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iPad Essentials for the Artist & Designer – Video

ipad video Jan 10, 2023

Here are my iPad essentials for artists and designers—the goods I use.

If you are a surface pattern designer, illustrator, or artist, you're asking yourself, "Should I get an iPad?". The answer is YES! The next question you should ask is, "Do I need a drawing glove?". Again, the answer is YES! Now you're asking, "WTF is a drawing glove?". I'll tell you why you need one a little later.

Using the new iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil will change your life. It would help if you got started with your basic iPad setup. Here I'll share my iPad Pro setup and show you my favorite items for an iPad.

Watch the video above I made on iPad essentials for every artist and designer. If you know someone with an iPad, any of these accessories will make great gifts this coming holiday season.

iPad Essentials for Every Artist

1. Get the iPad Pro

Which iPad model to buy?

Get the one you can afford. Go for value – what's the best bang for your buck? I use the iPad Pro 12.9", and I love it. First, think about the size of the tablet you want. Consider your daily usage and how you prefer to sit and hold it to work. Do you want something smaller to slip into your bag or something that gives more workspace? That's me. I like the workspace, so I went with the larger screen size. If you're an artist or designer, you'll want an iPad compatible with an Apple Pencil. I'll get to that innovative mark-maker later. You can compare iPad models here.

How much memory do I need for my new iPad?

Again, get what you can afford. I got it maxed out with memory and ram because I could afford it then. But anything will get you started. You can also sync to a cloud on Apple, Google, or Creative Cloud for more storage space. I use all of them for different reasons.

Do I need WiFi for my iPad?

WiFi on your iPad is a personal preference for being connected. If you are on the go often, consider the WiFi feature the perfect option. However, remember your now committing to a monthly service fee to your wireless service provider. Learn more about cellular for iPad.

Get the iPad Pro.

2. Apple Pencil

The Apple Pencil is a game changer for artists and designers. The pencil makes drawing a breeze. You have so many tools at your pencil tip! With the right apps (like the ones listed below), you'll create stunning art quickly. Get the Apple Pencil 2.

3. Paperlike Screen Protector 

You need a screen protector, and I love my Paperlike! It creates more friction when drawing, so it feels like paper. It also makes less slip and a smooth sound like you're drawing on paper! The package also comes with two screen protectors. So it's a no-brainer! Get your Paperlike screen protector.

4. Drawing Glove

WTF is a drawing glove? Well, it's a must-have for your digital drawing toolbox. The glove covers your outer two fingers and palm. This keeps you from smudging your screen or making any unwanted marks in your art. Meanwhile, your thumb and first two fingers are exposed so you can fully control the touch screen on your iPad. One accessory I don't leave home without is my drawing glove. Get your Drawing Glove.

5. Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard

A Bluetooth keyboard is a bonus. It's not necessary, but it makes typing easier at times. You can find any Bluetooth keyboard that is compatible with the iPad. I already had the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard, and it works great! Get the Apple Magic Keyboard.

6. Protective Case

It would be best if you had a protective case for your iPad. You want to keep your tools in good shape, especially when paying a lot. I wanted the Apple case with the built-in keyboard. It's so fancy and designed perfectly. However, I settled for a more affordable case on Amazon. We all gotta eat! Check out the inexpensive iPad cases (mine held up well the last year so far).

iPad Essential Apps for Artists & Designers:


Procreate is a powerful drawing tool for any creative. The Apple Pencil will give you maximum control in this digital drawing app. No matter your medium, you'll create unique art with Procreate. The tools allow you to make drawings, paintings, illustrations, and custom hand lettering. This app creates pixel-based art. You can also create animations with Procreate, which is super cool. One of my favorite things about Procreate is the ability to make a time-lapse video of your drawing process. Get Procreate.

2. Adobe Fresco

Adobe's answer to Procreate is Adobe Fresco. It's newer, so they are still working out some kinks. But it is a potent tool. The exciting thing is that it has pixel and vector-based capabilities to create art. It can work efficiently with other Adobe Creative Cloud apps on your desktop. Get Adobe Creative Cloud.

3. Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is such a powerful tool on the desktop. This new version of Illustrator for the iPad isn't as robust as the desktop version, but so far is a great partner with the desktop version and the entire Creative Cloud suite. The highlights for me are being able to draw with vectors using the Apple Pencil. The pattern tool is dynamic and fun to use, too. Get Adobe Creative Cloud.

4. Adobe Capture

Capture is one of my favorite design tools for any mobile device. I have it both on my iPad and my iPhone. It allows you to create vector textures, color palettes, patterns, and more. It syncs excellent with your Creative Cloud library, making it easy to import your assets into your favorite Adobe apps. Get Adobe Creative Cloud.

5. Adobe Photoshop/Lightroom

Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are must-haves if you are a photographer, professional, or amateur. Though I prefer using both on the desktop, the apps can come in handy on the go. Photoshop is excellent for light retouching and modifications. In comparison, Lightroom is perfect for digitally developing your photos and making adjustments and tweaks to the overall color and exposure. I use these apps to tweak photos that I sell as stock photography. Selling your pictures as stock is a great way to make residual income with little effort. Get Adobe Creative Cloud.

6. Coolors

Coolors is one of my favorite apps for creating color palettes on the go. There is both a website and an app. I prefer the app. You can create color palettes from scratch or use one of your favorite photos. This app is a great way to explore color and be inspired by new hues. Coolors is perfect to jumpstart your design process. Check out my tutorial on how to use the Coolors app to create color palettes. Check out Coolors.

I hope this was helpful. If I left out any iPad essentials for the artist or designer in you, let me know in the comments below.

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