Using the iPad Pro as a professional artist’s tool, an honest review.

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If you’re wondering why I’m even considering looking at an iPad Pro for drawing and painting after espousing the unlimited benefits of the Wacom Intuos, look at my previous post about being the 180 Man.  Joking mostly aside, the main reason I was looking to get either a new Cintiq (I sold my 24″ HD a year ago) or an iPad Pro was because I’d developed tendinitis from drawing on the Intuos full time for several years.  It turns out my setup was great for my back but horrible for my wrists.  In fact, I’ve developed tendinitis in both wrists, funnily with my left, non-drawing hand being the worst hit (those damned keyboard shortcuts I love so much turned out to be not such a shortcut after all!).  I’m slow to admit when something I like isn’t working, but my wrists, and forearms were becoming more and more painful with every passing month. When it was almost unbearable for me to lift my son, I knew I had to rethink how I was working.  First, I took some time away from work, but the minute I went back to the office the pain came running back.  I needed a solution, but I really don’t like the experience of drawing on the Cintiq lines of Wacom…my previous posts pretty much sum up how I feel about them.

Illustrator Jonathan Wright Art
Illustrator Jonathan Wright Art

Then all of a sudden, this wacky new thing by Apple emerged; the iPad Pro with its own Pencil.  After my not so great experience with the iPad Air 2 and the drawing app Procreate, I was very skeptical about it being a “professional” device.  So I lurked in the shadows for 2 months after its release, as various reviews came in, many in favour with just as many against. Also, we don’t have an Apple store in Iqaluit, or within 3000 Kms of Iqaluit for that matter, so I couldn’t just walk into the nearest store and try it out.  It wasn’t until I got down to Montreal to work on my wife’s soon to be released documentary, Angry Inuk, that I picked it up, along with the Pencil.  I had to do about 5 minutes of animation for the film, so I needed to create a lot  drawings and my wrists had given up on me.  It was either go traditional, pick up a Cintiq, or try out the iPad Pro. Whatever I decided, I didn’t have a lot of time, since the film had to be wrapped up within a month.  So, I swung by the Apple Store and gave it a whirl.

The device blew me away as I drew in an app that comes with the iPad Pro, called Notes.  How the Pencil works in that app is so sexy, it’s indescribable.  Take my word when I say that it works as close as you can get to pencil on paper without it being the real thing.  So I took it home, downloaded the third party app called Procreate, and put it through its paces.  But I have to say that I almost returned the device after playing with it for a bit.  The drawing experience in Procreate doesn’t come anywhere near close to what you get when you combine the Apple Pencil and Notes.  And that was my main reason for getting the damned thing…to draw and paint assets that I would later animate in After Effects.  But, I stuck it out for a day, and it turns out that you can really customize the brushes in the Procreate, and I came fairly close to recreating the Notes pencil, as have others on the net. Close enough I should say, that I kept using the iPad Pro.

Skip ahead a month, and what do I think?  Well, I finished 5 minutes of animation using the iPad Pro for all the drawing and painting of assets. I learned fairly quickly that the device has some pretty big drawbacks, but that if you use it solely for drawing and painting, and don’t expect anything else from it, it’s pretty close to perfect.  Coupled with the app Procreate, you have a drawing station better than any 6 or 7 thousand dollar setup with honking computers and huge Cintiqs.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I way prefer this iPad Pro than my Intuos!  And my wrists are almost back to normal, even after resuming my left hand claw stance whenever I had to use AFX.

Jonathan Wright illustrator art
Jonathan Wright illustrator art

For drawing apps, I bought Procreate, and Sketchbook, and looked in depth at a few more,  But honestly, the Pencil in concert with Procreate was the main reason I got the iPad Pro.  Don’t waste your money on Sketchbook- I wish I could have my 5 bucks back.  Procreate, though, is like a streamlined Photoshop with all the key features you want from that desktop application, but with such a better interface that you end up working faster and more intuitively.  Procreate is the tool that ends up letting you use the iPad Pro in place of a Cintiq, plain and simple.

