April 1, 2019

My iPad Lettering Setup




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I’m a lettering artist and full-time physician, coffee lover, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love.


My iPad

I purchased my  12.9” iPad Pro (128 GB storage) in March 2016 along with the Apple Pencil. We purchased the smaller 9.7” iPad Pro (64 GB storage) about 2 years later and I’ve compared the two and still prefer my larger 12.9” iPad Pro.

My opinion is that the extra screen real estate you gain with the 12.9” is totally worth it but they are both fantastic devices. Now, there is a new generation of iPads out that are compatible with the Apple Pencil. Full disclosure, I have not lettered on these yet and so I can’t give my opinion on them yet BUT I can tell you that I am so happy with my iPad Pro that I don’t plan to replace it in the near future.

Apple Pencil

This first accessory might be obvious to most of y’all but this is my #1 accessory. There are other styluses that are compatible with the iPad Pro but none of them match the sensitivity and accuracy of the Apple Pencil. With a $90 price tag, it’s not inexpensive but my thoughts are that if you spent the $$$$ on your iPad Pro, you should spend the $90 to complete the pair.

I wanted to use this opportunity to talk about the Apple Pencil Covers out there. Click here to check out the covers I recommend. I have fellow lettering friends who LOVE them. I love how pretty they look and you can find them in a  variety of colors and patterns. Some come with an attachment to hold the pencil cap so you can’t lose it (which I’ve totally done and it’s frustrating). That being said, I do not have a pencil cover. For some reason I just LOVE the look of the blank pencil and don’t find that I need the extra grip. I’ve linked my favorite covers below just in case you want to give them a try!

Matte screen cover

This. Is. A. Game changer. When I first got my iPad Pro and pulled it out to start lettering, I was SO sad. My pencil slid around on the screen and my lettering was so shaky compared to lettering with a brush and paper. The matte screen protector helps create a soft, slightly textured surface, just like my favorite lettering paper. Plus, it literally prevents fingerprints on the screen making it look so much cleaner. Best part, they are really inexpensive! Find my favorite matter screen covers over here.

Procreate App

The Procreate App is, hands down, my favorite app for lettering. There are some solid brushes built into the app for you to get started. I quickly became addicted to creating my own custom brushes that mimicked my favorite traditional brush pens and nibs. There are quite a few other talented designers who’ve made their brushes available for purchase as well on places like creativemarket.com and Etsy. My favorite brushes can be found in my brush kit here. I also don’t want you to miss out of the FREE brush I created for you. One last quick tip to get a brush to work better for you on your iPad and to decrease shakiness is to turn the Streamline function up to or close to 100%. You can find this function under the brush settings at the top right of your app then go to Stroke settings.

That’s it! What you think? See something missing from the list that I should check out? Let me know in the comments below!

The comments +

  1. Claudine says:

    Hi Sarah,
    Do you still use the Apple Pencil 1st generation.? In the videos it looks like the 2nd generation pencil.
    I’m looking to buy a second hand iPad Pro 12.9 2nd generation for just $700 and it uses the 1s generation apple pencil. Just wondering if I should try to find a newer generation iPad or is that one just fine?


    • Sarah McFarland says:

      Hi Claudine,

      Good question! I did update my iPad but haven’t done an updated blog article yet! I now have the 3rd gen iPad and 2nd gen pencil and am super happy. The deal you are getting sounds pretty good though! My iPad 1st gen lasted me 3 years and was in excellent condition. I sold it and the user is still using it! I think the one you have found is just fine as long as you trust the seller. There are plenty of people out there trying to scam with broken Apple products!

  2. Annette says:

    I found you by a person on Instagram and your work is amazing, I want to know if you give some kind of classes that I can do online. N how much of the cost. Thank you.

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