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Last updated Thursday, October 7, 2021


What’s the skinny on the 2021 iPad Mini 6? Apple Pencil, for one

Apple has now dished out the 6th-generation iPad mini with all the main features of the others in the ever-growing iPad family.. Long gone are the days when you needed an iPad Pro to use the Apple Pencil, though the Pro still gives you considerably more processing power. But the mini is plenty powerful for gaming, running art apps, and more. Here’s some info on this interesting device that’s bigger than a phone and smaller than a full-grown iPad.

The 2021 iPad mini, with its 8.3″ (diagonal) screen, is big enough to do a lot of things on–gaming, movie-watching, video calls, and yes, sketching. It’s probably is too small to substitute for a larger one as a primary portable art studio. Many artists wish there was something larger than the 12.9.” But for those going out into the world, having this portability could make for a real gain in productivity.

You still have to shell out for the 2nd-gen Apple Pencil. So saving money isn’t the best reason to get the mini. A better reason is that you want to be able to have a small tablet to sketch or work on your art on the go, that you can then port over to a larger device when you get back to your studio. It is a fun, speedy thing that once you pick up you might not be able to put down. Its antireflective screen is easy on the eyes, though you still might want a matte screen protector that feels like paper.

As you can see in the picture, the Pencil is about as long as the length of the screen. You can stick the Pencil to the sides magnetically (thanks for the idea, Surface!).

2021 iPad mini features

The Mini 6 is similar to the iPad air. It has a Liquid Retina design that’s “all screen,” and features a Touch ID button. So almost all of that 8.3″ is good, arable screen real estate. It’s also got USB-C charging. It’s got support for 5G and has fast Wi-fi 6.

Its bezel comes in about 1/3 of an inch thick, which takes away just a little space from its 8.3” screen. It’s not exactly “all screen, no bezel,” since the bezel is slightly bigger than the larger iPad Pro’s, but that’s OK. I think it’s good to have a little area you can grip.

Basically, if you’ve already got a larger iPad Pro, iPad or Air, those all take the Apple Pencil now, the Mini is more like a light dessert. It design is sleek and updated, so there’s more visual difference with other iPads than just size. Its release price was higher than the 2019 version, the last time they upgraded the mini. (That’s actually not that long ago in Apple years, and many people use their iPads for a long, long time.)

The lowest-end model only differs in storage, at 64GB, with the priciest at 256. Unlike Android devices, Apple still stubbornly doesn’t allow SD cards, but you can always get more Cloud storage or use other storage options. 64 GB really isn’t much, though, especially if you use a lot of layers. A 128 GB model would have been a nice compromise.

2021 iPad mini specs

ios 15
Powerful A15 Bionic chip with Neural Engine
LTE option
Magnetic connector
2266 x 1488 resolution (a bit higher than last gen) 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone and wide color
8.3-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone and wide color gamut
A15 Bionic chip with 64‑bit architecture
6-core CPU
5-core graphics
16-core NeuralEngine
326ppi panel (same as last one)
Weight under 1 lb.
64GB and 256GB
Top button with Touch ID to use Apple Pay and for secure authentication
100% recycled aluminum
Rounded rectangle display
500 nits brightness
Antireflective display
No more home button
Volume buttons at top
No headphone jack
Comes with fast 20W charger
Thickness 6.3 mm
12MP ultra wide front camera that supports Center Stage (keeps you front and center during video calls, making your audience ooh and ahh).
Also, 12MP wide back camera
Landscape stereo speakers
10-12 hours of battery life
fast Wi-Fi 6
5G for the LTE
Comes in purple, starlight, pink, and space gray

Being an inveterate Pencil-misplacer, on my iPad Pro I use a simple pen loop Velcro’d to the back, which has saved me many hours of searching for the Pencil—I combine that with a free Bluetooth-device finder app. But magnets are just fine.

