How to Make Drawing and Painting on an iPad More Comfortable

Improve Your iPad Art Experience with These Ergonomic Solutions

We’ve all been there: Hunched over our iPads, stylus tapping away, determined to create the next masterpiece. Yet our necks cramp, our spines curl, and our wrists strain. 😖

The reality is, drawing and painting on an iPad can be seriously uncomfortable. It’s a two-dimensional surface in a 3D world. Our bodies have to contort and adapt to interact with its flat, confined (gorgeously sleek) surface.

This can result in several posture-wrecking habits like:

  • Drooping your head down to your chest
  • Holding your wrist at an awkward angle
  • Resting your head in your hand

Nobody wants to end up like Quasimodo just because they enjoyed using Procreate.

But there is hope! There are many great options out there to help make the experience more comfortable and ergonomic. In this guide, we’ll share equipment that will revolutionize the way you draw and paint on your iPad.

Your back will thank you!

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iPad stands for artists

The first step is to make sure you’re raising your iPad up from a horizontal position. Native Apple accessories like the the Folio cover can help with this, but they fall short at supporting your hand/wrist or adjusting to more angles.

There’s a reason artists have been using easels for centuries – the slanted tilt makes it far more comfortable for your back and neck than stooping over a flat surface.

Here are our four favorite options:

sketchboard pro ipad holder for artists

Sketchboard Pro: A drawing board specifically designed for iPads, which provides a comfortable and stable surface for creating digital art.

The Sketchboard Pro works in either landscape or portrait mode and can even stand up like a tabletop easel.

There’s also a built in slots for the Apple pencil and enough room to rest your arm too.

twelve south sketching stand for ipad

Twelve South Compass Pro: An iPad stand that’s adjustable and portable with a special kickstand specifically for sketching.

Its tripod design allows you to use your iPad in both portrait and landscape orientation, and rubber-grips at the base ensure your device won’t slip.

artist ipad stand with clamp mount

Twelve South HoverBar Duo: Another option from Twelve South, the HoverBar Duo is the most versatile iPad stand out there. Its adjustable gooseneck design attaches to either a weighted base OR an included clamp.

This means you can raise the iPad from a tabletop up to 2ft in the air! The HoverBar Duo also works with any iPad model (or case).

ergonomic ipad drawing stand kit

Elevation Lab Draft Table for iPad: This three-piece kit comes with everything you need to transform an iPad into an ergonomic workstation.

The rigid steel base adjusts to four different angles and has a nonslip grip. An included wrist pad and Apple Pencil stand add comfort and convenience.

Stylus grips

While the Apple Pencil is truly a revolutionary artistic device, it’s also as slippery as a greased pig. If you haven’t yet dropped yours on the floor, we congratulate you on your Spider-Man skills.

While the latest generation added a beveled magnetic edge, the Apple Pencil is still a challenge to hold for extended periods without getting hand cramps. A simple silicone sleeve accessory is a great fix. They make it easier to grasp, prevent it from rolling away and add a layer of protection.

Fintie Silicone Grip: This grip holder works with both generations of Apple Pencil and offers a comfortable non-slip surface. It comes in seven colors, allowing you to personalize your pencil while improving your grip.

fintie apple pencil grip for artists

Tranesca Ergonomic Grip: Looks fun to squish, doesn’t it? This extra cushioned Apple Pencil grip would make even the chunkiest Wacom styluses jealous.

Highly ergonomic and easy to hold, the Tranesca grip is ideal for extended digital sketching sessions.

thick silicone grip for apple pencil

Ergonomic seating for iPad artists

Now that your iPad and stylus are optimized for comfortably creating digital art, there’s still the matter of… you. Your seating and posture play a crucial role in preventing discomfort and potential health issues while drawing on your iPad.

Here are some ergonomic seating options to consider:

ergonomic chair for digital artists

Herman Miller Aeron Chair: Widely regarded as one of the best ergonomic office chairs, the Aeron Chair is designed to support your body while promoting a healthy, neutral posture.

This chair is highly adjustable, featuring lumbar support, seat height, and tilt adjustments.

Steelcase Leap Chair: Another top-tier ergonomic chair, the Steelcase Leap features a unique “live back” system that mimics the natural shape of your spine. It also offers adjustable armrests, seat depth, and other options to adapt to your body type. It isn’t cheap, but neither is a chiropractor!

kneeling chair for artists

Varier Variable Balans Chair: Kneeling chairs like this have been around for a while and have a devoted following among back-pain sufferers. Its unique design promotes a forward tilt and open hip angle, which provides good posture while engaging your core muscles.

Keep in mind, this chair may take some time to get used to, but it can be a game-changer for some artists.

Create a comfortable drawing environment

While the right equipment and seating are essential for a comfortable iPad art experience, don’t forget the importance of your overall environment:

  • 💡 Lighting: Make sure your workspace has proper lighting to reduce eyestrain and glare. Natural light is best, but if that’s not possible, consider using a combination of task lighting and ambient lighting to create a well-lit space.
  • 🧹 Workspace organization: Keep your drawing area clean and clutter-free. This not only helps to maintain focus but also gives you the space to keep your tablet at a comfortable distance from your eyes.
  • Taking breaks: Remember to take regular breaks to rest your eyes and stretch your body. It’s recommended to follow the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.

In a nutshell, save your back, neck, and sanity by elevating your iPad with rad stands, getting a grip on that slippery stylus, and parking your artistic behind on an ergonomic throne.

Don’t forget to jazz up your creative cave with sweet lighting, a clutter-free zen zone, and give your eyes a break now and then.

Happy doodling!

© Efrain Malo

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