I Got an iPad Pro – Now What? Starting on the iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil for Creatives

by Lisa Long, April 7, 2018

Starting on the iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil for Creatives: Okay, I have an iPad Pro, now what? I share with you my favorite hardware, apps, and people to follow!

This post and the photos within it contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a commission at no extra charge to you.

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You bought (or want to buy) an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil to do all those cool things you see plastered on social media, but you don’t know where to start and feel like it’s SO MUCH to learn in such a short amount of time! Well, have no fear! I am here to share my experiences around my first iPad Pro purchase and some resources I wish I knew about when I made my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil purchase. I want to feel confident you made the right choice for your needs and help you get started in your digital art journey.

In this post, I’ll reveal:

  1. What hardware I use with my iPad
  2. All the apps that I love to use
  3. Who to follow for amazing tutorials

Excited?! I am! I wish I had this all in one place when I first started out, for sure!


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I did some research before I dove in and bought my iPad Pro, but I honestly wish I would have gone to the store and held it in my hand, first. I decided on the Apple 10.5-Inch Wi-Fi iPad Pro and chose to up the storage to 256GB.  I’m glad I got more memory, but now that I have my iPad in my hands, I honestly wish I had more real estate in the form of screen size.  I really wish I would have dished out the extra money for the 12.9″ screen, but maybe one day I’ll make that purchase.  I do like how portable it is and is about the size of carrying a magazine when it’s in its case. I bought the Apple Pencil with the iPad, so that also factored into my price and how much I wanted to spend.

Now, there is the iPad 6th Generation that also supports the Apple Pencil and it’s about a few hundred dollars less! It just doesn’t have as much processing power as the iPad Pro, but totally worth a shot to try it out if you don’t want the hefty price tag.

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Let’s Talk Protection!

To protect my iPad, I purchased this case and bought the pen holder that wrapped around.  It was pretty annoying to unwrap the pencil every time I wanted to open the iPad case, and it would sometimes fall onto the floor when I was working on my iPad.  I did not like that the potential to lose my Apple Pencil was still there, so I ditched that case.  It didn’t have much in the way of protection, either. It did come with a keyboard, but I don’t use it that often since I have a MacBook Pro for work.

I ended up purchasing this case with a built-in holder and haven’t looked back.

A must-have for me is a matte screen protector! It not only helps protect the screen from scratches, it creates some friction for your Apple Pencil so it feels more like you’re writing on paper instead of slick glass. An added plus, it’s super easy to clean with a damp paper towel! I won’t ever go without a matte screen protector.

Extras!

I started off using a few extras on my pencil like a little grip for my fingers to better grip the pencil and a little rubber piece to keep the top cap from coming off or getting lost when charging, but I honestly put those all aside once I made the last case purchase because they became unnecessary.  The case provides a slot for the top of the pencil when it is charging, and it provides a slot for the charging attachment for the pencil.  You just pop them in and out.  No worries about losing them!  The case also comes with a cover and slots so you can stand your iPad up when you’re viewing a video or reading a recipe. Very handy and no extra pieces to keep up with besides your pencil and accessories!

So that’s it for my hardware. I leave the charger at home unless I’m going somewhere for long periods of time where I know I’ll need to charge.

Now, onto the software!


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Here are the programs that I immediately downloaded and use on a regular basis.

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Procreate – This is what I use the most for illustrations and lettering. It’s the app I’m on all the time. It’s such an amazing app and only costs $9.99.

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LumaFusion – This is a powerful video editing app that I use to create and edit all my videos. Much better than iMovie at making it all look so professional. Love this app. Totally worth the $19.99. “Check out the first truly professional video editor for iOS! LumaFusion by Luma Touch with multiple video and audio tracks, color correction, titles, audio mixing and multi-layer effects!”

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Pixelmator – Great app for lots of things, but I mostly use it for creating patterns and textures after I pull my artwork in from Procreate or a photograph.

