Drawing on the iPad?

July 15th, 2010 | Posted in It's All Geek to Me!

I know I promised an artcentric review of the iPad a long time ago, but I haven’t had the opportunity to test out very many drawing and painting applications on it so far… I’m also wating deleivery of one of those silly marshmallow tipped “stylus’s”.

I did run across this intriguing video recently, showing that someone is working on one of the two biggest limitations to drawing on the iPad… the lack of pressure sensitivity. At first I thought the case the iPad on the video is in might be the source of the pressure sensitivity, but from reading the brief description at tenonedesign.com it seems to be a pure software solution. The pressure sensitivity would be something any drawing app could incorporate into their programs.

Don’t get too excited. According to the developer the software uses a “private function call” to work and Apple of course refuses to allow developers to use private APIs, so right now this functional software is not allowed on the iPad.

Oh, and in case you are curious, the other major limitation to drawing on the iPad: the lack of a precise stylus.


  1. Bearman says:

    Noticed and obvious lag in the stroke and it appearing onscreen.

    This guy does some amazing work with just fingerpainting on the ipad.

  2. Rich says:

    Oh, to have this functionally come out soon! I can imagine creating thumbnail sketches and studies while out and about and leaving my traditional sketchbook at home. This would be a great addition to the iPad.

  3. tom says:

    Have you seen this video of David Kassan painting on the ipad?
    The ipad definitely has some limitations but like all our tools… practice is key.

  4. Tom says:

    With enough patience and practice you can work around almost any limitation. I’m sure a competent artist could do a masterpiece on toilet paper with a sharpened stick using Pepto Bismol as paint… but the question is why would you want to? From my perspective if the limitations of a tool are such that the effort to overcome them does not reward you with an end result that is something more than is attainable in an easier way with another tool, then why bother? If whatever you want to do need mobility so badly you can’t live without it, a ModBook would be an infinitely better solution.

    So far my opinion of the iPad as an artist’s tool is that it can be an interesting toy but is not practical for any real work… not unless that real work must be done outside a studio.

  5. tom says:

    Not to mention as Cedric Hohnstadt points out on his page… the resolution is such that you are basically drawing at the size of a baseball card. Not very practical either.

  6. Jeff Zugale says:

    I think the problem with this is that the iOS is *deliberately* designed to *not* use a precise, 1-pixel-accurate cursor or pointer. It’s designed from its core to work with fingers, and that was a conscious choice on the part of Apple. Steve Jobs has said so publicly.

    This particular solution isn’t a great one. I feel like we won’t see pixel-accurate pressure-sensitive stylus use on the iPad unless someone designs an 3rd party all-screen-covering attachment that plugs into the accessory port and handles all the precise cursoring.

    iPad’s very useful for other things tho – it’s GREAT for showing off your portfolio to people!

  7. David Omar says:

    More of a rough idea tool.

    Here’s a cool toy story drawing video:


  8. MKuznar says:

    I personally love the iPad for sketching. I made myself a stylus out of a pen and some conductive foam. I did this sketch of Steve Jobs on the iPad. It’s a pretty great little citiq type thing.



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