I can’t believe how much I’d missed drawing. Plain old drawing. I had intentionally focused on my painting skills the past few years, and the Intuos is a fantastic tool for painting digitally, but it just plain sucks when you want to have sinewy line drawings.  Don’t even think about refining or tracing over your line work- you just can’t do it on an Intuos.  I can fake it like the best of them, and you develop techniques to make it look like you’re doing nice linework, erasing is fantastic at accomplishing that for instance as well as the path tool in PS, but nothing will ever replace confident lines, and I was missing showing off my lines.  Look at most of the recent work in this site, and there are almost no lines.  Anywhere. Lines, lines, lines, lines, lines, lines.  I even missed writing that word it seems.

And why not a Cintiq, you ask? Well, I guess it’s not the Cintiq itself that doesn’t do it for me, but the desktop apps that don’t work anywhere near as well with it as Procreate does with the iPad Pro. Photoshop (PS) is great on an Intuos, but not a Cintiq.  On a Cintiq, your arms travel miles from where you’re drawing to your palettes or layers, but with Procreate everything is where you expect it.  And you get used to the gestures so quickly, it’s impressive.  I now double tap to undo even when I’m back drawing in photoshop!  Man, o man, the selection tool in Procreate far outperforms the lasso tool in PS, not to mention the smudge tool, which brings even my 32 gig Ram machine at work to a grinding halt.  Procreate and the iPad Pro with the Pencil is frankly the best digital drawing tool out there.  Once procreate brushes catch up to the sexy Notes pencil, even diehard traditionalists will jump on the digital bandwagon. Get it and you won’t look back.

Where the iPad Pro falls short is not in its performance as a drawing tool, but in how it works in the digital art workflow, especially animation.  I think it is pretty damned close to perfect if all you’re doing is illustration, but if you’re doing animation, you’re going to find there are some major hiccups.  And that’s why I don’t see major studios incorporating it into their workflow. For my work, I use After Effects as my animation software, and it’s meant to be used in concert with Photoshop.  After I finished a drawing on the iPad, it wasn’t fun getting it saved and opened in after effects on my iMac. You can export a layered psd file from procreate, but you can’t import a psd for some reason.  So that means any change that you need to do to an image will have many steps involved to get from the iPad to the computer. And that was much, much slower than when I was doing all the drawing painting on the same machine as I was animating on.  But my wrist stopped hurting (mostly), so I have no real complaints.  And I feel the drawings themselves are much stronger now that I can do confident linework once again.  I also can draw so much faster than I was on the Intuos, I’ll never use an Intuos again for the drawing/sketching stage of an illustration. (See my post about being the 180 Man)  I can see still using it in the painting/colouring stages, but the more I use Procreate, the less desire I have to go back to Wacom products.

Jonathan Wright illustrator
Jonathan Wright illustrator

Oh, and I bought the app Astropad hoping I could use it as a Cintiq, so that I could still use the iPad Pro for Photoshop work when needed, but it sucks.  I think people who are giving it good reviews are those who have never used a Cintiq and don’t know how well it’s supposed to work.  The lag is unbearable, and the screen resolution reminds me of 1989. It only mirrors the screen resolution of whichever machine you’re connecting the iPad Pro with, so when you hook it up to an 11″ MacBook Air for instance, you’re iPad has a screen that looks like my old blackberry.  Crap.  I want my money back from them too.  I also got the an app called Duet, which is supposed to make the iPad into a secondary display.  Neat, but really doesn’t work for serious work, mainly because it doesn’t make use of the native resolution of the iPad- pixels are fuzzy.  Not gonna work in a pro setting.

So, for now, I’m hanging up my Intuos.  Wacom, you have a hard road ahead of you, I’m sorry to say.  The responsiveness and accuracy of the Pencil on that gorgeous screen leaves even the large 27″ Cintiq way, way behind.  Oh, and as an additional comparison with the Cintiq, especially the model which I think is still their best (the 21″), there is no feeling of a disconnect from the tip of the Pencil with the drawing.  On the Cintiqs, there is a noticeable distance between the stylus and the screen itself because there’s a honking piece of glass separating the two.  Wacom tried its best by letting you “calibrate” the two together so that the feeling of drawing a few millimeters away from where the tip of the stylus is, but it doesn’t quite work.  Especially near the edges of the monitor, and that reality of disconnect is much more pronounced when you tilt and swivel the display.  Somehow, the iPad Pro has none of that.  I swear.

