Like most creative types I know, I suffer from a debilitating problem where I’m rarely able to make it through a meeting without being able to describe an idea without having to draw some part of it. This historically meant that I carried a velum tablet and Sharpie everywhere and the desks of my designers are littered with these notes and sketches. Enter the iPad and my thought that I could evolve this process but I’ve really had a hard time finding a good sketching application and more importantly a stylus I actually like and can use on a regular basis.
Through course of my travels and speaking at various conferences I’ve been given a number of different stylus to try out and none have made it more than 24 hours before I gave them away to someone else because I didn’t like them. The latest was the Griffin Technology stylus which always seemed to get good reviews but when I got my hands on it I was really surprised to find it was really tiny. Think the stubby little pencil you used to use at miniature golf courses when you were a kid to keep score tiny. So it lasted less than a day before I got tired of feeling like I was drawing with a kids warn down crayon.
A solution to both of my problems can from someplace I didn’t expect but probably should have – Wacom. The same people that made the Intuos tablet I have been using to design with for years created an application and stylus that I really love and now use all the time. The Bamboo Stylus is shorter than a full sized pencil but it’s big enough that you can use it without it feeling undersized. When I started using the stylus it needed some time to get broken in. At first there would be about a one second pause before the stylus would be recognized by the iPad but the more I used it the better it got and now there is no delay at all when I draw with it.
The more important part of the solution is the Bamboo Paper iPad application which was created for sketching ideas with features like multiple colors and pen types, multiple types a lined and graph paper, undo / redo and the ability to easily email your sketches instead of so many other applications that more of a fine art focus. The one downside of the app is that you are only able to create one notebook which is kind of a pain as it would really be nice to be able to create multiple notebooks broken out by client, project, etc.