Tips for you

In my previous post I talked mostly about nothing. This week I may have something useful (perhaps) to talk about.

This is not an endorsement, nor a sponsored review. I’m going to talk about tips. Specifically I want to discuss “PEN.TIPS”. 

If you are a digital artist who uses an iPad you may know what I’m talking about. If not, this is what they are: silicon tips that fit on the tip of an Apple Pencil. That’s it, that’s what they are. 

Here’s a tip: when removing the tip peel it off instead of pulling (could damage the pencil), they stay on extremely well, they will never fall off. 

One more tip: when opening the box they come in don’t open it upside down. Those suckers are tiny and bounce.

Here is my experience with PEN.TIPS

Forty-Four days (44 drawings) ago I made the decision to “force” myself to learn how to draw/paint digitally on the iPad using an Apple Pencil. This is something I had been putting off for about three years. My goal is to do 100 drawings on the iPad – one per day.

One of the off-putting things about the Apple Pencil (which I will refer to as Pencil from now on) is that it’s like drawing on glass — very slippery. (har, har). 

I had seen ads for the PEN.TIPS numerous times on Instagram. A fellow artist had purchased a set and was happy with the results. With that recommendation I pried my dusty old credit card from my wallet and headed over to the ( ) web site. I chose the “Classic” set in blue.

The company is located in the Netherlands and ships internationally for free. The ordering process and follow up is exceptional. I’m in Canada and the tips arrived via snail mail when they said they would  — 2 weeks.

The tips come in a box of five. I grabbed one and immediately slid it onto the Pencil, perfect fit. I only had time for a quick test as Procreate had just sucked the life out of my iPad battery. I would give the tip a thorough test the next day.

First drawing with PEN.TIPS

I could hardly wait to get started and try every tool and technique I had just learned over the past 39 drawings. Hmm?

Here’s another tip about the tips: if you are a seasoned iPad artist immersed 100% in using the Pencil on a slick surface you may be in for a surprise — I was. 

It felt like drawing with a pencil eraser, kind of sticky (actually even stickier). This is not a criticism of the product though. Its purpose is to introduce a degree of friction which it does. In other words it takes some getting used to. 

My first attempt at using the tip was a flop. You see, I had become quite reasonably adept at using the pencil unsheathed and was able to lay down colour and marks quite quickly.

The PEN.TIPS did exactly what I had expected, they slowed my strokes down, and I had to press much harder (relatively) to get the same brush weight. 

Of course being the impatient person I am, instead of just doodling or sketching I had to try every tool and trick I had learned. This was a mistake, nothing worked the way I expected. I became completely bogged down with my drawing and was on the verge of a massive failure. 

Drawing #40 – Started with PEN.TIPS but panicked and almost completely redid the image with a naked Apple Pencil

I made the decision to remove the tip and complete the image with a naked Pencil. I would try again the next day.

The next day was drawing number 41, I took my time and the experience was much better. The PEN.TIPS (for me) still require some getting used to. 

Drawing #41 – Image completed start to finish using PEN.TIPS

Tip: there is a reason they give you 5 tips, they wear out. The first one lasted 4 paintings. 

Note: because of time constraints I wrote the draft for this post 2 days ago. Since then I have completed 3 digital paintings. Of the three only one was 100% done with the tip. The other two alternated between a naked pen and a tip. 


I wanted something that would make the Apple Pencil feel less slippery and slow down my strokes. It delivered on that promise. I don’t see myself using the tips all the time. For me the tips are most useful for slow and careful line work. They are too sticky and slow for blending or quick scratchy sketches.

If you are an artist with a light touch you will miss the sensitivity of the naked Apple Pencil.

The tips are simply another tool to use. It comes down to personal preference and how you work. 

There you go, that was my experience with the PEN.TIPS so far.

As always I have included the header image below for those that read via email.

Wild fire season in B.C. – mostly done with PEN.TIPS – I managed to wear the tip out.


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