All the drawings in this post I did on the iPad Pro in Procreate for the film.  What you’re seeing aren’t final compositions, just screen grabs of some of the layered characters before I brought them into After Effects to animate, so the characters are haphazardly placed beside or on top of each other.   I used some photographed textures in place of clothing to give an additional depth.  I even used the camera on the machine itself in one instance!

I hope you enjoy ’em, because I had fun drawing them.  Especially since now I can draw digitally as quickly as I’ve learned to paint in Photoshop.  Shexy.

All images courtesy Unikkaat Studios. And go check out the doc Angry Inuk if you’re in Toronto this April/May for HotDocs- it’s a great film in my completely married, unbiased opinion.

Illustrator Jonathan Wright Art
Illustrator Jonathan Wright Art



39 Responses

  1. Kevin Sollows

    Jonathan; I really appreciate the time you have taken to review the 12″ iPad Pro & Apple Pencil. And with the beautiful illustrations, Apple should pay you a commission on future sales! Thank you.

  2. jonwright

    Thanks for the kind words, Kevin. And you’re right, Apple should give me a commission! 🤑

  3. Justin White

    How’s it treating you after a few months of owning it? I’m thinking about taking the plunge int my wallet to pick up this baby. Your review seemed honest as Abe, so I really appreciated reading this!

  4. Connie Mavromatis

    Thanks for the informative and entertaining review Jonathan. I’ve wondered about the IPad Pro, having already been using Procteate. I currently have a stylus that looks like a real paint brush and is pretty OK for painting but not for line work.

    Thanks again 😊

  5. Cathy Kowalski

    Jonathan, I bought the iPad Pro 9.7 inches – last Thursday. I bought an “app” and tried animations. Fantastic! The iPad Pro is the future of animation! I’m going to buy the 12.9 inch one when the next version is released from Apple. I have to wait for it, because Apple is always getting better and better.

  6. jonwright


    To be honest, I haven’t used the iPad Pro much at all. To be brutally honest, I haven’t touched it. Now before you think I’ve given up on the thing, I have to say that I’ve been supremely busy building my house…from the ground up! I enjoy carpentry as much, if not more, than visual art, so I’ve been loving my time away from staring at my computer screen. Soooo, that’s why I haven’t used the iPad Pro at all. I still claim, even more so now, that the iPad Pro is for drawing only, and can’t yet replace a laptop. I do all my emailing, surfing and illegal downloading on my MacBook Air.
    But anytime I pick up the iPad Pro for a quick sketch, man o man, is it ever elegant. No more lugging around the Intuos, plugging in cables, and finding a gigantic place to put everything. Put it on your lap while you’re in bed, and draw away. Beautiful.

  7. jonwright

    Thanks for posting, Connie. And I can’t stand those styluses (stylusi?) either. I feel like I’m rubbing a hot dog all over an expensive computer.

  8. jonwright


    Go big or go home is what I tell my son.

    He just can’t find his way home yet.

  9. Michelle

    This article helped me decide which direction to go with my digital art. Lonnng time Adobe (PS, IL) user and fan. Lonnng time Wacom user and fan. I just can’t get on board with Adobe’s icloud. It doesn’t make sense to me, so I’ve been searching for an alternative while postponing my cintiq upgrade. During my search for alternative software, I d/led Procreate to goof around with on my 1st gen ipad mini. Was so impressed I decided to look more into ipad pro as the future for digital art instead of desktop setups. So many of the pros use it, so I’ve looked into it further. This article was one that helped clinch it for me. Thanks for the comprehensive comparisons.

  10. jonwright

    Glad I’ve helped create another convert in you, Michelle. Not only is your new setup better, once you get used to the workflow, but its far cheaper too.