The iPad mini is plenty powerful for art apps, gaming, and streaming—you wouldn’t expect less. It is a really fun thing to have, and can fit in just about any bag (not a pocket, though). While it may not be a must-have if you’ve already got an iPad Pro or other drawing device, having that extra portability might get you out sketching more and capturing those autumn colors.
See the 2021 iPad mini on Amazon

(Video) iPad Buyers Guide for Artists - IPad Air 4 vs Pro vs Mini vs 8th gen


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Last updated Thursday, July 27, 2017

Astropad Studio: iPad Pro inches toward Cintiqdom


Astropad Studio for iPad Pro and Mac. Photo by Astropad

Update, July 2017: Astropad Standard and Studio both work with the new 10.5″ iPad.

Astropad has just released a new product specifically for use with the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. It’s subscription-based, unlike Astropad Standard, which is still available. Astropad Studio is only for iPad Pro with Apple Pencil, whereas Standard is for iPad2 and up. Whereas Standard is a onetime purchase, Studio is a yearly or monthly fee, and has monthly updates.

Astropad Studio vs. Astropad Standard

Studio has “Liquid Extreme,” which offers a much faster bitrate of 60 frames per second, so less lag. It bas better image quality. Together with GPU acceleration and velocity control, there’s excellent image quality and responsiveness. You can customize program shortcuts in the supported programs, as well as customizing Magic Gestures, which are Pencil/finger combos. If you don’t want to customize, you can use the built-in ones, such as calling up the eraser tool with your finger and the control ring.

Installing both applications is simple, as is the setup. All you have to do get both the Mac and iPad Pro app–the Mac app from the Astropad site, and the iPad Pro app from the App Store.

One nice thing is that you can use the iPad Pro’s USB to connect it to the Mac, instead of Wi-fi, if you’re having Wi-fi issues like I have been lately and can’t get them on the same network.


Magic Gesture. Photo by Astropad

Once that’s done, you’ll see the controls have three program names–Photoshop, Illustrator, and Clip Studio Paint. These are all popular desktop programs and have a somewhat complex workflow. You can still use Procreate, Sketchbook and any apps or desktop programs you want.


(Video) This is the digital art tablet you should buy.

Astropad Interface

The app allows you to customize shortcuts in these programs, which can save a lot of time.

The new improved Liquid Engine is far faster than the old one and I experienced no lag. Lag was an issue for some with Astropad Standard (which is still around).

Astropad Studio is also made to work with any keyboard, so you can use keyboard shortcuts, with one hand on the keyboard and other other on your Pencil.

Magic Gestures are fully customizable and involve that ring, your finger, and the Apple Pencil. Here I’m conjuring the Eraser Tool.

You can move the ringaround, press on or hold. Pressing and holding it only brought up the choice of full screen or 100%. But there are ways of setting the amount of screen to use. You can also move and zoom.

You might zoom in on the iPad Pro to work, then zoom out to see the result. I’m not crazy about two screens, and frankly I prefer to just draw on one. But when doing art with a lot of detail, it really helps to see it on a big screen. Seeing art on a big screen not only lets you see any errors you might have made when drawing,and focus on parts individually.

What kind of monthly updates can we expect? According to Astropad, in the works are functions such as a personalized pressure curve. Not sure we can expect such dramatic moves every month, but that’s OK. In a way I like to know what to expect from an app–but this is ready to deliver a lot even if we don’t know exactly what’s in store. (Let’s just hope they don’t keep redoing parts of the UI, a habit that gets to me with Adobe stuff.)

If you’d rather just draw on the iPad Pro alone, Astropad isn’t necessary. But if you want to see your work on a bigger screen, it does get closer to a Cintiq or other graphics tablet. Some might find it doesn’t completely replace a Cintiq, because a Cintiq has that toothytexture, and lets you customize more programs. But the release of Astropad Studio certainly brings a high level of professionalism to the Astropad workflow.

For Windows users, there’s still Duet Display.

Is it worth the extra cost to invest in Astropad Studio over Astropad Standard? The yearly fee right now is about $65, or you can pay monthly and pay a bit more. You get a monthly update with the subscription. I dislike the idea of subscription-based software, but it’s the world we live in. The monthly update assures you’ll be getting the latest features as soon as they come out.

