The iPad can be a phenomenal canvas. It’s portable, reliable, and compatible with tons of artistic apps. But for all its advantages, it’s still a handheld device with a small surface area. Too often, long drawing sessions end in body aches.
The solution to this, it turns out, is as simple as extending the work surface. Released in December by Utah indie game studio Braintreehouse, the Sketchboard Pro is a drafting stand with a magnetized opening to securely cradle an iPad. It provides a generous flat surface around and flush with the screen, providing space to gently rest your hand as you work. Whether you’re seated at a table or slouched in bed, you can extend its legs and draw at a pleasant, 20-degree incline in either in landscape or portrait mode.
Compatible with more than 36 iPad models, the Sketchboard Pro features a port to accommodate charging cables so you can use it for hours. Our expert iPad illustrator rarely removes his device from its stand since he got one for weekly drawing classes. “You loosen up and concentrate on the drawing, and you don’t get tired from holding your iPad with one hand and the stylus with the other,” he says, adding that it’s sturdy and perfectly weighted. His one quibble: The legs aren’t adjustable, which makes it hard to avoid glare from an overhead light. But all in all, he reports, the simple design has been a game-changer. “I never thought I would want an easel for my iPad, but it really does free up your hands.”
Find more about art materials and inspiration in our ARTnews Recommends section.