Do you or your teenaged child use an iPad or other tablet for art?

(29 Posts)
ShowOfHands Thu 28-Oct-21 10:49:30

DD is a v keen and quite talented artist, currently doing art GCSE but planning to continue with art as a career or a serious side hobby. She likes digital art and we bought a basic Lenovo, second hand art tablet for her birthday a couple of years ago and it's been used to death. She says she really would like something with more capability and compatible with better programmes, plus faster. Her art teacher has an iPad and Apple pencil apparently and DD has been using them at school. She is willing to use her own money and we (us, grandparents, aunts, uncles) could contribute for Christmas but we're really not made of money.

I've never owned an Apple product in my life and a cursory Google of iPads is utterly baffling. They range from a couple of hundred quid to over a grand. And then we'd need a stylus and she's mentioned a Procreate subscription?

What do other people use or recommend? I don't know if it's really in reach for us financially.

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GoingForAWalk Mon 01-Nov-21 08:53:53

I love the encouragement your DD is getting.

Whether it becomes a full time job or hobby it's lovely she has space and support.

Maybe when she does work experience they may lend her equipment or at least advise on the best cheapest products or pass her items they've replaced that are still fit for purpose.

ShowOfHands Sat 30-Oct-21 11:37:02

DD is being encouraged to do all sorts of art by her teacher. We are v lucky because her teacher has been mentoring her a little bit and does give her a bit of extra time, plus materials. DD is lucky to have an art studio (sounds grand but our house had a rubbish summer house in the garden and we did it up, insulated it and her teacher helped us kit it out with stuff she needed to learn new skills) and she's already filled her portfolio with all sorts and is currently learning to sculpt and doing some dressmaking. She is only half a term into her GCSE and is loving it.

I'm an okay artist with a pencil or a biro and I'm amazed my how much better dd's efforts are with the materials she has. Even her pencils are impressive. They should be. She saves a long time for them!

Thank you for the recommendations for refurbished sellers. That is the likely route we will go.

And Pumpkin, I'll be in touch!

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DaisyDozyDee Sat 30-Oct-21 10:42:57

Procreate is a one off app purchase price - I think we paid £9.99. There’s no ongoing subscription charge.

KittenKong Sat 30-Oct-21 10:40:02

DS uses one. I used to use one waaaaay back (talking last century!) for work - and I had a play with his apple pen and quite liked it - but it felt like colouring in.

I’m still old school and like paper and pencils though.

There’s a lad on YouTube who does some great drawings. I’ll have a think and see if I can’t remember his name.

If she wants to go to art school she should look to try out a variety of arts (and even crafts) to add to her portfolio.

RockinHorseShit Sat 30-Oct-21 10:35:45

I use the Procreate App with an Apple Pencil

mrsfeatherbottom Sat 30-Oct-21 10:26:44

DD has a basic iPad (they have to have one for school) and we bought her a Logitech pencil (cheaper than the Apple one and gets excellent reviews) and Procreate. Procreate is excellent and not expensive.


PumpkinSpiceGirl Sat 30-Oct-21 10:20:31

Creative Cloud is an Adobe subscription package which includes pretty much all the software a professional designer/illustrator would use. It used to be that you bought them individually on disc but those days are long gone so a subscription is pretty much the only way. The 3 main programmes are Illustrator (drawing), Photoshop (editing) and InDesign (page layout) but there’s tons of other programmes and extra stuff included like free fonts, stock photos, Portfolio so you can create your own website - it’s actually pretty good value for money.

It costs around £50 a month but the student edition is much cheaper and no different to the full one - about £20 I think and you can usually get offers especially if you tell them you are leaving (once signed up obviously).
When you buy a subscription it’s licenced for any 2 machines and these can be iPads, laptops, desktops or whatever. Not sure if 1 can be a PC or if that would be a separate subscription but the Adobe live chat is very helpful.

Your daughter is likely to find these programmes used in any studio environment and when I’ve had work experience students it’s been a real advantage that they were familiar with the software - even if they didn’t know how to do loads it was just great they knew their way around it. Mind you kids that age are generally far more instinctive with tech than i would have been as they’ve grown up with it.

I’ve never used Procreate although I’ve heard good things about it and know a lot of illustrators love it.

Feel free to shout with any more questions, it makes me happy to share a bit of what I’ve learnt and I love seeing new talent coming into the industry 😊

LizLemonsGlasses Sat 30-Oct-21 10:08:41

Agree you don't need a Pro - or even a brand new iPad. DD1 got a refurbished iPad Air 3 for a reasonable price for her birthday in August, plus a new 1st gen pencil and I think she must have used it every single day since then. Procreate seems fantastic and the app is not too expensive either.

Check out reliable sites which sell refurbished older models - there are plenty that are compatible with the 1st gen pencil and will be more than capable of doing what she needs it to do. I use Backmarket and have had some great 2nd hand tech from them so far - I believe musicmagpie is quite good too. There's always a range of models in varying conditions, you're bound to find something to suit your budget.