    I cant wait to see what unfolds in the future and how big studios will end up adopting tech like the iPad Pro. It’s all very exciting. In a super nerdy way.

  11. Bill Jacobson

    Having written a short story I am in a learning mode which is learning how to improve my illustration skills so that I can develop my four characters and landscapes from a pencil and paper storyboard. My goal is to create a short animated trailer for the story. In researching the pros and cons of the Wacom tablets, I’ve decided to go for an iPad Pro 12.9 inch. Your review is excellent in helping me finalize my long overdue decision. What memory do you use on your iPad Pro? Thank you for your review.

  12. jonwright

    Bill, you’re gonna have lots of fun! I always buy my machines with the least amount of memory, so that I’m constantly forced to back up. I’ve lost enough files because of corrupted disks that I’m paranoid about backing up. I know the iCloud had sort of changed that…but the idea of backing up remains, and I guess it means that you need less memory on your machine now than ever. My iPad Pro is the base model, I think it’s the 32 gig one.

    Anyway, let me know how your book unfolds; me wanna see!

  13. Karin

    Thanks for your post! What do you consider the benefits/disadvantages of the iPad Pro over the Ipad Air (which I have) when using procreate?

  14. jonwright


    They are two totally different animals, and all because of that seemingly simple thing that separates them: the Pencil. If you can, go into an Apple store and try it out on an iPad Pro, and you’ll instantly see what I’m talking about. As far as I know, the Pencil only works on the iPad Pro. If you look back at my posts, you’ll see I did a review of the iPad Air 2 which I bought so that I could try drawing and painting out using Procreate, but I returned it I since I thought it sucked so badly. The iPad Pro with the Pencil is an entirely different beast- a sexy, growling beast.

    I liken the styli that you have to use on the iPad Airs to hot dogs..mushy things that have no accuracy, which totally defeats the purpose of drawing on-screen.

    Oh, and the screen size of the iPad Pro another one of its biggest assets. I have the 13″ (I hate that they call it 12.9), and I wish there were a 15″ or even 17″ model. I’d pay some good money for that without hesitation.

    I just looked at your website too; neat stuff you do. I especially admire the skill it takes for you to paint backwards whenever you work on glass displays. Well done!

  15. Dayne Henry

    Dude… I think you convinced me. Your review of the Cintiq a couple of years ago was spot on, I felt the same way using any device that allowed me to draw on screen, just wouldn’t cut it. I’ve heard nothing but great things about the ipad pro, and I’ve been looking for something that just streamlines that workflow a bit better (I HATE scanning, lol). Anyways, great in depth review man. Much appreciated!

  16. jonwright


    I’ve actually been meaning to write you to say you might enjoy giving the iPad Pro a try…you beat me to it!

    Procreate just updated yesterday to allow for grouping of layers, and the ability to import psd files among other neat things- you’re gonna love it.

    Please, please, please let me see your first couple of drawings on it! Can’t wait to see the gorgeous stuff you’re gonna make on it. Actually, I’m curious to hear if you find it’s good enough for you to stop doing your pen and paper work. (Just don’t give that up too, though. That stuff is too stunning to stop altogether!)

  17. Rose

    Thank you. I was looking to buy my daughter (who is in high school) a new computer (MacBook Pro) for her art. After reading your post I think I will buy her the iPad Pro. Do you think it will carry her into art school next year? She wants to concentrate on animation.

  18. jonwright


    I’m not totally sold on the iPad Pro as complete animation centre just yet. For illustration and concept work, for sure, but I don’t think it can compete with all the great 2D and 3D animation software out there made for desktops (or laptops). It truly depends on what kind of animation your daughter wants to get into…but I do think that at this point while she’s still forming her interests and style, a laptop will serve her better. She can add a tablet or Cintiq, or even iPad Pro into the mix later on as she needs it, but she might find starting off with the iPad Pro to be prohibitively limiting in school.

    Hope that helps!

