When I attended Macworld|iWorld last Thursday and Friday, the show floor was bustling with attendees. And in terms of bustle-per-square-foot, the busiest booth I saw probably belonged to Nomad Brush, which makes brushes that can be used for digital painting on the iPad and other tablets. The company provided me with one for review.
The only input device that the iPad was designed to be used with is the human finger, and designing a decent iPad-compatible stylus is tricky–most of them have blunt, squishy tips that don’t feel like a pen point. But with a brush, being blunt and squishy actually works–and the nicely-made Nomad Brush feels like a real art instrument.
It doesn’t feel exactly like one: For one thing, real brushes, dipped in paint, have a fluid feel that you don’t get when you’re dragging a dry brush over a tablet. And while a real brush is the most gloriously pressure-sensitive input device of them all, this one, like standard styluses, isn’t pressure-sensitive. But in art programs like ArtRage, SketchBook Pro, and Brushes, using Nomad Brush feels much more painterly than working with a garden-variety stylus.
I tried the $39 Nomad Compose, a model with a long brush on one end and a stubbier one on the other. The company makes other models, including the Nomad Play, a stubby version designed for kids. If you paint. draw, or doodle on an iPad, check them out.