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Over – Great app to create layouts, but I also love it for the fact that I can pull out text/fonts and put them into Procreate to manipulate and change. I have a great tutorial I’m working on for Skillshare to show you this and some more! So go follow me there to see when I post it!

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iDraw/Graphic –  This is a great app for vector art on the iPad! Nic Squirrel has a great Skillshare tutorial on this app!

Skillshare App – This is the best place to find high quality tutorials by real people who teach what they know! And they have an app so you can watch them anywhere you get service!


Apps that are fun to have but I don’t use all the time:

iOrnament – This is a great for making patterns!

Amaziograph – I love this pattern app, too! So meditative.

Canva – This is a great for composing layouts for many social media outlets. Love their designs and fonts and everything! I use it to create the cover photos for my Skillshare classes.

Flow – I love this app for speeding up or slowing down videos at certain points inside the same video. So you can start it fast and end it slow or make it go fast in the middle, etc. It can also speed up a video up to 24x the normal speed, so I will sometimes use this to speed up videos super fast since Luma Fusion only goes up to 6x the normal speed.

Rotate & Flip – If you accidentally record a video in the wrong direction but don’t want to record it again – rotate it to the right angle with this app! It’s great! Especially when you’re recording a process that takes a long time like watercolors or something and you accidentally record it sideways! UGH!

IntroMate –  Now this app makes super cool intro videos for your channel or whatever! Or those snippets at the end to give a nice exit.

Denoise – In case you have some background noise in your videos that you want to take out, this is an okay app for that. It’s a little tricky to use as there’s not much in the way of explaining, so if you know of a better app, leave me a comment below and let me know what you use to take out background noise in your videos.

Plotaverse – This is a fun app to add action to your still photos. Love it. It’s kinda tricky to use, but it’s fun to play with.


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Here’s a great list of amazing tutorials and people to follow.

  1. Me – Duh! I have classes on Skillshare and will keep making more! Tell me what you want to learn. Follow me on Instagram, too!
  2. Abbie Nurse – Procreate Ninja – tutorials and brushes galore! She’s nothing short of amazing. She blows my mind! Follow her on Instagram!
  3. Nic Squirrell – I love her accent and she has some amazing tutorials. Follow her on Instagram.
  4. Brooke Glaser – OMG! I learned so much from her tutorial! Follow her on Instagram.
  5. Karin / iPadLettering – The mother of iPadLettering – lots of brushes and tutorials. Follow her on Instagram.
  6. Teela Cunningham – She’s on Skillshare, YouTube, and has her own website where you can find all her stuff in one place. Amazing resource and teacher. Follow her on Instagram.
  7. James Julier – Amazing artist on the iPad! I learned a lot from his tutorials.
  8. Cynlop Ink – Her lettering blows me away and she’s got some great brushes! Follow her on Instagram!
  9. Peggy Dean – She’s a great person and has amazing classes. Follow her on Instagram.
  10. Holly Pixels – Lots of great tutorials I learned a lot from! Follow her on Instagram.
  11. Rad & Happy – Lots of great stuff here! I use a lot of her brushes and she helped me a lot when I was getting started. Follow her on Instagram.

There’s actually so many more, but these are a great start and some of my personal favorites. Definitely check out the Procreate Forum for lots of information on tips and tricks, and there may even be some free brushes, swatches, backgrounds, etc. on there to download!


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Celebrate! You can now hit the ground running with your new iPad Pro & Apple Pencil Purchase into the land of lettering and drawing and feel confident you made the right choice and have some places to begin your unique journey into digital art!

If you have any questions or want to know more about anything I’ve mentioned (or haven’t mentioned), feel free to leave a comment, and I would love to get back to you! If you already have an iPad, do you have any favorite apps I didn’t list?

See you next time!

xoxo
Lisa

DIY Storage Shelf

by Lisa Long, September 15, 2017

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I decided needed something to hold my pottery in my garage so I could get my works-in-progress out of the way and make MORE pottery!  I scoured the internet looking for plans to build a shelf similar to the one I saw on Kristen Kieffer’s blog in her lovely studio. Let’s face it, she’s one of my favorite potters right now and is my inspiration for a lot of my work. I also love how clean she keeps her studio!