  19. Nafsi

    Damnit, just when I had made up my mind to go buy an Intuos, now tHIS! Uugh, how can you make this sound so much better than an Intuos is beyond me (die-hard Wacom fan here). I just checked the iPad Pro and… I hate to admit this, but it’s shexy~

    Alright, but listen to me, I need help! I currently have an old Wacom Bamboo (old, but still working, my precious) but lately I was thinking of upgrading it to something more efficient for me. It’s for personal use (mostly), for sketching, painting, illustrating, making comics – that kind of stuff… Now, my main issue is that I can’t always have my laptop and tablet with me. There are instances when I get a crazy urge to draw, so I draw on paper. Thing is, I hate scanning. Also, just like you said, I l o v e sketching and my tablet and the softwares I use just don’t quite cut it for me. After reading your review of the iPad Pro, I’m so very tempted to go for it!

    I’ve never used an Apple product before though, nor I’ve ever owned a tablet (besides my Bamboo tablet of course) – that’s why I’m still a bit skeptical to buy this, instead of an Intuos. (Plus, huuuge price difference. Also, I’m a bit wary with the softwares..) Got any advice for me??

  20. jonwright


    I’ve been a Wacom tablet user for a looooonnnnng time, so I feel your pain. Almost 17 years now- yikes! I’ve also been primarily an Apple user all that time and I’ve come to love how well all of their products work, and work impeccably well. The iPad Pro is no different. But if you’re used to customizing everything like you can do on Windows machines, the iOS environment will take a lot of getting used to…and piss you off with its limitations. Apple keeps their OS and iOS environments tightly sealed, and I’ve really come to hate that limitation in some respects. That said, if all you use the iPad Pro for is drawing and painting, then you as a Windows guy or gal will come to love it.

    I’ll reiterate that the Inutos can handle anything you throw at it beautifully- it seamlessly works with any software. But the iPad Pro just completely outperforms it for art creation (when coupled with Procreate). I’ve been using the iPad Pro that I’m writing this reply to you on for just under a year, and it’s still going strong. If you do some hard math over a few years on how much you spend buying and maintaining all hardware for art (desktops, laptops, scanners, tablets, mice and monitors) and then throw in the damned yearly subscription to Adobe, you could probably buy a new iPad Pro every couple years and still be ahead.

    As for portability, you can’t beat the iPad Pro. Period. Full stop. Done. Yup. (Take my word: I’ve experimented with a LOT of different options, some in hindsight were ridiculous!) I know I wrote earlier that I didn’t use the iPP (that’s what I’m gonna call the thing from now on cause I’m tired of writing it out fully) for anything but drawing and painting, but I’m actually using it for everything now. I’ve gotten used to the virtual keyboard, and for whatever reason, my wrists don’t hurt like they do the second I type on a real keyboard. Netflixing, emailing, WordPressing…I do it all now on this machine. One thing I do hate is that there is no built in stand like a keyboard. Propping it up to read or watch stuff in bed sucks.

    If you’re still thinking of making the leap to the Intuos Pro line (or whatever they’re called now), I suggest getting at least the medium size. Bigger really is better. I started off on a Wacom graphire (the equivalent to a bamboo), and really it’s not the levels of pressure sensitivity that makes the difference, it’s the size of the tablet. Only the Intuos line comes in bigboy sizes. But at the price point of a large Intuos, you’re almost at the iPP anyway, so think hard and long about what you want to do. Just go to an Apple store and try it out for an hour or so and I’d be surprised if you don’t walk away with one. Play for as long as you can in the Notes app using the Pencil, and you’ll see what I mean. Did I ever write that I was literally shaking when I first used it in-store? The thing I had been waiting for so long was here! Well, that’s not true: if the iPP had an e-ink display, then I would have exactly what I wanted.

    Good luck, and let me know how it goes.

  21. Jillian

    Hey there! I don’t know if you’re still responding (I suppose I’m a little late, lol.) but if you do see this I’d like to give you a huge thanks! I wanted to start doing graphic design and animation, so I had to look at my options for a device. I saw lots of computers and tablets, all of which costed a fortune! Then, I saw the iPad Pro and the low price and thought it was to good to be true, so I did some research and stumbled upon this post. You really cleared things up for me about apps, and the performance of the device. You saved me thousands of dollars!! I will be buying the iPad Pro!