Is Astropad Studio worth the upgrade?

I found Astropad Studio works as advertised. If you’re a frequent use of Astropad with Photoshop, Illustrator, or Clip Studio Paint, I think Studio is worth the extra investment. If you’re using other programs, you might be okay with Standard, which also allows you to use the iPad Pro. I suggest you download the free trial of Studio, or both, and decide.

end of Astropad Studio review

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Last updated Wednesday, August 3, 2016

For those anxiously awaiting, today’s the day the new Astropad 2.0 is being released. Some improvements:

The Liquid engine, developedby Astropad, is now 3x faster and the company has managed to lower the pixelation by a while lot. The polling rate is much faster to correct issues with latency and improve images. It’s also now using way less memory so you can work longer and not run down your power so quickly. The pressure curve has been improved. Gestures are now available on more programs., including ArtRage, Clip Studio Paint, Mischief, Affinity Designer and Photo, Lightroom, and Sketcbook. You can now auto-hide the cursor. And, the UI has been given an overhaul.

Astropad turns your iPad or iPad Pro into a Cintiq-like input device and allows you to use any programs that are on your Mac. It’s available at the iTunes store. For OSX only.

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Last updated Thursday, July 7, 2016

iPad Pro 2 in the pipeline

Time flies when you’re having fun!

As if I didn’t feel old enough already, the iPad Pro 2 is already in the rumor mill. Those in the know say it may be announced or even launched in Fall 2016–remember, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro just came out in March 2016. It’s more likely that said iPad Pro 2 will come out in the spring of 2017.

(This concept video was NOT made by Apple, but by someone just guessing that the new device will have stuff like up to 1TB memory and different colors of Apple Pencil. Nice thought. But we really don’t know.)

True Tone display

Likely, the iPad Pro 2 (if it follows Apple’s naming traditions, that’s what it would be called) will have the True Tone display that’s already in the 9.7″ version. True Tone is an adaptive display that adjusts white balance, making it easier to read text in different lighting as well as easier to see the screenin sunlight.

The iPad Pro 9.7″ has a wide color gamut with extreme color accuracy. The 12.9″ iPad Pro display is nearly as good, but not quite, and doesn’t now have, nor support, True Tone. (I still favor the larger size for drawing in spite of this, but am hoping the iPad Pro 2 will let us have our True Toneand eat it too).


(Video) IPAD pro VS Galaxy Tab S6 - Which tablet is best for artists ? - Drawing Test

Drawing on iPad Pro with Apple Pencil, Sketchbook Pro app

3D Touch

The iPad Pro does not have 3D touch, though iPhone 6S and 6S Plus already have it. So there’s a good chance Apple will add it to the iPad Pro 2, just to give us something to look forward to.

3D touch is a sensor in the touch screen that will cause different things to happen depending how hard you press on the screen. This works differently in different apps–for instance, you might tap lightly to see a photo but harder to open the photo app.

It would be nice if instead of 32GB, 128G was the base model, or at least 64GB. 32GB is not enough for most consumers; maybe it’s aimed at workplaces where employees don’t add a lot of apps or files.

If you’re interested, here’s a writeup on Ars Technica on the beta version of iOS 10.

Somehow I doubt Apple will add an SD card slot, but a girl can dream.

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Last updated Monday, May 9, 2016

A smaller, 9.7-inch iPad Pro

A smaller, 9.7″ iPad Pro with Apple Pencil is has been announced. Apple gave the word in a March, 21 2016 presser, along with its new iPhone 5se and some new Apple Watch bands. This smaller sibling sportsnearly the same specs, such as the fast A9X processor and as much storage as the original 12.9″ iPad Pro, and supports the Apple Pencil (yay!) It also getsa Smart Keyboard accessory. The smaller iPad Prois lessexpensive than the larger one, and easier to carry. This looks to be replacing the iPad Air line and we’re grateful it’s getting the whole Pro treatment.


Now all it needs is the Apple Pencil.


