Prototype 1 of the Pencil Pod
Now that we had a proof of concept, we set out to find avid users of the Pencil to get their feedback. Here’s what we gathered.
Participant 1: Sophie Horton Jones
1. What do you use the pencil for?
I’m a toy and game designer who’s recently moved to the Seattle area from the UK. I do a lot of concept sketching either with a Sharpie and a pile of paper, or digitally with a Wacom Cintiq.
When I moved to the US, I needed a solution that would let me design, sketch and blog on the move whilst exploring the Pacific Northwest. The iPad and Pencil combo let me do this, it also allowed me to see how it compared to the more traditional Wacom digital sketching, and whether it could compete in a more professional capacity. I’ve been sketching in coffee shops, jotting down ideas on the move and developing product, toy and game concepts ready to pitch. I’ve also been using it for a blog that follows my adventures here in Washington: http://www.robotsandcoffee.wordpress.com.
2. What did you think of the case and leather sheath?
The case has been absolutely fantastic. I usually carry my iPad and Pencil in a satchel which has a front pocket that neatly fits the Pencil, but I was always worried about it bending or scratching. The case is great to be able to drop it my bag and not worry about it. It also comfortably fits both Pencil and a Sharpie, as digital sketching doesn’t always fit the concept. Aesthetically it’s great, the embossed detail is lovely, and I’ve loved showing it off whilst on my adventures. I can’t really imagine not carrying my Pencil in this now!
The grip was great too, I was actually a little skeptical of this at first as I hadn’t had any concerns about the Pencil without a grip. I wondered whether it could enhance the usability or comfort, or what it would bring to the Pencil. As soon as I was used to having something extra on the Pencil it felt great, it’s difficult to describe what it brings to the Pencil, but it felt more tactile, slightly warmer. I have found that over time the leather has loosened it’s grip on the Pencil a little, it could perhaps benefit from a slightly tighter fit.
3. What are your favorite pencil apps?
Procreate has been a winning app for me so far. I’ve tried most of the staple sketching apps; Autodesk Sketchbook, Concepts, Adobe Sketch and Adobe Draw, but Procreate feels the most natural. It has some really fantastic tools and works seamlessly with the Pencil with tilt and pressure recognition with no lag. You can also export the artwork as a number of different formats, including a layered .psd, which is great to take an idea to the next level.
Astropad is another fantastic app, it allows you to hook up to your Mac (wired or Wi-Fi) and essentially use the iPad as an external sketching device, like a Wacom does. So you can use your iPad and Pencil with full versions of software such as Photoshop or Illustrator.
4. Do you have any pencil tips or hacks?
Customizing your quick gestures in Procreate is a must, it means with one tap you can quickly switch between tools, undo, re-do, add a layer etc. It makes working much quicker, and means you don’t have to keep going to the tools in the top right. I’m all about finding shortcuts that allow me to work faster and more seamlessly.
I’ve also read about people adding matte screen protectors to their iPad Pro’s to add a bit more friction to the screen, making the Pencil feel a bit more like traditional pen on paper sketching, I’d quite like to try this out.
Follow more of my sketching adventures over on Instagram.