You’ve finally dedicated your artistic mind to the convenient world of iPad art. But as it turns out, creating art on your iPad can get pretty uncomfortable if you don’t have the right tools.
Thing is, shopping for iPad drawing accessories can be kind of overwhelming. There are a ton of products on the market, and they won’t always suit your needs. Some styluses won’t suit your drawing style, some mounts or kickstands aren’t as adjustable as they should be, and it can be hard to pick out an iPad keyboard if you’ve never used one before.
Lucky for you, we’ve taken the time to hunt down and organize the top 25 iPad drawing accessories. Don’t worry, you won’t need all 25–just one or two from each category that suits your needs. With these accessories in hand, you can finally take the iPad out of your lap and end your heinous iPad fingerpainting lifestyle.
A Stylus: The Number One Necessity
Apple’s flagship stylus, the Apple Pencil, is honestly a fantastic device. But if you don’t already own a Pencil or you wish the Pencil had more programmable buttons, it’s worth looking into a wide variety of styluses that work for the iPad. You could save a lot of money, and you could find a stylus that’s directly suited toward your needs.
There are just two things to keep in mind. For one, iPads made before 2017 don’t work with the new Apple Pencil, and the old Apple Pencil only works with iPad Pro’s made after 2015 and the 2018 models of the regular iPad and the iPad Air. Basically, if you’re using an old iPad, you’ll need a stylus that connects over Bluetooth.
The other thing that you should know about is palm-rejection. When a stylus (like the Apple Pencil) has palm-rejection features, it essentially tells your iPad to ignore any accidental inputs. This technology is a godsend for artists that tend to lay their hand on the paper while drawing. That being said, if you buy a stylus that doesn’t have palm-rejection features, then you’ll need a drawing glove (or really good posture).
- Apple Pencil 2nd Generation ($130) – The Apple Pencil is one of the best styluses on the market. It’s optimized for the iPad, it’s super responsive, and it doesn’t need to pair over Bluetooth. If you want to make the Pencil even better, try adding a grippy magnetic sleeve, or a protective tip cover.
- Apple Pencil 1st Generation ($95) – If you don’t want to spend $130 on the new Apple Pencil, just buy the old one. It still works great, the only big difference is that it doesn’t have a programmable “double tap” feature.
- The Friendly Swede 4-in-1 Brush Stylus ($25) – This stylus set is ideal for anyone that prefers to draw with traditional tools. For just $25, you get two fine-tips styluses, two disc-tips styluses, and an attachable brush tip. This stylus will work on older iPads, and it doesn’t have palm-rejection features.
- The Logitech Crayon ($70) – This stylus is built to be a direct alternative to the Apple Pencil. Like the pencil, it’s responsive, it doesn’t need to pair over Bluetooth, and it has palm-rejection features. That said, this stylus won’t work on older iPads.
- Wacom Bamboo Sketch ($55) – If you’re a digital artist, then you’re already familiar with Wacom. The Bamboo Sketch reflects Wacom’s legacy, it’s easy to use, super responsive, and it has two programmable buttons. While the Bamboo Sketch will work on older iPads, it doesn’t have palm-rejection features.
- Adonit Pixel ($63) – If you’re looking for a cheap alternative to the Pencil, then the Adonit Pixel may be for you. It’s designed to look and act like the Pencil, with two extra programmable buttons on the side. This stylus has palm-rejection features, and it can connect to older iPads.
Of course, no matter which stylus you use, the iPad’s screen will always be a bit slippery. If only there was a way to make the iPad screen feel a bit more like paper…
A Paper-Like Screen Protector for Extra Control
When creating digital art on an iPad, you should avoid using any bulky screen protectors. Thick screen protectors can make your iPad less receptive to stylus input, which can be extremely frustrating when you’re trying to draw with a lot of detail.
Instead, you should use a thin, paper-like screen protector that’s specifically designed for artists. These screen protectors give your slippery iPad screen a bit of texture and resistance that’s similar to paper. And while they aren’t as protective as tempered glass screen protectors, paper-like screen protectors add a useful element to your artistic experience.
- Soke 9.7″ Paper-Like Screen Protector ($23) – An easy to install anti-glare screen protector with a paper-like texture.
- LITCHI 10.5″ Paper-Like Screen Protector ($18) – This surprisingly affordable screen protector is anti-glare and anti-smudge. Plus, it’s made with bubble-free adhesives, so it’s easy to install.
- PYS 11″ Paper-Like Screen Protector 2-Pack ($28) – An anti-glare screen protector at an affordable price. This screen protector is made with bubble-free adhesives, so it’s easy to install.
- Soke 12.9″ Paper-Like Screen Protector ($28) – This is the ideal paper-like screen protector for the iPad Pro. It’s anti-glare and anti-smudge, and it’s made with easy to install bubble-free adhesives.