  22. jonwright

    It’s never too late to comment, Jillian. I take my sweet time making posts on this site, so I don’t expect people to be lightning fast to respond.

    Let me know how you like the iPad Pro when you start really using it. I’ve had to do about 4 weeks work on it these past few months while I build my house, and I’m loving it more and more. Although I am starting to get pissed off with managing/sending files like .psds, though. Procreate lets you export layered files to email and Dropbox, but I’ve been having real trouble sending some of those files via email to clients…making me look very amateur in the process. File management is still one area a traditional computer wins hands down. But can you draw in bed with a traditional computer and Cintiqs or Intuos, then head to a coffee shop to finish off a character design? Nope. These things I now take for granted on the iPad Pro, and the drawing experience is wicked, just wicked. You’ll love it. And you’ll love that spare cash in your pocket now that you don’t have to buy a desktop, laptop, keyboard, Intuos or Cintiqs, scanner, etc.

  23. Piotr

    Hello! Thank you for review. I have a little ASUS Note 8 tablet with Wacom technology. It’s OK when it works. Unfortunatelly this model has a problems with drivers, so sometimes pencil just stop working. So I decided to buy Surface Pro tablet, but I found that his IAF (Initial Action Force) is really big. This tabled need a really strong force to start draw. thats bacause of n-trig technology. So I tested Ipad Pro with Apple pencil. Im not sure, but I think the pencil is better than Wacom pen. I think Ipad Pro will be my next tablet. Your information about wrists problems is really important for me, and my decision which tablet to buy. Fortunatelly I’m not have broblems with wrists, but hours of working with Surface Pro may be too much for my hands.
    Now I working with Intuos A5 size (A4 was too big, and needed to much hand moves). Instead of one table, I have three: one in front with monitor, and two tables with wheels: on the left side, and on the right side. On one tablet I have Intuos, on the second – keyboard. Both have also something soft for my forearms. Usually they are t-shirts or a towels. A small pillows were to high for me. It really works, I can recomend you this set of workspace.
    Really cool for spine problems.

  24. jonwright


    I found drawing on the Surface Pro a real let-down, just like you. I never noticed that initial pressure hardness, though. I just thought the whole machine was a computer first, and a CIntiq/tablet second. Not what I was after at all.

    Your setup sounds neat’ you obviously have found your groove. Just really, really be careful about repetitive stress injuries or tendinitis. I’m still dealing with mine 2 years later, and it seems like I can keep it at bay, but that’s it’s never really going to go away. Even as I type this to you, my right wrist is starting to hurt. And that was my keyboard shortcut hand, the one I called my “Claw” because that was it’s position for 8 hours a day. But man did I ever get fast using those shortcuts in PS and AE!

    Let me know if you get an iPad Pro- it’d be interesting if it’ll lure you away from your neat workspace!

  25. Piotr


    I’m trying to change systematically my working position, wheel on the two tables are really helpfull.
    Also I’m working by standing, because I’m painting on computer, but also on real canvas.
    So I’m sitting in front of a monitor, and standing in front of an easel.

    I’m really close to choose Ipad. Funny, I was always working with Windows :).
    I was thinking about Wacom Mobile Studio, but its too heavy, and too big for me.

    Greetings from Poland!


  26. jonwright


    I’m heading back to traditional media more and more myself, as well. Funnily enough, the iPad Pro is sort of bringing me back there since it’s so close to the feeling of traditional media!

    And if you just use the iPad Pro for drawing, I don’t think you as a Windows guy will miss a thing.

    I just looked at that Wacom mobile studio pro thingy, and it looks as clunky as you described. I tried their companion a while ago, and really didn’t like it. Wacom’s strength is in their hardware- they should realize that and just concentrate more on that.

    And Greetings from the Canadian Arctic back at ya!

  27. John

    Apologize about the thread revive. Are you still using iPad Pro for animations? I have demoed and I really like drawing on the iPad Pro. Animation is only thing kind of hindering me from purchasing iPad Pro. I have been looking at display tablets but not totally sold on them either. The portability if the iPad makes it seem like a good choice.