What Apple tablets are good for drawing? ›

The iPad Pro 12.9-inch (M1, 2021) is simply the best iPad for drawing you can buy right now. Equipped with Apple's superfast M1 processor, it offers enough processing speed to match even the best MacBooks (opens in new tab).

Which tablet is best for artists? ›

For a New School Year, Here Are the Best Drawing Tablets of 2022
  1. Wacom Intuos Pro Digital Medium. When it comes to creative pen tablets, the Wacom Intuos Pro is the standard for professional digital artists as well as aspiring pros. ...
  2. XP-PEN Star03 V2. ...
  3. Gaomon PD1560. ...
  4. Huion Inspiroy Q11K V2. ...
  5. Veikk S640.
1 Sept 2022

Do professional artists use iPads? ›

Looking at these improvements as well as the benefits that come with a powerful yet compact drawing device – a huge number of professional artist have already made the iPad the drawing device of their choice. No matter where you look, you will find artist using iPad for daring and enjoying every bit of it.

Can you use an Apple tablet as a drawing tablet? ›

iPads make for great digital art devices by themselves – an iPad Pro can be the best drawing tablet you can buy without ever needing to get near a computer. However, you might want to hook it up to your PC for workflow reasons, or to get a Windows drawing app working on your iPad – and that's where this guide comes in.

Is it better to use a drawing tablet or an iPad? ›

Drawing tablets offer creative professionals a digital substitute for paper and pencil. And that's pretty much all it is—a drawing device. However, the iPad is a general-purpose tablet that can do much more than draw. So, when you buy an iPad, you get more than a drawing tablet.

Should I buy a tablet for digital art? ›

If you're planning it to use to draw, be it either 2D or 3D, then yes! It might feel different to use at the beginning, but you'll see that it will make your life easier and you can be way more detailed with a drawing tablet than with your mouse.

What is a good beginner art tablet? ›

Best Drawing Tablets for Beginners
  • Wacom Intuos Pro PTH660 — The best drawing tablet for beginners overall (Editor's Choice)
  • Wacom Intuos CTL4100 — The best budget drawing tablet for beginners.
  • XP-Pen Deco 01 V2 — The best value drawing tablet for beginners.
  • GAOMON M10K2018 — The best portable drawing tablet for beginners.
14 Oct 2022

Which Apple product is best for artists? ›

The Best iPad for Drawing for Aspiring & Seasoned Artists
  • Best Overall: 2021 Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Pros: Cons:
  • Best Alternative: iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2020. Pros: Cons:
  • Best Screen Ratio: iPad Pro 11-inch 2020. Pros: ...
  • Best Value: iPad Air 4. Pros: ...
  • Best Budget: iPad 8th-Generation 2020. Pros: ...
  • Best Portable: iPad Mini 2019.
11 Oct 2022

Which is better for artists iPad Pro or Air? ›

As you would also be saving some money compared to going with the iPad Pro. On the other hand, if you want the best possible digital drawing experience and won't mind paying a little extra for an extra fluid drawing experience, you should definitely get the iPad Pro (Amazon).

Is it worth getting an iPad for drawing? ›

iPads have some of the best pressure sensitivity of any tablets on the market. Open one of the best drawing apps for iPad and combine that with the awesome Apple Pencil (sold separately), and you'll be making awesome art in no time.

Is an iPad Pro worth it for art? ›

The iPad Pro is light and portable, but can be a fully capable artist's workstation - perfect for international travel. Painting on it is similar to any other screen tablet, except its small and glossy screen. The app selection is broad, and you can still access Windows on it by remotely connecting to a cloud instance.

Is there a tablet just for drawing? ›

XP-Pen Artist 16 (2nd gen)

XP-Pen is one of the most well-regarded names in budget drawing tablets, and this 2022 refresh of a popular 15.6-inch tablet scored high points in our recent review.

