These are my top picks of the best stylus pens and brushes for drawing and painting on the iPad
and other touch screen tablets. There is no shortage of choices when it comes to touch screen styli, but many of them are poor quality, or just not ideal for drawing, painting and other graphics editing tasks. The stylus options below are what I have found to the best choices for working with art and graphics apps
on a touch screen.
For more reviews and general information on choosing a stylus, see my Touch Screen Stylus Roundup.
For information about pressure-sensitive stylus pens for the iPad, see Before You Buy an Electronic Stylus, and my Smart Stylus Roundup.
The TruGlide Pro Precision stylus is fashioned after a regular pen-style stylus, but instead of a rubber tip, it features a soft, micro-fiber tip which glides effortlessly across the screen. In addition, the tip unscrews from the pen body, allowing you to attach alternate tips. LYNKTec has hit on a winning combination here with a microfiber tip stylus and a paintbrush option. The tapered paintbrush tip is made of a combination of highly conductive organic and synthetic fibers. When using the microfiber tip, a slight pressure is required for screen response. In contrast, the brush tip requires such a light touch that it feels as if you are not even touching the screen. The TruGlide Pro Stylus & Artist Paintbrush Tip Bundle includes the Pro Precision stylus in your choice of color, an artist paintbrush tip, and a metal carrying case.
© Nomad Brush, used with permission
Nomad Mini 2 is a compact rubber-tipped 2-in-1 stylus with a retractable paintbrush tip on one end and a rubber nib on the other. The stylus is 5 inches in length making it easily portable with built-in protection via the retractable brush end. The stylus has a comfortable weight and shape that feels good in the hand, and the brush tip is nicely tapered and responsive on the touch screen. The small rubber nib end is only 5.5 mm wide and unscrews from the handle if you need to replace it. The Nomad Mini 2 comes in black and chrome color options, and is a great choice if you want a 2-in-1 stylus that does not require swapping out parts, is easily portable, well-made and protected.
© Artist Hardware
The Sensu Brush is an artist's brush and stylus combined in a sleek, attractive package. The Sensu Brush consists of a rubber-tipped stylus on one end, and an authentic hair artist brush on the other end. A separate cap serves to protect the bristle end of the stylus, and lengthens the stylus when the brush is used. A comfort grip is integrated into the brush end of the stylus. The Sensu Brush is available in either chrome or matte black finish. With the combination of a standard stylus nib, a real-bristle artist brush, and protective cap, the designers of Sensu Brush have hit on a real winner here. Of all the brush-style styli I've tried to date, it's the best.
© NomadBrush LLC
Nomad Brush is modeled after a real paintbrush and creates an unrivaled experience working with art apps. After the success of the original Nomad Brush, a number of new models have been introduced to meet a variety of needs. The original Nomad mil Brush has a longer handle, which is perfect for a tablet device like the iPad, and is offered with either a long or short bristle tip. The Nomad Mini is a similar brush stylus with a shorter handle. The Nomad Compose is a dual-tip brush stylus with interchangeable, screw-on tips. You can choose a long brush or short brush version and both versions also include a glide bevel tip with very short beveled bristles. Nomad Play is a paintbrush stylus designed for kids. It comes in four colors with a fun design for each color. My current favorite is the Nomad FLeX, which offers interchangeable nibs, includes a protective carrying case, and comes in your choice of five stylish colors--cobalt blue, charcoal, pink, silver, and red.
Photo credit: © Thomas PR
The GoSmart Stylus offers a unique cross-hair tip which provides an unblocked view of the drawing point on your screen, for more precision. The stainless steel tip is coated with Teflon so it won't scratch your tablet's screen. Although I did experience an unpleasant squeaking noise with long strokes on my screen protector, I enjoyed the unimpeded view of the screen that this stylus provides. It comes in two styles--a pen shape and a rocket shape--and the strong rare-earth magnets embedded in the pen body allow it to attach to your iPad or Smart Cover. This would be a great stylus to use for detailed artistic work as well as note-taking and general use.
The Wacom Bamboo Stylus is attractive, well-built, and feels nice in the hand. It comes with a clip, and is offered in six color choices which perfectly match the iPad 2 Smart Cover. The tip of the Bamboo Stylus is a soft flexible rubber, and at 6mm wide, it is a bit smaller than other foam- and rubber-tipped stylus pens. The Wacom Bamboo Stylus doesn't offer anything special for working with larger screens and art applications, but it is a stylish and comfortable solid performer that works well for general use.
Here are some points to consider when choosing a touch screen stylus for your iPad or other tablet, along with the full round-up of stylus pens and brushes I have reviewed.
Updated: March 2014