  28. jonwright

    Hey, John.

    I’m moving away from doing animation myself, solely because my left wrist is still so painful. I don’t go near a traditional keyboard anymore, so I stick now to doing illustration, and let other people bring them to life. I’m okay with that, to be honest. I’ll do the concept art, and someone else gets to have the fun of making art move.

    That being said, the app Procreate has updated so that you can import .psd files, which makes life animating in After Effects way, way better than when I started using the iPad Pro in the animation pipeline a year and a half ago. When I first started using it, you couldn’t import your layered files to the iPad Pro and life sort of sucked. But it’s way better now…but…you’ll still need a desktop or laptop to run your animation software. I haven’t really played around with the apps available for animating solely on the iPad Pro, but if someone wants to chime in here, have at ‘er! Oh, and Procreate (or Apple?) still hasn’t come up with a good way of exporting and sharing files whose names you can control- and that is a HUGE part of animation, especially if you’re working on a big project with many people involved. I feel fairly unprofessional when I send “Untitled” images to clients, which is what happens when you share files from the Photos library. I really wish I could rename files on this machine. You can rename the main file in Procreate but doing that every time to send multiple versions, say of a character design, to a client becomes super duper cumbersome.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it here again: I think the iPad Pro is for illustration and asset creation. But, depending on the animation you want to do, apps might be able to handle what you have in mind.

    As for portability, nothing beats this guy. Not a thing!

    Let me know what you decide- I like hearing how other people work digitally, or traditionally, or hybridly (my blog, my dictionary!).

  29. Dume

    Hi Jon!

    Thought you might be interested to learn that iOS coming this fall 2017 finally has a pure file manager. Access all your files, rename, send, upload to iCloud etc. Apple is also adding the Dock to iOS for whatever that is worth.

    Thanks for the article. My 2011 Macbook Pro gave up the ghost and I can’t decided between a Surface Book (very strong drawing experience, with updated pressure sensitivity and speed according to objective reviews), an HP Spectre X360 and an iPad Pro. I’m in game development and music. I have a large powerful iMac for code and video / audio editing. But I use my old 2nd gen iPad every day for reading. Would be great to be able to draw anywhere, read anywhere, and not have to carry oodles of o’s to accomplish it all.

    Have you considered snagging one of the aluminum backlit keyboard product built for iPad Pro? Brydge makes one that seems amazing. The Mac desktop shortcuts like command-tab to switch apps all work with those, plus you can prop your iPad up at night for reading, Netflixing and the like.

    Happy Drawing!

  30. jonwright


    I read about that iOS update with a lot of excitement too. If I can finally manage files and even name them how I’d like, man o man I’d be a pig in shit. I feel really unprofessional when I send “Untitled” files to clients, but I have no way of changing the name if I upload from the Photos library. About the other features the new iOS is going to bring, I’m not really sure if they’ll be that great. Like the addition of the Dock, for instance. Once you get used to the four finger gestures to navigate apps, I feel it’s just as quick as having a Dock around.

    I headed over to your site and was blown away by your music- really nice stuff, sir! Have you used the iPad Pro for any of your work, either music or animation? It’d be interesting to know.

    And I have bad tendinitis in my left wrist from being a shortcut Ninja in PS and AFX, so now I only use this iPad Pro for all my illustrating, and stay far far away from a traditional keyboard. I got super fast with those shortcuts and sort of miss them, but in the long run, they’ve slowed me down because of the pain…and not being able to animate anymore. I really have to do an in-depth post about it, and all the stuff I’ve learned about repetitive stress injuries.

    Oh, and I use the DraftTable stand I did a review for…I modified it heavily to make it lighter and work for me better. I use it all the time.

    Take care and keep up the wicked work!

  31. Vanessa

    Hi there,

    Stopping by to say that thanks to your review and the peer pressure from my friends I finally bought an Ipad pro! Can’t wait to play with it! Since I have no idea how any apple product works and that I have the 64gb version, is it possible to easily transfer my images to my laptop for backup or do I need a portable hard drive?