What is the best tablet for drawing and design? ›

Designers and artists: You need a drawing tablet
  • Wacom Intuos Pro PTH860. Best drawing tablet overall. ...
  • XP-PEN Artist Pro. Best Drawing tablet for internal display. ...
  • Microsoft Surface Pro 8. Best drawing tablet for versatility. ...
  • One by Wacom. Best drawing tablet for the price. ...
  • HUION Inspiroy H430P. Best drawing tablet for beginners.
4 Sept 2022

Is iPad or Wacom better for drawing? ›

Well, the answer depends on what you do in your everyday life. If you're traveling a lot, working on trains, and doing a lot of sketching — an iPad might work great for you. If you still want to be mobile but favor a Wacom, then their MobileStudio could be the solution for you.

What is the difference between a tablet and a drawing tablet? ›

Drawing tablets offer visibility, which is a huge advantage over graphics tablets. With a drawing tablet, you can see exactly what you draw, just like you would when drawing with actual pen and paper. This makes them feel much more natural to work on than graphics tablets from a visual coordination perspective.

Should a beginner artist get a drawing tablet? ›

For beginners, we don't recommend, and didn't test, pro tablets (such as an iPad Pro or Microsoft Surface Pro) or graphics tablets with a screen (such as the Wacom Cintiq line) because they're prohibitively expensive, and illustrator Victoria Ying pointed out that when you're using a pro tablet, your hand can block ...

What is the best device to use for digital art? ›

The Best Tablets for Artists Creating Digital Works
  1. Huion Kamvas 22 Plus. ...
  2. Wacom One Digital Drawing Tablet. ...
  3. XP-Pen Digital Graphics Drawing Tablet. ...
  4. Apple iPad Pro. ...
  5. Gaomon PD1161.
8 Feb 2021

Which iPad is best for digital art for beginners? ›

‍Top 7 iPads for Drawing and Illustration
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2021)—best overall.
  • iPad Pro 12.9 (2020)—best value iPad.
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (2021)—best for professionals.
  • iPad Mini (2021)—best iPad for beginners.
  • iPad Air 4 (2020)—best mid-range iPad.
  • iPad 10.2 (2019)—most affordable iPad.
  • iPad Mini (2019)—best portable iPad.
16 Aug 2022

What is a good affordable drawing tablet? ›

15 Top Cheap Drawing Tablets Under $100
  • HUION Inspiroy H1060P—Best overall.
  • VEIKK A50 Tablet—Best user-friendly.
  • One by Wacom Tablet—Best for students.
  • HUION H610 Pro V2—Best value.
  • UGEE M708 V3 Tablet—Best for illustrators.
  • XP-Pen Deco01 V2 Tablet—Most portable.
  • GAOMON M10K PRO—Best for animation.
28 Oct 2022

What size tablet is best for drawing? ›

For display tablets, the ideal size is 16 inches – as the screen is big enough for a good drawing experience and still small enough to carry around. But for a superior drawing experience, you can get 22, 24, or larger display tablets.

Should you use a tablet with illustrator? ›

If you're an illustrator, then definitely yes you should get a tablet because it'll level up your art. Lines and strokes look much more natural when you draw with a tablet than a mouse. If you do typographic design, logo, branding, or vector graphic design, using a tablet is not a must.

What device do I need for Adobe Illustrator? ›

Windows – Illustrator Minimum System Requirements
ComponentsMinimum Requirements
RAM8 GB (16 GB recommended)
Hard disk~3 GB of available space (SSD recommended)
Monitor resolution1024 x 768 display (1920 x 1080 recommended) Optional Touch workspace: touch-screen monitor.
3 more rows
18 Feb 2022

Why do creatives prefer Apple? ›

What makes them so special? Artists, graphic designers, and musicians use Mac computers because Apple has designed a variety of high-quality creative applications made to run in the Apple ecosystem. In addition, Macs' operating system and user interface are easier and more intuitive for creatively minded people.

Does Apple treat artists better than Spotify? ›

Apple pays more per spin than Spotify, and so does Tidal

That's because Spotify is known to pay artists "somewhere between $. 003 and $. 005," according to Business Insider (opens in new tab).

