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Painting Tutorials

How-to watercolor and sketching tutorials demonstrating tips, tricks and techniques used in the Procreate app, using Apple Pencil and iPad Pro. Also, thoughts about life and architecture in NYC and the Berkshires, MA

The Answer to "What Size IPad Pro Should I Get?" The Biggest and Fastest, Period

(Note: This post originally appeared as a reply to a viewer comment on my Youtube tutorial channel)

I watched the Apple Event at BAM on October 30, 2018 and I literally paused the video after the iPad segment, opened a new tab in Chrome and bought the 256GB 12” iPad Pro, new pencil, keyboard case, and 30W charger on the spot. Some would say I fan-boyed hard. But you know what? Back in the day, if you were an astronaut, you wouldn't skimp on the Space Shuttle, would you? This new iPad Pro in its most powerful configuration allows me to make my living, so I'm all in on anything that makes it faster, more fun and more worry-free (i.e. maximum storage). As just one example of how the top of the line product fulfills this promise, think: layers.

If you work in Photoshop or Procreate, you know the layer thing can totally be a challenge. I have maxed it out in Procreate many times, for the same reasons you may have: because I wanted to have 300 dpi rez at 11" x 17", etc. When you set up that paper size at the beginning of a piece, 11 x 17 @300 dpi (aka 5400 pixels x 3300 pixels) only gives you about 50 layers, and I have gone through that many layers just thinking about what to draw (not, really--but seems like it). That means if I'm doing a complicated piece, I have to use serious layer management techniques: all the things I hate to do when I'm trying to move fast, e.g. 1) label each layer (for easier finding and management later) ...2) COMBINE some layers (ugh, this one is always a crapshoot) to save space...3) just plain think about what has to remain adjustable on its own vs what is pretty certain to be OK the way it is all the way through to the end.

It’s a fundamental truth that the faster you work, the more layers you use, because you can just intuitively work and not worry about labelling or managing # of layers or file size. But once I settle down, take a deep breath, I try to get into it like a game of chess (which I suck at) and retro-actively manage the layers until I have a tight understanding of what I did, what can be combined vs what must continue to be adjustable on its own. There's also a trick some people do where they use a snapshot of the maxed-out drawing they have as a base drawing for a new drawing, starting the new drawing with the base dwg as Layer 1, then work from there.

Bottom line? Layer management and drawing file size are manageable (for some very conscientious people), but sometimes you need to put technical limits completely out of mind and just draw…fast. With my work, that is more or less every job 24/7/365. And the best hardware for that is the one where speed and storage capacity is state of the art. So if you, like me, have to support yourself with your iPad Pro, buy the biggest, fastest one you can—even if you can’t afford it. It will pay for itself.