Just over a week ago I started expecting myself to execute and post a digital drawing or painting every day, using the iPad or my more-capable graphics tablet, a 12-inch Wacom Cintiq. Both offer a direct-display drawing experience. The Cintiq is a more capable tool because it offers gradations of pressure sensitivity and the stylus also delivers information about velocity, tilt, and other factors that comprise the range of data making up a drawing stroke.

However, it is cumbersome and tied to a CPU, in this case a speedy Mac OS X laptop. The iPad, of course, is itself a standalone device.

I have been surprised at the capabilities of the iPad, and how quickly and effectively I have been able to gain and expand my control of marking using the device, considering that there is no actual gradated pressure sensitivity. In general I have been using stylii to craft the images, but in the case of at least one app (Brushes, I think) I noticed that using fingers instantly expands the marking vocabulary (there seems to be some sort of velocity-based interpretive algorith that more effectively creates a varable width mark).

I’m going to press on here, I think. The ease of setup and execution on the iPad really makes it remarkable for this – it’s clearly easier and faster for me to draw on the iPad than in an actual notebook with a pen or pencil, simply because I don’t even have to dig around for the right tool or eraser.

However, of the initial series of drawings, there is one which clearly stands out: the Bacon banjo-neck sketch. This drawing is unquestionably superior in visual impact, fluency, and acuity of observation and execution, as sketchy as it is. The image was entirely created on the Cintiq. I don’t think this is an accident. I look to establish and experiemnt with an iPad-to-Cintiq workflow on an appropriate subject shortly.

Hopeful internet trawling reveals absolutely no trace of Apple looking to license Wacom’s technologies and no clear indication that Apple intends to introduce induction-optional touchscreens, which makes sense in many ways. However, I cannot imagine that Wacom does not see the iPad as a profound threat and I very much look forward to the introduction of a standalone device with all the input capabilities of Wacom’s product line.