Can you draw on any iPad? ›

What Do I Need to Draw on My iPad? If you want to draw on your iPad, you can use the Notes app. For a better experience, consider getting a stylus, a matte screen protector, and a dedicated drawing app. Any stylus will work, but the Apple Pencil is a pressure-sensitive stylus built just for iPads.

Is iPad AIR 2022 good for drawing? ›

Drawing performance of iPad Air 5 and Apple Pencil 2 is fantastic. It really comes down to how good the pen is and Apple Pencil has always been fantastic at drawing since it exists. Apple Pencil 2 supports tilt, pressure sensitivity and palm rejection. The pen is accurate with predictable and consistent performance.

Is iPad Air 4 64gb enough for artist? ›

While the iPad itself is good processor-wise. 64 GB is NOT going to cut it, digital drawing will eat in your storage super quick. If you have no other device like a laptop or the possibility to transfer everything to an external hard drive, go for 512 GB and even with a laptop on the side, I would not go below 256 GB.

Is iPad or laptop better for digital art? ›

If you are strictly just drawing, sketching and want to use the Procreate app with full portability, then the Apple iPad Pro or Air is ideal. If you need a laptop as well as a drawing device, then the Surface Pro works best.

Is iPad better than laptop for digital art? ›

But overall, a PC would be a better option since it would be much powerful than a ipad or laptop and will have a bigger screen to work on your projects. If you already have an ipad, then what you can do is have the ipad as a second screen and use it as a sketching tablet so that you can get accurate results.

What device is good for digital art? ›

10 Best Computers for Digital Artists
  • Apple iMac 2021—Best overall.
  • Dell Inspiron 7700—Best mid-range.
  • Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 3—Best for digital painting.
  • Alienware Aurora R10—Most powerful.
  • 2020 Apple iMac—Best value.
  • Dell XPS 8940—Best for digital drawing.
  • HP Pavilion 590—Best for beginners.
  • 2020 Apple Mac Mini—Best budget.
12 Aug 2022

What is the difference between a graphic tablet and a drawing tablet? ›

A drawing tablet with screen allows you to work on one “canvas” and makes it especially easy to create digital art thanks to the high-resolution screen and accurate color display. Graphic tablets, however, make it easy to see your work displayed completely because your hand never has to cover up the screen.

Can you make digital art on a tablet? ›

With an all in one tablet I mean a tablet like an iPad (Pro), Microsoft Surface Pro or Android tablet. There are many drawing apps out there and some of them are free! You might already own a tablet, if that's the case, then all you need is a stylus to start making digital art.

What device do artists use to draw? ›

Tablets are widely used by both novice and experienced artists for drawing. Both their low price and simplicity of use make them an excellent tool. This is one of the reasons why I suggest the following products: I own both a Wacom tablet and a stylus, which I use often.

What tablet do most graphic designers use? ›

Best Drawing Tablets for Graphic Designers in 2023
  • Apple iPad Pro - Best Apple iOS tablet.
  • XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pen Display - Best budget tablet with screen.
  • Wacom Cintiq 16 - Best drawing tablet overall with screen.
  • Wacom Intuos Pro (Medium) - The best drawing tablet overall with no screen.
4 Oct 2022

Can any tablet be a drawing tablet? ›

Android tablets are known for their customization. Paired with a stylus, they can become a powerful drawing device. Contrary to traditional drawing tablets such as Wacom Cintiq, where you just get a screen that needs to be connected to a computer in order to work.

What do digital artists use on iPad? ›

Clip Studio Paint

It allows artists to draw, animate, add sound, and create comics easily from their iPad. In addition, artists can import and export both PSD and vector files, allowing them to work between other apps.


1. The Best Tech for Artists and Illustrators in 2021
(Brad Colbow)
2. Best iPads for Art in 2022: Why you DON'T have to buy new
(Brooke Glaser)
3. iPad VS Wacom... (Professional Advice - I Own Both)
(Tim Mcburnie - The Drawing Codex)
(e r g o j o s h)
5. Which iPad Should You Buy For Procreate? (Not what you think!)
(Genevieve's Design Studio)
6. Draw With Me - Realistic Apple | My Procreate Digital Art Technique
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