Learning Art on iPad vs Pencil and Paper – 30 Advantages of Each!

If you’re considering learning how to draw or paint you’going to have to choose a medium to start with. You may choose to learn art skills on an iPad with a drawing app like ProCreate. Or, you could use a pencil and paper and paintbrushes and paints on paper or canvas – up to you!

Are there any advantages that one method has over the other? Actually, we came up with 30 advantages of each of them! Let’s see what we came up with!

30 Advantages of Learning Art with iPad and ProCreate

We chose to start learning on the iPad and ProCreate because it seemed so easy and to be honest, so fun. The drawing experience on Apple iPads has evolved and is quite extraordinary with the latest iPad Pros.

  1. Portability – Having an Apple iPad is like carrying a whole art studio in one sleek device. Super convenient, especially if you’re on the go. Both the 11″ and 12.9″ are lightweight and durable.
  2. Instant Access – Got a creative spark? Grab your iPad and start drawing immediately. No need to set up easels, palettes, or canvases. Opening your sketchbook and drawing with a pencil is faster, but in a few more seconds you could have the full resources of the iPad with Procreate!
  3. Variety of Tools – You’ve got access to hundreds of brushes, pens, pencils, and even textures like watercolor all at your fingertips.
  4. Undo Button – Make a mistake? Just undo it. This feature alone can be a lifesaver. You can undo 250 times. Remember, if you go back to gallery during a drawing, you’ll lose the ability to undo. It resets!
  5. Zoom In and Out – Detailed work becomes so much easier when you can get up close and personal with your art. This is incredible because you can zoom in a few 100% and work on details, then when you zoom out it looks fantastic. Very professional.
  6. Layers – Ah, the magic of layers. It allows you to work on different elements separately and brings a whole new dimension to your work. Adjusting layers as you get further into your drawing is really handy and can give your artwork an entirely different look and feel.
  7. Wide Range of Colors – An almost infinite color palette is just a tap away. No need to mix paints to get the color you want. You can save exact colors in your pallete. You can change opacity of brush strokes by exact percentage. It can all be very exact.
  8. Cost-Efficiency – Think about all the supplies you won’t have to buy. Pencils, pens, charcoals, brushes, paper, canvas, easels, it all costs money. Learning to draw and paint with a painting app on an iPad can save you a lot of cash in the long run.
  9. Eco-Friendly – No wasting paper, no messy paint tubes, and no toxic fumes and annoying odors from solvents, paints, inks, clear coats, etc.!
  10. Digital Storage – Store countless pieces of art without needing physical space. When your iPad fills up, send it to Cloud Storage like Google’s Drive.
  11. Easy Sharing – Want feedback or just eager to show off? Send your art to anyone, anywhere, in seconds.
  12. Tutorials and Apps – There are countless resources available online to help you up your art game. You may find that Procreate isn’t right for you. There are many to choose from.
  13. Stylus Compatibility – Using a stylus like the Apple Pencil 1, 2, or 3 can mimic the feel of drawing with traditional tools. Now you can preview the brush size and shape with the Apple Pencil 2, this helps a lot as you plan a stroke.
  14. Time-Lapse Recording – Many apps have this feature, which lets you record your process. Great for learning and for creating cool videos. Better than the app is the iPad screen record video that also records sound in high quality. You can make great How To videos with this.
  15. Adjustable Opacity – Get that perfect blend by adjusting the transparency of your brush strokes.
  16. Grids and Guides – Need a little help with proportions or layout? Turn on a grid or guide.
  17. Custom Brushes – Create your own or download brushes that suit your drawing style and needs. This feature is fantastic and can really extend your range of art on the iPad. I made a custom fish scale brush that helped save me a lot of time! Read about the 12 Best Line Art Brushes.
  18. Screen Recording – Capture your drawing process in real-time, great for creating tutorials or just to review your technique.
  19. No Drying Time – No need to wait for paint or ink to dry when you finish. Not only that, you can instantly paint right over heavy strokes you did seconds ago. No mess. Your work is instantly ready to go.
  20. Precision – The ability to be super exact with your lines and details is a big win. Procreae helps you straighten lines and form more perfect shapes quickly.
  21. Transform Tool – Resizing, rotating, or moving elements is a breeze. You can also remove layers anytime, so you can use a layer to draw the basic form of your subject, paint it precisely, then remove the first layer to make it perfect. It’s SO good.
  22. Instant Backups – Cloud storage ensures you’ll never lose your precious creations.
  23. Multi-Tasking – Reference images or tutorials can be open side by side with your drawing app.
  24. Accessibility – It’s easier for people who might find traditional art supplies physically challenging to use. You can also draw and paint in a dark room with an iPad, no light needed!
  25. Professional Quality – The resolution and capabilities are often strong enough for professional-grade work. Many pros are using iPad 12.9″ Pros for their work flow.
  26. Direct to Print – Ready to print your artwork? Some apps even allow you to set up your work in print-ready formats. Digital files allow you to sell your work online and instantly transfer an item to anywhere in the world where they can print it or use it digitally.
  27. Instant Filters – Add different moods or artistic styles at the tap of a button.
  28. Text Integration – Easily add and stylize text within your art. Import fonts to increase your options.
  29. Gesture Controls – Use intuitive touch gestures for easy navigation and control over your workspace.
  30. Endless Canvas – Some apps offer an “infinite canvas,” allowing you to draw without worrying about running out of space.

