Sunday, 11 March 2012

Stylus Line Up - some are gathering dust

1:Nomad Play, 2:Boxwave Stump, 3:Nomad Compose, 4:Alupen, 5:Cosmonaut, 6:Sock Stylus' 7:Groove, 8:Boxwave Dual, 9:Acase, 10:Pogo Sketch Pro
Today I was searching through my Bart Simpson pencil tin for a clutch pencil, and managed to pull out more that 15 styluses (that I bought with the intention of using them to draw on the iPad, although they also work with the iPhone too), many of which had been cast aside, destined to do nothing but gather dust and bits of pencil shavings. Here are ten of them and my thoughts on each, in no particular order......

1: Nomad Play - A light, chunky and attractive stylus, designed with children in mind. It's very comfortable to use and glides across the screen of the iPad with no drag. The brush tip is very responsive and lends itself to apps that mimic real media and a painterly approach. I have used this stylus in workshops with children and adults alike. It also feels good in the hand.
Try it with Artrage and Brushes.

2: Boxwave Short - A stumpy little guy, this mini stylus feels like an oil pastel or a stick of chalk in the hand. It's really small and has a handy end which plugs into the headphone socket of the iPad or iPhone, so in theory you can't lose it. I find it useful for quickly putting down lines and for loose sketching. Again, I have used this in educational workshops and kids like to use it. After a lot of use the tip starts to give slightly and becomes less responsive. It's also pretty uncomfortable to use for sustained periods of time.
Try it with Brushes and Sketchbook Pro.

3: Nomad Compose -  A beautifully designed dual-tipped stylus. It's pretty versatile and comes in 2 options, long haired or short haired brush. Each option is also supplied with the glide bevel tip which is my end of choice, as it offers precision whilst maintaining the drag-free fluidity of a brush when painting. It's light weight, feels good in the hand and is very comfortable to use.
Try it with Brushes and Adode Ideas

4: Alupen - This chunky stylus was a favorite of mine when I first got hold of it. It's a very attractive design, comes with it's own carry case, and more importantly glides across the screen with ease and comfort, making drawing a breeze. Unfortunately over time the tips (i have 2 of these) have become worn and less responsive.
Try with Brushes, Sketchbook Pro and Penultimate

5: Cosmonaut - My most recent stylus purchase (I have 4 of these now), the Cosmonaut is designed to feel and handle like a white board marker. It has an aluminum core and is encased in a soft comfortable rubber. I use it mainly as a drawing tool, for sketching and drawing in black and white. It handles like a chunky pencil and is comfortable to use over long periods of time.
Try it with Sketchshare and Sketchtime 

6: Conductive Sock - This is a sleek, light, quirky and comfortable drawing tool. It's very responsive and has the feel of a dip-pen to use. It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and is certainly worth checking out.
Try with Paintbook and Adobe Ideas

7, 8 & 9: Groove, Boxwave Dual and Acase I have clumped these 3 styluses together as they have a very similar design, and all use a rubber tip, which can also be found on the Griffin. As with the Alupen, when new these styluses work really well and are very responsive. Unfortunately over time the tips do wear out, become misshapen and less responsive. Out of the 3, I prefer the Boxwave Dual. It's slightly heavier (due to the ball point pen on the opposite end) and feels more substantial and comfortable to use.
Try with Penultimate and Adobe Ideas

10: Pogo Sketch Pro - A very comfortable stylus to draw with. It has a slightly spongy tip, which I find has a little too much 'give' for me when compared to the styluses with rubber tips. It feels good in the hand, but also feels like the tip will wear out any second. Slightly unnerving!
Try with Artrage and Brushes

Although I have all these styluses (and many more), I still find myself painting and drawing on the iPad using just my finger. Recently I have been working in the Sketchshare and Sketchtime apps using the Cosmonaut, and really have found it a joy to use. I also have a soft spot for the Nomad Compose, and love the way it glides across the screen. The majority of collaborative works that I have created with Jonathan Grauel for the Woven Narratives project have been made with the Nomad Compose.  


Anna Connor said...

Hey, I love this! What beautiful order - makes me feel all calm! :-D

stefan marjoram said...

Nice review - of those I have the alupen and boxwave. My favourite at the moment though is the dagi which has a clear plastic foot. Very responsive and because it's see-through you can see what you're doing.

Julia Kay said...

Thanks for the great summary.
I use my Nomad Compose but also find myself back to my finger most of the time.