How to Start Hand Lettering with the iPad Pro

how to start hand lettering with the ipad pro

I hope this little post helps anyone considering investing in the iPad Pro (specifically for hand lettering). I want to share what I learned during my research, everything from which size you should get, what apps you should download and what accessories I recommend. Basically, everything you need to start hand lettering with the iPad Pro. If you’ve been lettering for a while, check it out at your local apple store and you’ll quickly see why it’s a game changer!

I can’t help but notice all these amazing illustrations on Instagram that were done on the iPad Pro. I don’t know why it took me this long to take notice and consider trying it out for myself. I decided to make the leap after watching many youtube and Instagram videos, the hard part was choosing a size (first world problems). After leaving a lot of comments on Instagram photos asking how they liked the smaller or larger iPad, I still had a tough time deciding. Of course it’s great to have more space when drawing so the 12.9″ iPad Pro would make sense for creative people, however I just picture bringing that thing on a plane and taking up the whole seat tray and everyone having a view at what you’re watching or doing. I’m also one of those people who like smaller electronics, I would pick the iPhone SE over the iPhone 6S any day. I used to play around with my Adonit stylus on my old iPad and it was fine so I don’t think the smaller size makes it difficult to draw.

I ended up buying both iPads to try out and then returned the one I didn’t want. I got the smaller one first and had that for a day and LOVED it, I got the bigger one in the mail the next day and loved that one too. I gravitated towards the smaller one on a daily basis but it did feel tiny compared to it’s larger sibling. In the end you can create what you need to on both tablets, one requires zooming a little more here and there. I’m not used to sketching on an A4 sketchbook, but if you are that’s something to consider as well.

How to Start Hand Lettering with the iPad Pro:

There are a few iPad Pro reviews I watched on Youtube that really helped:

iPad Pro 12.9 vs 9.7 Apple Pencil Drawing Comparison – This guy is a pretty awesome artist, and does way more complicated work than I do for sure. He basically says it’s nice to work on the larger one but you can work easily on the smaller one as well and it’s way more portable, he just doesn’t ever grab the larger iPad to take on the go.

iPad Pro Review | Apple Pencil For Designers. – This is a good overview about the product from the perspective of a designer.

iPad Pro & Apple Pencil Hand Lettering Review – This is a review that specifically touches on lettering and how the iPad Pro and Apple pencil can help with that process.


Tutorials on how to use the iPad Pro specifically for lettering:

Intro to iPad Lettering – I watched this one first, I really like the style of how Teela teaches – it’s really easy to understand and really helpful.

iPad Lettering: The Ultimate Guide – This one is good for a couple little things that aren’t in the other one, also it introduces another cool app, Amaziograph.

iPad Pro Hacks for Calligraphers, Illustrators, and Hand Letterers – This one was great for tips and tricks on using your new iPad.


Awesome lettering apps on the iPad Pro:

Procreate – This seems to be the go-to app for a lot of hand letterers and artists and there are good reasons why. It sort of feels like photoshop, it has layers and lots of adjustments etc. It has a lot of brushes and works really well with the Apple Pencil. This is definitely my favourite so far.

Adobe Sketch – This is another good one but slightly more limited than Procreate however it has some cool watercolor effects, if you check out the skillshare tutorials I linked above you will learn a little bit about this.

Apple Notes – If you watched the iPad size review on youtube you’ll see this artist use Notes a lot, I think this one gives a good ‘real’ pencil look and feel.

Paper – I used to use this one on my old iPad and it’s pretty good as well, it does have less brushes and you can’t import high resolution photos but it’s still a nice one to have.

Astropad – This app will turn your ipad into more of a wacom style device you can use it to draw within Photoshop or another program on your computer.

iFont Maker – This one is a lot of fun, you can create a font from your own hand writing really fast however I don’t think it allows pen pressure but it does have the bezier tool.

Graphic – Great for vector illustrations

Animation Desk Cloud – Great for Animations!

Autodesk Sketchbook – Another great sketching app


Keeping your iPad safe:

So, which iPad did I get? I got the small one! haha.. still wasn’t sure it was the right decision when I was walking back to Best Buy. It’s been a week since I returned the larger one and I’m still happy with my decision. I love that it’s small enough to take with me every where I go!  Naturally, I spent a week deciding which accessories I should get to keep it safe. I like minimal bulk, something that does more than one thing. I bought the cover buddy which is a hard shell that fits on the back of your iPad Pro but also has a spot for the pencil to slide in. If you don’t like the part that hold the pencil, you can also take that off and replace it with a flat piece of plastic. I also bought a matte screen protector for a couple reasons, to protect the screen from scratches but also it’s supposed to make it feel more like paper when you draw. I already own a zip-around case from my old iPad which I’ll use until I get a smart cover.

Want to know what apps I have on my iPad? Watch below!


  • Sandie gossman says:

    What is the product you use to make pencil less slippery from amazon

    • Sandie gossman says:

      Found product

  • Jacki says:

    I’m planning on buying a 10.5” iPad Pro for handlettering, but I’m stuck on what amount of storage to get! What works for you? I will use it mainly for work (I don’t plan on downloading movies, etc, but want plenty of space to store artwork…) The price difference is substantial, so I want to make sure the larger storage capacity is worth it if I go in that direction…

    Thank you so much!

  • elvispresley says:

    Hey Jacki! I wish I had the 10.5″, I wanted something in between but it wasn’t available yet! I bought the largest storage and have barely used any of it. I did want it for movies and stuff too.. so honestly I think you’d be find with the smaller storage. BUT, I’m the kind of person that has the smaller storage iphones.. so I’m pretty good about not wasting space 🙂

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