So, you’ve got an Apple Pencil. It’s a powerful design tool to say the least, with numerous applications for every kind of person. And don’t let your Apple-hating friends fool you; paired with the right apps, the Apple Pencil is truly remarkable.
Regardless of whether you picked up the pencil to sharpen your artistic skills, take better notes, or just doodle away, there’s an app out there that’s right for you. With numerous Apple Pencil apps on the market, choices can be tough if you don’t know where to look. Luckily, we’ve been scanning the App Store to find some diamonds in the rough. Check out some of our top picks for the Apple Pencil.
For The Experienced Artist…
Although digital art can never truly match the precision of pen and paper, the Apple Pencil comes damn close. There are many artistic toolkits out there, offering numerous options to help you flex your creative muscles. Take a look at a few of our favorites:
Adobe Photoshop Sketch
Don’t let the price fool you: This app is no joke. Along with a wide variety of virtual drawing utensils to choose from, the app uses dynamic perspective grids to help you keep track of your 3D work on a 2D plane. Plus, the Pencil integration is astounding. Sketch feels like it was designed for the Apple Pencil. With almost no latency and a strikingly smooth UI experience, you’ll find your sketches shaping up in no time.
If you’re looking for all the options, look no further than Procreate. In addition to a sleek design and zero latency on the Apple Pencil, Procreate features a whopping 128 brushes, each with over 30 customizable settings! Not to mention other specialized options such as perspective blur, motion blur, and a host of other hue/saturation options. If other sketch apps have left you wanting more, Procreate won’t let you down. A quick warning, however: Procreate isn’t for the faint of heart. You’ll need to dive deep into the app’s integrated manual to push your Pencil to the fullest. You can trust us, though… It’s a very worthy investment.
For The Casual Doodler…
Drawing is fun. It can be relaxing, silly, exciting, or peaceful. You don’t have to be the next Michelangelo to figure that out. But we’ll let you in on a little secret: Michelangelo didn’t have an Apple Pencil. And we’re betting he would be very jealous if he saw you using yours with some of our favorite apps.
SketchClub is cool. Really cool. Although you may be surprised by the simplistic-looking interface, there is much depth hidden beneath the surface. There’s a host of awesome features available as well, like the pixel brush for stylized 8-bit artwork, or the procedural autosave for a smoother experience. However, the best part comes with pairing the app’s Pencil Sketcher, a tool which automatically shades edges as you draw, with your Apple Pencil. Once you’ve created your masterpiece, the “Club” part of SketchClub comes into play. See, the app also doubles as some kind of sketch-based social network, where users are encouraged to communicate and share with Sketchers around the globe. Whether you’re looking to send some doodles to some friends or hunting for advice on how to improve, SketchClub can get you there.
Price: Free (7-Day Free Trial, but offers Premium Subscription)
Pigment is an adult coloring book. But don’t let that odd little phrase fool you. First, no, it’s not the kind of “adult” coloring book you’re thinking of. All we mean is there’s a little more complexity to these pages than on little Timmy’s Toy Story booklet. Second, it’s remarkably relaxing. Filling up countless white spaces with brilliant color is an artistic satisfaction that’s easily understood yet endlessly enjoyable. Third, this app might as well be the sole reason you got an Apple Pencil: It just fits so well. The Pencil works wonderfully within the app, complementing Pigment’s tranquil nature with a level of precision that is impossible anywhere else.
For the Note-Taking Machine…
Your professor is flipping through their slideshow too fast for you to keep up. You need these notes for next week’s exam, and your professor already stated he won’t be putting this article online. In this situation, you should:
A). Write quickly but illegibly.
B). Write legibly, but risk missing out on some information.
C). Use your Apple Pencil.
Hint: We think the answer is C.
We’ve used many handwriting-to-text converters in the past, with mixed success. Try as we might, the converters never seemed to be able to work with enough accuracy to make the technology worthwhile. But after spending some time with Myscript Nebo, we believe the Apple Pencil may have been the missing link. The Pencil offered a startling shift in the accuracy of the program, and we couldn’t get enough. It’s accurate enough that you can reliably trust the software to do its job; just keep your eyes on the blackboard and your Apple Pencil on your IPad, and your notes will have never looked better. Being unable to read your own handwriting is finally a thing of the past.
Sure, some people need to take notes. But you need to take NOTES. We’re talking sketches. We’re talking diagrams. We’re talking blueprints, equations, charts, graphs, or maybe even a quick doodle of your dog. You need something that allows you to color outside the lines. You need your text to flow from one image to the next. You need Notability.
And let’s not forget that with the Apple Pencil, you won’t need to worry about trying to fingerpaint complex geometric designs onto your IPad. The Apple Pencil integrates seamlessly into Notability’s already impressive note-taking interface, turning a powerful tool into the ultimate weapon.
For The Employee Of the Month…
We know you’re on a tight schedule, so we’ll keep it short and sweet: PDF’s. We know ‘em. We love ‘em. Well, we have to, because they’re all anyone uses anymore. Today, we’ve got two apps that will let you and your Apple Pencil take your PDF game to the next level.
Your last stop for PDF management. The first thing you’ll probably notice is the app’s unintrusive, easy-to-use UI, and what a breeze it is to page through PDF’s with the Apple Pencil. The next thing you’ll notice is the editing tool. Yes, you heard correctly. PDF Expert’s Masterstroke feature is the ability to EDIT PDF’s. The only thing holding us back was the relative clumsiness of moving text boxes and editing images using only our fingertips, but we both know why that’s not a problem anymore. Now, with the Apple Pencil in hand, you can rewrite the rules of PDF’s as you change them to suit your liking.
The Apple Pencil has never had an easier fit than DocuSign, an app allowing you to easily and quickly sign PDF’s and documents right from your phone. Docusign is free, easy to use, and completely secure, offering the fastest and safest way to mark down a signature on the move. Of course, this app is also an option for non-Pencil users, but the Pencil keeps your signatures made with real pencils consistent with the ones made in the digital world. It’s a simple, harmless shortcut that fits neatly into the repertoire of anyone who regularly fills out digital documents.