  32. jonwright

    Hey, Vanessa. Glad you stopped by!

    There are a lot of external flash drives available now for the iPad Pro, and they aren’t very expensive so you should give one of them a try. Just spend some time googling and see which one works best for you. I’m curious- you don’t want to use iCloud? I live where internet speeds are a joke and we have real limits to our bandwidth, but if I lived down South, I’d have everything in the iCloud.

    The iOS 11 update (that Dume talked about in his comment above) is looking like it’s gonna be very sexy with real file management capabilities, so a lot of the headaches that I had with the iPad Pro and moving files to my computer should be gone. (Mainly letting me name files!) It sounds like you’re a PC girl, so I can’t tell you whether or not it’s easy to move files back and forth between your computer, but using “Airdrop” on my Mac makes everything super slick. Hopefully there’s an equivalent for PCs. Oh, and since I don’t have music or movies on my iPad Pro, I still have oodles of space on my little 32 Gig machine.

    Hope that helps, but lemme know if you have any more questions.

  33. Keena

    Thank you so much for the insight! 😊 When it comes time to upgrade my system in a couple years I have a good idea what I’ll pick. In the meantime, I’ll be following your blog with interest. So cool that you’re a Canuck too. Greetings from central BC!

  34. Stacy

    Hi there. Hope I’m not too late for the party lol. My son is 12 and does lots pen to paper drawings.. mainly manga style and he wants to get into digital. He wants a gaomon 1560 (costs $400). I was doing research on the iPad Pro (which is how i came across your blog) and I think it’s a better deal for him. He wants to start doing animation.
    Looks like your previous reviews said the pro was not good for that. Do you think this is a good starting tool for my 12 year old?

  35. jonwright


    Nice to know another Canadian is out there! We’re so damned far apart in this country, but we’ve got strong, growing artistic community that’s become a big player in the world stage.

    Stop by the blog anytime, but I’ve been horrible at doing anything new since the house I’ve built has occupied me completely for a year and a half. But it’s almost done except for trim, so the end is in sight, and I do have some drawing contracts coming up in the next couple months too.

    See ya!

  36. jonwright


    Man, do I ever wish my Mom bought me something like the iPad Pro when I was 12! Too bad that was about 10 years before the iPod even existed!
    As for the gaomon 1560, I’ve never heard of it, but it substantially cheaper than the iPad Pro. The iPad Pro still can’t handle animation yet, but it’s close. I downloaded the trial version of Sketchbook Motion, and you can do some pretty rudimentary stuff on it, like simple animatics. I’m actually gonna try to do the animatic stage for a film I’m contracted on using a Sketchbook Motion- I’ll do a review when I get to that in 2 months.

    BUT, it’s really still not a machine for animation. I’d hate for you to spend all money on an iPad Pro that doesn’t do what you or your son wants…

    Hope that helps in your decision.

  37. Alexandre de Loriol

    Celcys Just released an Ipad pro version of Clip Studio Paint, which is à terrific drawing and painting software, with great tools for comics creation and animation.
    Il might be à game changer.

  38. Patrick

    Awesome review! Have you done an article on repetitive stress injuries? I need that. I’m a freelance motion designer (mainly Ae) and I’ve had some issues. Interested in iPP for designing and doing other teams in the go, but I’m not getting rid of my iMac any time soon…

  39. jonwright

    Hey, Patrick.

    I’ve been meaning to do an in-depth post about repetitive stress injuries. I still suffer a lot of pain from my old digital drawing setup, and I’ve learned a lot over the past three years why I developed it, and what I do now to avoid it. I think your comment is getting me off my ass to do just that…
    The iPP can’t be beat for on the go work, and even for asset creation. But you’re right, don’t get rid of your iMac, cause there’s nothing yet that comes anywhere close to AE for the iPP. And two years of using this machine exclusively, I do miss a bigger screen. Apple, please make a 20” iPad Pro!

    I promise I’ll do a post soon enough. See ya.

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