Pencil & Paper

sasha t solomon

Pencil & Paper Review

Pencil & Paper Review

20 Feb 2014

I was super excited when I first heard about Pencil. I love to draw but I always hate trying to get it to a digital form, and I hate the ancient tablet I have.

I somehow won an iPad Air at my company's Christmas Party, so I ended up getting Pencil for Christmas (that worked out surprisingly well).

First off, you can only use Paper with fairly new iPads. It worked out for me, but I can see how that could be a bummer for people who don't have the newest iPad (or don't have an iPad at all). Paper's free, though, so that's cool.


  • Pencil is hand cancelling. So, you can draw like you normally would on paper. You let your hand rest against your iPad and you don’t end up with a weird smudgy mess.

  • If you get all of the brushes, they’re pretty awesome. I personally love the watercolor brush and the pencil.

  • You can rewind Paper if you screw up. This is handy as I screw up a lot.

  • Paper lets you duplicate drawings and books, as well as move drawings and books around. I really like being able to duplicate a drawing (in case I want to use it as a base).

  • The color mixing is really awesome. You can choose multiple colors from the side color pots or choose more precisely from within the mixer. You can even save the color you mixed in the color pots area.

  • Pencil has an eraser on the other end. WHOA! It’s like a real pencil! The eraser makes pretty harsh lines (hella white, y’all), so beware.

  • I love the fact that I can recharge Pencil via USB. No weird proprietary cables here.


  • I find that the Pencil unpairs itself/loses it’s signal sometimes. This is SUPER irritating because you won’t realize that it’s happened, and now the hand-cancelling no longer works. HELLO SMUDGES.

  • Rewinding takes a while to get the hang of. I still have trouble trying to get Paper to do a rewind. Half of the time I end up drawing weird circles on my sketch because Paper isn’t recognizing that I’m trying to undo something.

  • If you don’t put your hand and Pencil on the screen at the SAME time, you might end up blurring instead of drawing with the Pencil. When using Pencil, you can blur with your fingers, but if it thinks the Pencil is your finger, well…you have a blurry mess when you wanted a clear line.

  • Sometimes, Paper has difficulty recognizing the zoom-out gesture (you know, the one where you want to exit out of your sketch). I frequently end up drawing lines on the sides of my sketch. This is irritating.


All in all, I’ve enjoyed using Pencil and Paper. Both are pretty simple to use and it’s a nice alternative to a specialized drawing tablet.