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I couldn’t find anything by way of plans, so I spent a couple days sketching it out while watching my son play hockey or play with friends.  Here’s what I sketched up:

Supply list:

  • 1-1/4″ wood screws
  • 2″ wood screws
  • 2-1/2″ corner L-braces (5 pairs)
  • 6 – 2×4’s @ 8 feet
  • 4 – 1×4’s @ 8 feet
  • 8 – 1×2’s @ 8 feet
  • 2 – 4’x8′ Sheets of 3/4″ plywood (I got the kind that was pre-sanded and smooth)

Tool list:

  • Mitre Saw
  • Table Saw or Circular Saw with a straight edge (or get Home Depot to make the cuts on the plywood for shelving)
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • Electric sander
  • Gloves
  • Ear Protection
  • Eye Protection

Cut List:

  • 6 – 2×4’s @ 78″ (originally I made the cuts at 78.5″ but it left too much wiggle room for the shelving)
  • 35 – 1×2’s @ 18″
  • 6 – 1×4’s @ 18″
  • 3 – 1×4’s @ 78-1/2″
  • 12 – 12″x36″ boards from the plywood (I chose 12″ to keep the weight down on the shelving when taking it on and off with pottery on top)
  • 6 – 16″x36″ boards from the plywood (you can really do any size you want up to 18″ deep for the shelves)

Price: $100-120

Total Time: 7-8 Hours

It took me 6 hours on a Saturday to build this entire thing with only one extra trip to Home Depot to get more screws and braces.

I had Home Depot cut the 2 sheets of plywood down into 6 shelves that were 16″x36″ and 12″x36″. I took those home and sanded the edges. I cut the rest of the wood at home, then I laid out the 2×4’s and the 1×4’s and 1×2’s to see how it would work.

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I attached a 1×4 to the tops and bottoms of each 2×4 pair to connect them together for the walls of my shelf. Then, I measured and measured and measured again to figure out how to make enough supports to fit all the shelves I had Home Depot cut for me. I placed them 8.5″ apart starting at 3.5″ above the bottom.  I measured each 2×4 and lined up the 1×2’s and pre-drilled each hole and screwed it in using one screw per 2×4. I did this twice, and on the middle wall, I did it on both sides.

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I laid them all on their sides, the two ends with supports facing in, and the middle one with supports on both sides.  I put the 16″ shelves at the bottom and top to space it out, but I had to go by my measurements.  I attached the 78″ 1×4 to the bottom first, and lined it up as best as I could.  I marked 36″ from one 2×4 to the other so I knew exactly where to line up my walls. I attached the top 1×4 the same way and then attached L-braces to the four bottom and top corners on the 2×4’s and 1×4’s. I lifted the shelf up right and attached the bottom 1×4 and L-braces on the inside corners. I then inserted all the shelves, biggest ones on the bottom, and I was done!

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After showing my shelf to the pottery world, I got some good advice to add a cross-brace to the back and attach it to the wall behind it.  I researched cross-braces and ended up using two 1×2’s I already had.  I used my mitre saw and a chisel to cut out middle sections on each one at a 15 degree angle. I marked the middle of each board and the middle of the back of the shelf and crossed them over at the middle so each end overlapped the side 2×4’s.

I traced the overlapping part of the two 1×2’s and cut about halfway down with my mitre saw across the space and flipped it to do the same to the other side. Then I placed them together over the back of the piece, pre-drilled some holes, and secured the ends and the middle with 2″ wood screws.

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After adding the cross-bar, this shelf was going nowhere. It felt super secure and looked stable. I’m so glad I shared my design! Yay for helpful people!

I also attached L braces on the top middle section and along the bottom middle sections just to add some extra strength to the corners.

The only thing I would do differently would be to make my large 1×4’s 78″ instead of 78.5″. The extra 1/2″ gave my shelving too much wiggle room, and on some, I had to double up on the 1×2’s to keep the shelves from accidentally slipping and falling down.