The right iPads for graphic design and illustration — 2022

Being a graphic artist is not easy at all, since it requires extensive training and also equipment that is not cheap at all. There are many people who wonder if with an iPad you can get to illustrate or is it cumbersome. In this article we are going to try to clarify which can be the best iPad for anyone interested in illustration.

Why choose an iPad for graphic design?

the doubt between choose between a graphics tablet or an iPad it is very common, although you will see that the Apple device has a lot of that. And it is that, anyone who is in the world of illustration surely has in mind the purchase of a graphic tablet because they have an exclusive function focused on helping the artist to capture a digital drawing offering a experience very similar to when drawing on paper in a classic way.

Precisely that last point is one that can perfectly tackle an iPad thanks to the Apple Pencil. In the end, everything is a matter of getting used to it and although we would be lying if we said that the experience of an iPad and a specialized graphics tablet in this sense is the same, the truth is that Apple is improving more and more in this field until it achieves thousands of artists use your tablet for this task.



One of the negative points that the iPad can have with the Apple Pencil is that applying pressure simply releases much more ink. In the case of graphics tablets, responds to more levels of pressure and offers a much more pen-like experience depending on the angle.

But what the iPad wins outright is that it is a team that gives you many other features for your daily life and even other tasks related to artistic activity. From having at your disposal hundreds of fully optimized applications to work on the device to more classic tablet tools such as an internet browser or the possibility of using mice and keyboards. To all this is added the portability that it offers for mobile jobs.

In short, you always have to assess case by case which is the product that can come better. And obviously try both, since with both the iPad and the graphics tablet you can make authentic works of art.

The App Store shines for its many options

Although the traditional thing in the Apple environment has been to resort to Macs for actions such as graphic design, for which they are still good equipment, the truth is that application developers have taken the company's tablets very seriously until now. point of offering professional applications fully optimized for them and with which to get the most out of it.

And it is that, in addition to choosing the iPad well as we will see in the following sections, we believe that having an application store like the one for the iPad is always a point in favor. There are many options, among which Adobe Illustrator Draw , which is the best positioned by professionals in this sector. Although of course it is not the only one and you will find options of all kinds, both paid and free.

App Store

The most recommended iPad for illustrators

There are many iPads that we find on the market and although in the end any of them can serve the purpose of graphic illustrators, we believe that there are three that shine above the rest. Below we will tell you what they are and what reasons lead them to be the ones indicated for this task, either because of their screen features, sizes or a potpourri of functionalities.

iPad Pro (11 and 12.9 inches)

The iPad Pro has many advantages over other devices, such as compatibility with the Second generation Apple Pencil . This pen has the advantage of allowing you to set a shortcut to access other tools such as an eraser with a single touch. This can be tremendously interesting to be more productive when making an illustration on the computer.

ipad pro 2021

iPad Pro (2021)

When it comes to the screen size of this model, you should know that it is available in 11 and 12.9 inches . Now, the large model may be the most suitable over the other for a reason and that is that in the latest generation (launched in April 2021), this large model incorporates a panel miniLED that, added to the 120 Hz which also has the 11, offers a unique and really pleasant visual experience when enjoying a wide color gamut which looks tremendously balanced and will help make the design task more efficient.

Also, the fact of having a larger diagonal offers the possibility of working more comfortably, although it is true that it can feel like a device that is too large in terms of mobility. It is not that it is difficult to carry or weighs too much, since it is not a drama either, but it is something to take into account and in which the 11-inch model does stand out especially as it is more compact. It must be said that although this mounts an IPS panel that is clearly inferior to its older brother, it is one of the best with this technology, so classifying it as a bad screen would be biased to say the least. In short, either of the two iPad Pro models, be it the 12.9-inch or the 11-inch, are two tools that will come in handy for all design professionals given the different options that it is capable of providing with such a combination. perfect that forms next to the Apple Pencil. If you are in doubt as to which size is more suitable for you, you simply have to think about how many times you are going to have to move with your iPad and, above all, if you really need a screen of certain dimensions to carry out your daily tasks or not. larger than 11 inches, then having to go to 12.9.

