite. Latter options costs $150. Good point about the refresh rate with sketching. Never thought of that and was going to ignore refresh as I don’t play any games. Hmmm… I guess can never go wrong getting the latest tech possible. Usually that’s my approach. I drove to the US to get the first iPad before it was available in Canada and couldn’t even download any apps as there was no Canadian App Store (workaround with a US iTunes GC, but anyhow).

With Cellular and Dropbox (good) and iCloud (sucky) I think less storage is important. I used to go to the max as I have 30,000+ pics on my camera roll, but iCloud cuts that down. Current phone is the 256GB iPhone 7+. I’m using 50Gb after moving storage to the cloud…


Yes, I meant CAD rendering. That’s what I thought, just making sure. I’m sure the Surface could do some test renders in a pinch, but it would take forever to do final renders.

Agreed… Wacom is very much priced for business. Its nice to see products from other companies creating some competition.

So I pulled the trigger! 12.9" 64Gb Wifi+ Cellar + Pencil.

First time trying Procreate and overall I’m liking it, but still getting used to it.

Anyone have any tips, tricks? missing the ellipse and ruler guides, but the brushes and layer options are really nice.

…I’ve heard a few things about custom brushes… ?

Any suggestions for workflow, hints, tips, etc. please let me know.


PS. Why is there still no Instagram for iPad?

Nice, congrats!

The no eclipse guides and rulers thing is a total miss. Have to stay with sketchbook for that.

You can get straight lines though if you draw your line and then hold the pencil still on the end point. A straight line will snap.

i think I’m going to switch back to sketchbook, not only to support our friend Blaster, but also because the predictive stroke feature:

You can make circles and straight lines with Shape brushes apparently. Still playing with that…

Will be trying Sketchbook as well for sure! Hating the subscription thing though so might not go that route.


dude, I know. I hear you. Am I an old man because I just want to buy it once? It is great for fusion 360 though where a 3d program is usually thousands of dollars. Sketchbook used to be like 100 bucks though. Blaster told me they are doing a lot of continual updates though so the subscription is good for that.

Pretty much every other iOS app you buy once and it’s continually updated. Heck, even OS X is constantly updated and Free!

Looks like there is a single purchase option and in app upgrade to pro tools. Not sure what that includes and how it’s different than the subscription. Confusing.


EDIT - took me lots of searching, but I think I figured it out. Sketchbook is free. Upgrade on mobile is an in app purchase of Pro Tools for 6.99. On Desktop, you have to buy a subscription.

I’m going to try the mobile one. Staying away from the subscription on desktop. Not sure the app difference between mobile and desktop.

They really make it difficult, don’t they…


So the mobile upgrade is a 1 off purchase? Might also be pulling the trigger on an Ipad soon.

Something that annoyed me the last time I used the desktop version was that I couldn’t adjust the canvas size without a pro subscription.