The iPad is the new sketchbook

I have been drawing all my life. For many years with ink and paper. Also used Wacom tablets from as far as 1995. So both were familiar for me. But after much back and forth, I treat now the iPad more as my sketchbook.

Luis Mendo


Drawing or mark making on paper has something unmistakably magic. Those used to it think that pixels will never be able to replicate that magic. I argue that it’s not about replicating or replacing paper. It’s about thinking of the screen as just another tool.

My iPad Pro 11 inch, protected by a smart keyboard folio, which I customized with two leather pieces glued on it.

The tool choice won’t make you draw better

First things first. Whatever your choice of medium is, first you have to learn to draw. Doesn’t matter what you use to do it. So many people think there are shortcuts to art making but I am afraid there are not. Many (online) classes promise to make you a illustrator in a few hours or a movie director in a day. Stop believing this, there are no shortcuts in making art. Of course it’s good to learn basics from those who know better than you, but the only way to learn drawing is by practicing. A LOT.

And the same goes for tools. Don’t expect someone to tell you what THE right tool is for drawing. They are just things, and the important things are not things. You can make masterpieces with the best and most expensive oil watercolours in the world or just use a toothpick dipped in ink like Quentin Blake. The tool will affect the result, but not in the way we often think.
My dad was a car mechanic and he often complained he didn’t have the money to buy a specific tool that would be so useful for doing this or that. The few times I went to help him in the garage I learned so much from the ingenious ways he invented to elevate a motor or fasten a certain bolt by just using the simple means he could afford. I am glad he didn’t have the money to buy the expensive tool or now I wouldn't have learned to do with what I have at all times.