Learn How To Draw with iPad: 10 Exercises | Make Logos | Draw Fish | Is Drawing on iPad Easier?

I’m sure you’ll find some of these reasons to use the iPad and Procreate compelling. Why would you ever learn on paper and pencil, right? Hold on there! You’ll be surprised that there is also a case for using traditional art methods over the latest iPad electronic wizardry! Read these!

30 Advantages of Learning Art with Paper/Pencil and Paintbrushes, Paint, and Canvas

Paper and pencil figure drawing of a man stretching in a traditional yoga pose.
There’s something about the tactile experience of drawing with pencil on paper – isn’t there?

Traditional art mediums like pencil, paper, and paint have their own unique charm and benefits. Here are 30 reasons why they’re still fantastic choices for learning the art of drawing and painting.

  1. Tactile Experience – The feel of a pencil on paper or a brush on canvas is just irreplaceable. It’s a more sensory-rich experience. This is a major reason artists who learned on traditional formats are not interested in moving to iPad art.
  2. No Tech Distractions – No notifications, no social media. Just you and your art, totally in the moment. There’s something minimalistic about using traditional art techniques to create your pieces.
  3. Better for Eye Health – Extended screen time can be tough on your eyes. Working on paper gives them a break. If you do use the iPad, crank down the brightness and remove some bluelight with the built-in app. It changes the colors you’re seeing a bit, but you’ll get used to it.
  4. Natural Light Interaction – Traditional art interacts with natural light in a way that digital art just can’t replicate.
  5. No Battery Required – No need to worry about charging; your tools are always ready to go.
  6. Material Texture – The grain of the paper or the weave of the canvas can add another layer to your work. Note – for me, as a digital artist, this is an imperfection of the medium that I never miss.
  7. Skill Fundamentals – Learning on traditional mediums helps you build fundamental skills that are easily transferable to digital platforms. It doesn’t matter which one you learn first, but when you learn with traditional art methods first, you have an advantage in that it’s easier to switch over to digital. Going from digital art to traditional is quite difficult.
  8. Mixed Media Potential – You can easily combine pencils, inks, paints, and more in one piece.
  9. Customizable Surfaces – You can paint or draw on practically anything: wood, fabric, different types of paper, etc.
  10. Physical Presence – A physical piece of art has a presence and a texture that’s appealing in a very primal way.
  11. Archival Quality – With the right materials, your artwork can last for generations. Though we could say this about digital art as well, the programs and file formats are constantly changing. You’ll need to transfer (recode) all of your work every so often over the course of your life. Will .JPGs or .Tiff files be viable in 150 years? Hard to say! Your traditional paintings could be!
  12. Hand-Eye Coordination – Traditional tools can offer better real-world hand-eye coordination practice.
  13. No Learning Curve Like there Is for Software – Just pick up and go; no need to learn a new app or software.
  14. Original Artwork – In the traditional medium, each piece is unique, not a digital file that can be replicated infinitely.
  15. Artistic Rituals – The process of setting up your workspace can be a meditative ritual that helps you get into the creative zone.
  16. Easier to Resell – Original pieces often have a higher market value compared to digital prints. This is less the case now when digital files that can be printed to billboard sized images can be sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Digital paintings can be designated originals through the magic of blockchain too. Read about NFTs.
  17. Spontaneity – Happy accidents, like an unexpected brush stroke, can add magic to your work.
  18. Instant Showcasing – Hang it up right away; no need for printing or digital display.
  19. Palette Mixing – Physically mixing paints can lead to more organic and surprising color combinations.
  20. Sharpen Observation Skills – Traditional art often forces you to observe the world more keenly as you try to match colors or style. With Procreate you can instantly copy any color exactly, whether from your work
  21. Improves Problem-Solving – You can’t hit undo, so you learn to adapt and problem-solve on the fly.
  22. Accessible – It’s often easier to find pencils and paper than specialized digital equipment, especially in remote areas or if you’re on a budget.
  23. Better for Large Formats – Some artwork just demands a big canvas, and going big is often easier and more impactful with traditional mediums.
  24. Gift-Friendly – Giving someone a physical piece of art has that personal touch that’s hard to replicate with digital art.
  25. Teaches Patience – The time it takes for paint to dry or for a drawing to come together can be a good exercise in patience and focus.
  26. Teaches Respect for Materials – Traditional art teaches you to value each piece of paper, each drop of paint.
  27. Technique Visibility – Brushstrokes and pencil marks add a textural dimension that showcases your technique.
  28. Community Workshops – Traditional art often has more accessible local workshops, art classes, and community events.
  29. In-the-Moment Editing – Adjustments must be made in the moment, which can lead to a more cohesive artistic process.
  30. Emotional Connection – Many artists feel a deeper emotional connection to their physical works as opposed to digital creations. This may be true mostly for artists who didn’t start with iPad art.

I hope you find some of these reasons compelling. The iPad really opens up a whole new world for artists, whether you’re just doodling or going full-on pro.

I would love to hear what you think!

[Featured Image (top) modified from Unsplsh – 3R3sNikjVnA. Pencil/paper drawing – XYK2oHVKuJA]

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