Again, paper-like screen protectors add can make your digital art experience easier and more enjoyable. Just be sure to check the size of your iPad’s screen before buying a screen protector.
A Keyboard for Shortcuts and Easy Inputs
Tired of opening menus and typing values with the on-screen keyboard? An actual keyboard can speed up your artistic process, and provide new avenues to artistic expression. Thankfully, there are plenty of thin Bluetooth keyboards that work great with the iPad, and some of them are super affordable.
- Official Apple Keyboard 10.5″, 11″, and 12.9″ ($160+) – Like the Apple Pencil, the Apple iPad Pro Keyboard is a great product that designed to work without a hitch. It’s a bit expensive, but it’s super slim, and it doubles as a kickstand.
- Logitech K780 Multi-Device Keyboard ($60) – This Bluetooth keyboard is a favorite among creatives, as it can be used to control three devices at a time. Plus, it has a small built-in stand for tablets and phones, so you can get away without a stand.
- Logitech K480 Multi-Device Keyboard ($30) – This is essentially a bulkier version of the Logitech K780. It can connect to three devices at once, and it has a large built-in stand that can hold a couple of devices at a time.
- OMOTON Bluetooth Keyboard ($16) – This inexpensive Bluetooth keyboard is a great option for iPad owners that already have a kickstand or tablet mount.
- Finite 9.7″ Keyboard and Case Combo ($32) – The Finite keyboard and case combo is a great option for people who want to draw on the go. It only fits 9.7″ iPads, however, so make sure that your device is the right size.
Of course, there’s no point in using a keyboard if your iPad is laying flat on a table. If your iPad keyboard doesn’t have a tablet mount (or even if it does), you might want to grab a dedicated iPad stand.
Drawing Stands, Kickstand Cases, and Mounts
Drawing on a flat surface can be uncomfortable, and unstable surfaces (like your lap) aren’t always easy to draw on. A good drawing stand, kickstand, or tablet mount can alleviate some of your discomfort, and get you back to what you love.
- Official Apple Kickstand Case 10.5″, 11″, 12.9″, and iPad Mini ($50+) – The official Apple kickstand case comes in a variety of different colors, and it’s made from a durable (yet thin) material that’ll hold up for a long time. These cases are good for drawing on the go, but their kickstands aren’t as adjustable as some other cases or mounts.
- Elevation Lab Draft Table Kit for iPad Pro ($70) – This is the kind of iPad stand that you’d keep at a work desk. Along with a strong and adjustable stand, this kit comes with a rest for your wrists, and an upright stand for your stylus.
- MAX SMART iPad Drawing Stand ($21) – This adjustable stand works great at the desk or on the go. It’s thin, durable, and inexpensive.
- MoKo Foldable Tablet Stand ($6) – Need a cheap kickstand? The MoKo stand is lightweight, easy to use, and it can fit in any bag.
- Arkon Heavy Duty Tablet Mount ($34) – This tablet mount is made to be installed into your desk or wall, so you don’t have to worry about your tablet moving around while you work. While a mount like this may not be ideal for some artists’ setups, its good for doing work while standing.
Now that you’ve got a ton of artistic hardware for your iPad, it’s time to focus on the software. After all, there’s no point in buying all of this stuff if you don’t have any drawing or painting apps installed.
You Can’t Draw Without an App
A digital artist is nothing without a good piece of software. Thankfully, the App Store is full of drawing apps for every kind of artist, and most of them are totally free.
- Notes (Free) – Apple’s default drawing and note-taking tool is optimized for use with a stylus, and its great for quick sketches or full-blown drawings.
- Procreate ($10) – Procreate is a premium drawing tool that rivals traditional art software. It’s packed with a great layering system, more than 100 brushes, and some video tools.
- Adobe Illustrator Draw (Free) – This app is for vector art, so it’s great for graphic designers that want scalable (or stylized) images. It’s basically a mobile version of Adobe Illustrator.
- ArtRage ($2) – Unlike most digital art apps, ArtRage is designed to mimic the feel of analog painting. It’s an intuitive app for artists that are used to physical mediums, but it comes with a lot of digital features, like layer tools.
- Autodesk SketchBook (Free) – If you’re looking for an intuitive, powerful drawing app, then this might be for you. SketchBook contains all the features that you’d expect from modern art software, but it’s free and easy to use.
We’ve covered a lot of ground here, and there’s a good chance that you already have some of these supplies. That being said, hobbies should be as comfortable as possible. If you think that one of these products could improve your artistic experience, then you should seriously consider buying yourself a gift. And of course, if one of your friends or family members is interested in digital art, then now might be the time to buy them an extremely useful present.