With respect to Apple Pencil , to say that in both iPad Pro models it fits perfectly magnetically on one of the sides, so it will always go with you and you will not have to store it separately with the risk of losing it. This is also the charging method it has, so while you are not using it, it will always be charging to give you up to 7 hours of autonomy for intensive use, even having an extra 30 minutes with a single 5-minute charge. This is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding points of this second generation of Apple Pencil, since first, you practically do not worry about the level of charge it will have, since normally it is always at 100% since when you stop using it it you place on the side of the iPad, and secondly, as we have mentioned, it gives you a really comfortable way to transport it together with the equipment

screen ipad pro 2021

Now if we talk about prices you should know that it is not exactly a cheap tablet. The 11-inch version officially departs from the €879 and the 12.9 of €1,199 . Therefore make yourself a model of a previous generation can be a good idea. You lose some features such as the miniLED screen, exclusive to the 12.9-inch 2021, but for practical purposes they have the same design and the performance of their chip is still excellent today. Both the 2018 and 2020 models can still be found in some stores, so it won't be a bad idea for you to take a look, especially for those users who are clear that they want to buy the 11-inch model, since with the 12.9 if more important features are lost, especially on the screen. However, each user has to assess what their needs are and the use they are going to make of this equipment and, based on this, find the option that best suits them.

iPad Air (10.9-inch)

If you don't want to spend a lot on the iPad Pro, you can choose to get the iPad Air, which is undoubtedly one of the most recommended devices today. Unlike other generations, in the latest model released (the 5th generation in 2022) you will be able to use the Second generation Apple Pencil that guarantees you the same experience as on the iPad Pro, but with significant money savings. In this way you will be able to make use of the different shortcuts that are ideal for any artist who wants to be productive during their illustration tasks.

iPad Air

This is an iPad that is also identical to the 11-inch 'Pro' As far as dimensions are concerned, the difference is a single camera on the back and slightly more pronounced bezels. Hence your screen is 10.9 inches . Screen that has technology IPS and that therefore it is also at a disadvantage with the 12.9-inch 'Pro' model and above without a 120 Hz refresh rate, although we must say that something similar happens to the small 'Pro' model, since the panel is of excellent quality. As for the 60 Hz that this iPad Air has, it is something that all users who require a demanding demand from a device like this, it is something that they can notice and that, on certain occasions, they can miss a higher refresh rate . However, we say the same thing again, everything will depend on the use and needs of each one.

At the performance level, this iPad also has plenty of power thanks to its M1 chip, which, yes, is the same one that its older brothers, the iPad Pro, also have, giving this iPad Air enormous power and performance at the height of the better, so if you are going to need to use very energy-demanding applications, with this model you will not have any problem carrying it out. It also includes identical functionalities regarding the Apple Pencil as we mentioned before, including both its charging characteristics and functions in the system.

ipad air

And, of course, with this iPad you can also access endless additional content offered by the operating system itself, making it an ideal tablet for your illustration task and a great companion for more routine actions such as consuming multimedia content, browsing Internet, consult social networks and even read a digital book. At the price level, part of the €679 , being considerably cheaper than those previously mentioned. And it is also available in various colors, which is not that it affects its use, but it is always interesting in order to have a much more personalized tablet.

iPad mini (8.3-inch)

We could say that the sixth generation iPad mini is the reduced version of the previous one, the Air. And it is that at the level of design It is identical, with a very good use of the front in which its IPS screen is the absolute protagonist. Your price of €549 base places it as the cheapest for this issue. It was officially released in September 2021, making it the most recent of the three in the end.

ipad mini 6 2021

It cannot be compared to the 'Pro' in hardware, as it is ultimately much more popular in orientation. However the chip A15 Bionic with which they count is not exactly short. If the A14 processor of the 'Air' already complies, you can imagine how well it performs. If we combine this with the wide range of applications available in iPadOS and the full compatibility with Apple Pencil 2 , a round device remains.

Of course, there is an obvious factor that you must have and that, for better or worse, is decisive. We refer to size . It is a tremendously compact tablet that, in addition to weighing almost nothing, can be held perfectly with one hand, can be taken out anywhere without hassle, transporting it is extremely comfortable and it even fits in some pockets. Although all this in the end can play against you.

ipad mini 6

If you do not meet the off-road user profile and this size is ideal to avoid discomfort, it could fall short. Its screen is of good quality, but considerably smaller than the rest of the options. Therefore, you should take it into account when making a purchase decision. If you think you are not comfortable with it, the 'Air' is still the best intermediate option. If you can ignore this fact, this 'mini' will be an excellent adventure companion that you can squeeze the most out of for many years.