How to draw a portrait with Apple Pencil

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Are you drawn to draw with your new Apple Pencil 2?
Are you drawn to draw with your new Apple Pencil 2?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Got a new Apple Pencil? Once the initial novelty wears off, you might find that it spends most of its time magnetically clipped to the side of your iPad Pro or, worse, stuck in the back of a drawer. After all, there are only so many PDFs to annotate and screenshots to mark up.

Which is a great shame, because what your Apple Pencil really wants to do is create art. You only appreciate the true joy of owning one when you draw with it. So, why not follow this handy how-to guide and start sketching lifelike portraits of friends and family? It’s a really fun hobby.

As Kate Winslet once said in Titantic, “Draw me like one of your French girls.”

General-purpose computers are terrible for creativity [Opinion]

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Computers are great for lots of things, but not everything.
Computers are great for lots of things, but not everything.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Computers — the iPad, the Mac and anything else where a screen is the main form of interaction — are creativity killers. They distract, frustrate and get in the way of the flow that is essential to any creative work.

That’s not to say they don’t play an important part in art, music, photography or writing. It’s just that a lot of the time, there are much better tools for the job — and they’re getting more popular all the time.

How to learn to draw with the iPad Pro

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The new Apple Pencil is much nicer than the old one.
Drawing skills let you create in any medium.
Photo: Andrea Nepori

Today’s how-to is a little different. I won’t be recommending special apps for learning how to draw, or even AR apps that help you trace pictures onto real paper. Instead, I’m going to give you a few tips that will help you draw what you see in front of you, whether you’re using a pencil and paper, brush and canvas, or iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

But first, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that you already know how to draw — you just need to learn how to look. The bad news is that the only way to improve is to practice. A lot. There’s no shortcut. You just have to do a lot of drawing.

New line of free Apple seminars will make your brain bulge

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Today at Apple
Apples Stores will sell you the iPads and Apple Pencils. "Today at Apple" will show how to use them.
Photo: Apple

More than 60 new sessions to teach Apple users how to get the most creatively from their apps and devices will be added to the “Today at Apple” program, the company announced in New York today.

Held at Apple Stores around the world, the sessions offer primers on essential hardware and software in the Apple ecosystem. Each workshop is headed by local creative professionals teaching coding, digital drawing, photography, video and making music.

Adobe’s Project Gemini enhances iPad drawing and painting

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Project Gemini
Project Gemini aims to perfect the mobile drawing and painting experience.
Photo: Adobe

Adobe is developing new drawing and painting software for illustrators with a next-generation program called Project Gemini.

The announcement came with a pun – “we went back to the drawing board” – but artists likely received the words with relief as opposed to an eye roll.

Pro Tip: Instant Markup gets way better in iOS 12

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This is how it feels to use iOS 12's new Markup tools
This is how it feels to use iOS 12's new Markup tools
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bug iOS 12 doesn’t really have any huge new standout features. It’s more a collection of really solid improvements to iOS 11. It sounds odd to say that my favorite new feature is Do Not Disturb during Bedtime, but it’s made a big difference in how I use my iPhone.

Likewise with today’s Pro Tip. iOS markup for screenshots, PDFs and Photos was already good, but new options for the pen tools make it great.

The best Apple Pencil apps that aren’t for drawing

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apple-pencil-jar
Don't leave your Apple Pencil in the jar.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You have a new iPad, and you have a new Apple Pencil. Time to learn how to draw, right? Not necessarily. Just like a regular pen or pencil, there are ton of other things you can do with an Apple Pencil. You can write, of course, but you can also play games, compose musical scores, do coloring in books, edit photos, and even play the Apple Pencil like a musical instrument.

Let’s take a look at the best non-drawing apps for Apple Pencil.

How to replace a paper notebook with your iPad

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lock screen notes
The iPad might finally be better than paper.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPad has replaced many things — it’s a TV, it’s a games console, it’s a book, it’s a (huge) camera, and it’s even a typewriter. But until recently, it hasn’t made a very good alternative to paper. But thanks to the Apple Pencil, and to iOS 11, that has changed. Now you can write and draw a note without even unlocking your iPad, and you can search for anything you write, just as if it were text. Let’s check out lock-screen notes.

How to add sketches and diagrams to emails in iOS 11

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Drawing
If you misspell your markups, you can even go back and edit them before sending.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel / Cult of Mac

If you’re explaining something to another human in person, you’ll often reach for a pencil and paper to make it easier. Perhaps you’re drawing a map, or a quick diagram of that chest of drawers you think would look great in the guest room.

And that’s in person, where gestures and feedback from the listener help communication. Given the limits of email, then, wouldn’t a sketch, chart, or diagram be even more useful? The answer is a resounding “probably,” and the best news you’ll hear today is that it is dead easy to add a drawing to your emails, even without an Apple pencil, and even on an iPhone.