Putting the most popular tools and functions at your fingertips, PenPad hopes to make using the most popular iPad drawing/drawing app that much easier by simplifying navigation within the Procreate interface. Instead, just like how Numpad makes it easy to access numbers, the PenPad gives you access to 22 different functions you’re likely to use when drawing on Procreate, from increasing and decreasing brush size, accessing the color wheel, switching between brush and eraser, or just showing Color wheel or eyedropper tool. Being a compact hardware accessory means you can paint with one hand while intuitively pressing buttons with the other to speed up your workflow.
Designer: pen tips
Available in black and white variants, the PenPad connects via Bluetooth to your iPad and automatically starts working with the Procreate app right out of the box. The PenPad’s 22 concave buttons are designed in such a way as to make them easy to use, and pressing the buttons allows you to efficiently perform tasks such as viewing your layers, toggling the selection tool, cut, copy and paste tools, etc. . It works well, just like the Wireless Keyboard, which speeds up your workflow as your mind is focused on creating the user interface rather than navigating it.
What the PenPad really does is reduce the time it takes your eyes to wander and track your hand around Procreate’s user interface. More than 90% of the Procreate screen is a canvas, which means that other elements (buttons, menus, etc.) are laid out in such a way as to give the canvas the utmost importance. Drawing on the canvas is easy, but using other features involves diverting your attention away from the canvas to locate the appropriate toolbar, drop-down menu, etc. It only takes a second, sometimes up to 10 seconds, but it all adds up pretty quickly when you’re working with large files and multiple layers. To avoid this, PenPad puts common functions at your fingertips. This way, your dominant hand can draw on the screen, while your non-dominant hand rests on the PenPad, away from the touchscreen. Once your fingers get used to the PenPad’s layout, it gets much easier and faster!
The small wireless device comes in a format much like a calculator. It’s relatively flat, except for a bump on the top that causes the PenPad to rest on angled surfaces, a feature that actually helps make it more comfortable. The accessory is still fairly flat and fits perfectly in a backpack and tablet/laptop pocket when not in use.
The PenPad works seamlessly with iPads running iPadOS 14.4 and above, though it has some shortcomings. For starters, it doesn’t work with any other drawing apps – so you’re really limited to Procreate. It also does not work with Android tablets, as Procreate is not available for this operating system. The buttons aren’t reprogrammable either, so you can’t fully configure them to work on other software for your iPad or even your laptop. It is totally tied to one single device category app. Another user also pointed out that the PenPad lacks the three most common actions performed when digital drawing – pan, rotate, and zoom. To be able to do them, you need to take your hand off the PenPad and tap, click, and drag on your iPad’s touchscreen.
This doesn’t detract from the fact that PenPad is always speeding up your workflow. It is an absolute must for most digital artists who use the software for work (or even entertainment). The PenPad comes with a built-in 100mAh battery that gives it up to 5 days of battery life, but unfortunately it charges via MicroUSB (unlike the iPad Pro’s USB-C charging), so unfortunately you’ll have to carry an extra cable with you wherever you go. I went.