Six months can be a life time or just an instance. In geological terms such lengths of time aren’t even considered other than volcanic eruptions (even this is a way too simple approach). In Apple terms it is half an iPhone or superfluous adjective for me it is the length of time I have owned an Apple Pencil and the hardware required to use it.
I started off with the pencil trying to work much the same way as I had with my other iPad stylus and this worked for a while. As the weeks and months progressed I have found myself starting to let go of my previous approaches to creating art on the iPad and embrace the freedom of approach I have bought. You may well have noticed that I haven’t actually said that this was the result of using the Apple Pencil because I don’t think that it is. In fact I would go as far as saying I don’t really know how to use the Apple Pencil other than as a means to create my art. I cannot tell you whether the technology helps or not as my only true comparison is a Wacom tablet which works and feels much the same. So that is my review of the the Pencil…it works and feels like a Wacom tablet. Whether that is a ringing endorsement depends on whether you use a Wacom tablet on a regular basis as I do.
What the pencil does do is feel right in the hand. It has the right level of weight and is well balanced. The pencil also encouraged me to use the Procreate app that I had bought sometime ago and never really got around to using. On my previous iPads I had used Brushes a much simpler paint app when compared to facilities provided by Procreate. However, in the end they both work in a very similar fashion but when I have used the Apple Pencil with Brushes it has felt very restrictive when compared to the complexities of approach offered by Procreate. It has taken me six months to start to understand Procreate’s approach or perhaps it has taken me this time to start to free up my preconceived ideas of what I want to create. Whatever the reason the images I am making now feel richer in their approach compared to those I started to make 6 months ago. I have also started to make digital paintings with Photoshop again and these paintings have also changed. The one downside to all this digital expansion is that my artwork created in the real world has taken a back seat – at times it feels that they are sitting right at the back of a very long coach. No doubt this will change as time goes by.
So to conclude the Apple Pencil is one of the best pieces of kit Apple has made in a very long time. The downside is that the Pencil is expensive when you considered the cost of an iPad Pro is added – I know there is a smaller iPad Pro but I feel that somewhat misses the point of the Pencil. To get the best out of it you need the biggest canvas available. If you are an artists, designer etc and you have an iPad Pro then you really must have a Pencil as well. (I suspect that is self evident.) If however you are not and you are looking at replacing your aging iPad then I am not sure that the cost of the iPad Pro is justified, don’t believe the Apple hype about this being all the computer you need – it isn’t, and without the iPad pro the Apple Pencil is point less.