ShowOfHands Sat 30-Oct-21 09:59:15

Thank you everybody. I'm really glad I asked. This is the first time I've ever even considered tech as a Christmas present. We've had years of colouring pencils - pretty fancy ones as the years have gone on tbh! - and hundreds of sketch pads but DD has developed a real love of digital art and animation and her art teacher says we should nurture it if we can.

@PumpkinSpiceGirl can you tell me a bit about Creative Cloud? DD has obviously has ProCreate recommended by her teacher but I actually know nothing. She's got work experience with a graphic artist and designer next year so that will help! She just needs a set up which will allow her to develop.

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SpringSparrow Sat 30-Oct-21 09:55:58

You need to be careful to check that the Apple Pencil would work on a older iPad. Also I would recommend taking out the apple insurance. I was unlucky with my iPad Pro. My first one developed a fault in the screen and was replaced under the apple protection. The replacement died two months after the insurance expired, so was just over two years old. They would only offer me a discount on the same version of iPad Pro which was still a cost of £600. My old iPad is still going strong but I’m not sure that it works with the ipencil.

GoingForAWalk Sat 30-Oct-21 09:54:09

You might have to pay monthly for the Digital Art Apps so bear that in mind OP. It might be better to wait till she can get a student discount which might not be till Uni but possibly for A Levels. Definitely for Uni.

FourEyesGood Sat 30-Oct-21 09:47:36


I think a basic iPad and a 1st generation pencil are the only viable options. I'm going to some Actual Shops today to ask for some advice now that I know what I actually want and can't be bamboozled by the tech.

Thank you!

This is what my DD has. She uses Adobe apps to draw and ‘paint’ on it, and the stuff she produces is really great. I don’t think you need the really expensive stuff (the basic stuff is expensive enough anyway!).

PumpkinSpiceGirl Sat 30-Oct-21 09:47:26

I’ve been a graphic designer for over 30 years and have used Apple products all my life. It’s VERY easy to get sucked into thinking you need the latest and best versions of everything. An iPad Pro and Apple Pencil 2 would be amazing but that’s out of budget even for a lot of professionals - including me! I’ve got an iPad Air and Apple Pencil 1 plus a Creative Cloud subscription, works fine for me.

Ideally you do need to go down the Apple route though, it’s still industry standard and although some companies are switching over to PC your daughter will definitely need to be familiar with the OS etc.

PlatinumBrunette Sat 30-Oct-21 09:40:48

DD recently got a new ‘bog standard’ iPad (9th generation according to Apple) and a pencil - I’m assuming a 1st gen pencil due to cost. With procreate she’s getting some incredible results. You don’t need a Pro.

Emmelina Sat 30-Oct-21 09:22:53

How about a Microsoft surface pro with a pen? I’m not sure how they’ll compare with the iPad Pro price-wise.

ShowOfHands Sat 30-Oct-21 09:14:56

I think a basic iPad and a 1st generation pencil are the only viable options. I'm going to some Actual Shops today to ask for some advice now that I know what I actually want and can't be bamboozled by the tech.

Thank you!

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FedUpAtHomeTroels Thu 28-Oct-21 21:08:34

My Dd uses her touchscreen google chrome that I got her for her school work and a Digital pen. The art is lovely if I say so myself.

ShittyGlitter Thu 28-Oct-21 20:36:35

Oh my goodness she does not need an iPad Pro! People working in the industry don’t necessarily have them.

OP the tablet and software won’t really matter if she’s keen to improve her digital drawing skills. Buying a pro won’t mean she’ll be producing better work than she could with a cheaper option.

I think the best place to start is to think of what your budget is and go from there.

If she is serious about this as a career then it would be smart to start learning the software used by professionals. The experience she can offer by being proficient in this software would be valuable for employment as well as being able to produce quality work.

nancy75 Thu 28-Oct-21 20:16:28


Sadly I don't think we can afford an iPad pro even if we all club together. Does the pro have benefits for art that she wouldn't get with a more basic model?

I got my dd one from sky mobile, it’s £19 a month (it’s either pro or air, can’t remember) it’s the same type of contract as a mobile phone.

CallmeIT Thu 28-Oct-21 20:13:14

My DC uses an older iPad (6th gen) with the 1st gen pencil and pro create quite happily.

ShowOfHands Thu 28-Oct-21 20:07:12

Sadly I don't think we can afford an iPad pro even if we all club together. Does the pro have benefits for art that she wouldn't get with a more basic model?

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AngusThermopyle Thu 28-Oct-21 15:10:11

I have the ipad pro and pencil, I do all my business artwork on it. I'd be lost without it.

Afonavon Thu 28-Oct-21 15:02:51

We have an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil & Procreate combo here which got our boy through his Illustration degree (got a 1st!). He still uses it daily for his art work.
Best investment ever for a young artist.

RaelImperialAerosolKid Thu 28-Oct-21 14:53:24

My son - alevel has an older iPad and uses his fingers - works quite well. We bought him a drawing pad but it's linked to the main computer so not good for 'sketching'

ShowOfHands Thu 28-Oct-21 14:53:18

Thank you. This is really helpful.

It's a minefield and all reviews I can find seem to contain affiliate links.

I'll have a look at the pro and a 2nd gen pencil in particular and see if I can make sense of it.

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