Is it Easier to Draw on iPad or Paper? | ArtDayJob

The question, ‘is it easier to draw on iPad versus paper’ is one that I never really considered. I just figured it’s going to be much easier to draw on the iPad. However, now that we have had an iPad for a year and the Apple Pencil I’ve come to the conclusion: it is easier to draw on paper with a pencil than on an iPad.

Much easier!

At least at first.

Why Is Drawing on Paper Easier?

Let’s look at a few reasons some artists consider drawing on paper with a pencil or pen easier than using an iPad and Procreate or other graphics programs.

Familiarity. Many artists have drawn with traditional tools like paper and pencils for years or decades, and they are more comfortable with these tools than with the newer digital technology the iPad and other tablets and electronics bring. It takes time to get used to the feel and functionality of a new tool and some artists may resist the change. Most artists resist change!

Tactile Feedback. Drawing on paper and pencil provides tactile feedback that is different from drawing on a digital tablet. The feeling of the pencil on paper, the resistance and texture of the surface, and the sound of the pencil scratching the paper can all be important sensory cues for an artist, and these are absent in digital drawing. Drawing is not just the creative part, but it’s the experience as well that is important to many artists.

Limitations. Digital drawing tools offer many advantages but they can also be overwhelming with their endless options and possibilities. I find this every time I open Procreate and try to do something new. I find so many new options that I just want to shut the program and go back to colored pencils or markers!

Many artists prefer the simplicity and limitations of traditional tools, which tends to help focus them on the basics of drawing and to avoid distractions.

One thing I also prefer is the feeling of a pencil, pen, or marker that only gives me a slight increase in size of graphite/ink on the page when I push down hard. With Procreate, almost all brushes are programmed to increase too much in size. I don’t like the idea of re-programming all the drawing tools in Procreate!

Personal Preference. Every artist decides what they enjoy most and what works for one artist may not work for another. Some artists simply enjoy the physical act of drawing on paper, and may not find the digital tools as satisfying.

Many artists also find digital tools like Procreate to be incredibly useful and versatile and prefer them because of this. I’ll cover that in a minute.

Paper and pencil drawings are easier because there is a little bit of resistance in the paper and pencil that your brain is used to from decades of using this medium. The iPad is just a little bit too slick and unforgiving and because it records every small stroke and change in pressure, it is just too sensitive at its default settings.

I’m sure there is a way to adjust the Apple iPad pencil pressure, stabilization, and the 15 other things you can adjust with it to make it comparable or as good as it is with pencil on paper. I just don’t have the patience to attempt to do it!

Somebody else has already done it, I’m sure! So I will search YouTube today to try to find tutorial videos for how to make drawing on the iPad in Procreate easier and more like the drawing experience of using a pencil on paper.

Pen on paper drawing of mountain. Simple and elegant. No iPad needed.
A simple pen and paper drawing can be easier and more fulfilling on paper than iPad.

Why Is the iPad SO MUCH BETTER to Use than Paper and Pencil?

The capabilities of an app like Procreate go so far beyond the paper that it’s like someone throwing rocks vs someone shooting a .50 caliber rifle. No wait, that’s a horrible comparison. It’s like someone using a calculator watch vs someone with an iPad Pro. That’s better, but you get the idea. It’s not just an entirely new level, it’s a new game. A new planet.

With a pencil and paper, you can do about 10 things with it for variation. You can change the angle the lead hits the paper for shading or for sharper lines. You can sharpen it with a razor. You can smear the shading to make it blend. You can push a little harder. You can choose a different color pencil. You can change the way you hold the pencil. You can use different papers.

Guess what? The iPad with Procreate has about 19,000 options you can apply in different combinations. I made up that number, but you get the idea. It’s so next level that it’s next world.

On the iPad, in Procreate you can change the size of the brush. The brush type and style. The shape of the brush. The pressure sensitivity of every brush. The stabilization. It can erase perfectly for you. No more rubber erasers. It can draw millions of colors. It can shade perfectly. It can…


It can do anything you can do with a drawing instrument. That’s why it’s one of the greatest tools ever made for artists.

Some artists.

Oh wait, I didn’t even mention the advanced features like LAYERS. You can draw on, color, shade, paint, or anything you choose in a different layer. It isn’t affected by other layers. It only overlaps and gives you the final product. You can edit each layer separately. It’s MAGIC.

Oh, hold on. You can also create your OWN BRUSHES. That’s right, you can make them up to do what you want and need them to do. Welcome to the 21st-century people. It’s crazy. It’s nutty.

It’s here for you if you want to take it.

What Reasons to Use Pencil and Paper Instead of iPad and Procreate?

Is there any reason to even use pencil and paper anymore?

Sure, there are lots of people who grew up with it and who won’t let go of the idea of sketching with a pencil on paper. It has become a way of life for people and some love the texture, feel, look, style, and process of drawing on paper.

We like it too. The look of a pencil and paper or pen on paper drawing is unique and brings back memories for those of us who spent years or decades drawing like that!

But there are only a couple of instances where we’d use it today. Nostalgic reasons mostly.

It’s just too easy to print really nice-looking art from the iPad these days. It’s too easy to make the drawing look perfect. Erasing mucks up the paper/pencil drawing.

The iPad Drawing Experience Brings Perfection

That’s it, really. Isn’t it? Drawing on the iPad vs paper and pencil or pen/paper drawings means you can now get things absolutely p-e-r-f-e-c-t because the tool is so much better and with so many more variables you can tweak.

Everyone wants perfection, right?

Well, no.

Art embodies variety and uniqueness. I can’t think of any artist that drew or painted perfectly. If we looked with a magnifying glass, we could see certain things that could be improved. The way the paint is absorbed into the paper, the slightly jagged line, or an unsmooth curve or straight line.

Perfect art can look odd to us. It’s certainly something we’re all getting used to as these new digital tools set a new standard for art using Procreate and other tablet drawing tools.

Is drawing on the iPad better than with paper and pencil?

Drawing on the iPad can be better for certain projects, but there are many people who prefer the result of paper and pencil drawings more. The tangible feeling of holding a unique paper/pencil drawing in your hand is something special that many people are not willing to give up. Printing your iPad creation on paper is not the same.

Should I learn to draw on a tablet or paper?

Ideally, you should learn to draw on both tablet and paper. The new tablet medium employing drawing apps like Procreate can help your drawing immensely if it’s the direction you want to go with your art. Paper drawings have a simplicity and a limited number of variables that is preferred by many artists. Learning to draw on both a tablet computer and paper will help round out your abilities as an artist and help you to appreciate both mediums.

Is drawing with Procreate easy to learn?

Drawing basic sketches and paintings with Procreate is easy to learn if you are patient and have some time to experiment. There are so many options to try that some artists are overwhelmed and return quickly to paper and pencil, paint on paper, pen on paper, and using other art media they are comfortable with. Drawing with a new tool like Procreate requires experimentation, time, and embracing the new technology!