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Tablet Artistry: Tools and Styluses Tested

iPad Stands and clips

 

Tablets are usually comfortable enough to hold, even if you’re drawing or painting for a while and there are plenty of iPad cases and stands that will give you a slight angle if you find that helpful. But if you’re serious about digital art there are some specific products that will put your tablet in the right place and position if you’re painting for a few hours. iPad clips designed for musicians are a great way to hold a tablet as if on an artist’s easel, at a good angle for painting comfortably; the iKlip microphone stand is around $40 and holds the iPad firmly in portrait or landscape view.

Joby’s Gorillamobile iPad tripod has articulated legs that can prop the tablet up or wrap around a post, pole or strut. Or you can just use a traditional easel; several of the artists we spoke to recommended the Richeson Italian Steel Easel (about $50 online) which holds an iPad just as well as it would a canvas; the ten pound weight of the steel means it’s stable even on a windy day outdoors (even more important with a pricey tablet clipped on).

If you want to paint outdoors or anywhere where you’re likely to stand up more than you sit down and you don’t want to use an easel or rely on keeping hold of the tablet for a long period of time – and it can get a little uncomfortable to keep your wrist bent at the right angle for a long time, something like the $50 HandStand rotating iPad case might suit you.

Like most closely-fitted cases it takes a few minutes to fit on, so you’ll probably leave it on permanently on, although if you swivel it to exactly the right position you can use the handhold as a stable base that lifts the screen to a good drawing angle. You sip your hand through an elasticated strap and grip the handhold for stability, then rotate the screen to the angle you want for painting. This is more secure than swiveling a tablet around in your hand all the time, but the case is a little heavy and the grip you adopt leaves your fingers in the same position for a long time. Although it does fit a range of hand sizes from small to chunky, if you don’t take care you might find your wrist aches after an hour of painting.