Hands On With the Wacom Creative Stylus for the iPad

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The Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus, which retails for $99.95, comes with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity and palm-rejection technology. It pairs up with your iPad via Bluetooth 4.0. But who gives a damn about specs. The real question on my mind was: Can I really draw with this thing?

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s take a look inside the box, shall we?

What’s Inside

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wacom_creative_stylus_in_box

Wacom has a very Apple-esque approach to their packaging design. Inside the diminutive but stylish box, you’ll find the Wacom Creative stylus, one AAAA battery and two extra rubber nibs. Also included is a brief pamphlet (aka QuickStart guide) to get you up and running. Pretty straightforward.

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The stylus case, complete with the Wacom branding, is made of a sturdy plastic that doesn’t feel cheap. The top of the stylus unscrews, allowing you to insert the battery, which is placed with its positive terminal towards the stylus tip. With the battery properly inserted, you’ll see a small blinking blue light right above the rocker switch.

The Feel

The Wacom Creative stylus feels substantial in my hands, much like a standard Sharpie marker does. Most of the weight on the stylus is towards the base. Its contoured form makes it easy to grip and hold. There’s even a rocker switch on the side of the stylus, similar to Wacom’s traditional stylus devices. The tip of the device is firm, yet squishy when resting the tip on a surface.

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Testing

Pairing the Wacom stylus with my iPad Mini Retina was simple and straightforward. Simply activate “Bluetooth” on your iPad and your stylus should work. For my brief tests with the device, I used the Wacom Creative in conjunction with a drawing app called Procreate. The Wacom Creative did a solid job overall in keeping up with my mark making – whether it was cross hatching or drawing circles. For broad strokes it works well. For very short strokes and dots and dashes, response was a little uneven. (Zooming in on the canvas did help, though.)

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I’ve recorded a video that should provide better insight into how the device responds to my mark making.

Can I Use It?

The short of it is yes, it is possible. The Wacom Creative stylus, when coupled with pressure-sensitive aware apps like Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro or Procreate, gives you the ability to create lines that have varying line width. It feels very comfortable in my hands. With Procreate, the Wacom Creative stylus is about as good as it gets for drawing on the iPad.

Will it replace a Cintiq? No.

And for me, that response has to do with the inherent flaw of ALL iPads – they never really supported pressure sensitivity well in the first place. The bulbous tip on the Wacom Creative works well when making broad strokes. But, in my testing, I found it more difficult to create short, staccato like marks, which I’m prone to do within my own work.

To sum up, the Wacom Creative stylus won’t replace my existing desktop hardware, but then again, it wasn’t really meant to. Taken for what it can do, though, it’s now my go-to device for drawing on the iPad.

-Krishna

These beautiful and intelligent people wrote

  • hari
    January 11, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    iPads don’t support pressure sensitivity per se. It is the pen that is transmitting its pressure level via bluetooth to the application in question. That’s why Bluetooth 4 is required.

    That is why a dedicated screen that is pressure sensitive is superior to this technology. Also the reason why bluetooth 4 is required.

    • Krishna M. Sadasivam
      January 12, 2014 at 8:37 am

      A dedicated pressure sensitive tablet like a Wacom of Yiynova is ideal. I’ve heard that Samsung Galaxy tablets offer pressure sensitivity with Wacom styli.

  • John Williams
    October 3, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    I have just purchased for the very first time the small intuos pad and pen. I’m uncertain on whether I needed anything else other than the wireless connection which I have added. I will be working hopefully on my iMac but confused as to what else other than illustrator or photoshop programmes I will need to get going with. As you can see some input is required to totally get going – please some suggestions would help. Interestingly I had first considered the creative pen for iPad. After reading your comments I’m glad I didn’t take that route first. The instructions for getting started could have been more in depth for starters like myself. Other than support from someone I will have to plod on, sad. Kind regards John

    • Krishna
      October 3, 2014 at 4:26 pm

      hi John:

      Congrats on your new Intuos tablet and pen! I’m sure they’ll serve you for a long time.

      Regarding your questions:

      Wireless connectivity is nice, but not required. Photoshop and Illustrator are good starts. Are you interested in digital illustration? If so, I’d recommend Sketchbook Pro, Painter, or even Manga Studio. Sketchbook Pro might be a particularly good choice as it is focused primarily as a drawing tool – it’s not nearly as complex as Photoshop can be.