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iPad Air for Procreate, Drawing, and Artists in 2024

Iva Mikles
iPad Air for Procreate, Drawing, and Artists in 2024

Hey there!

In this post, I’ll try to help all artists considering the iPad Air as their new tablet for drawing and Procreate.

iPad Air has won the hearts of many artists, and it’s no wonder why. The newest, 5th generation of iPad Air has many excellent features that provide an amazing drawing experience in Procreate and other drawing apps.

So let’s find out if you should get iPad Air for Procreate and drawing!

💡 Click on my comparison post of iPad Air vs. iPad Pro if you are deciding between those two models.

💡 Click on my post and video about the best iPad for Procreate if you are looking for a comparison of the different iPads for drawing on Procreate – iPad Pro 12.9″, iPad Pro 11″, iPad Air 10.9″, iPad Mini, iPad 10, and iPad 9.

Current iPad Air for Drawing

Best Value Pick
Apple iPad Air 10.9″ (5th Gen)

Best value iPad for drawing and Procreate

M1 processor :: 10.9-inch liquid retina display for superior color, contrast, brightness :: Light & extremely strong :: Premium fit & finish :: Up to 10 hours battery life :: Early 2022 model :: Apple Pencil 2 compatible

Video: My Experience with iPad Air for Drawing and Procreate

💡 How many content and video tracks will you get with iPad Air 5 on Procreate Dreams? Find out in my post on Procreate Dreams Compatibility with iPads

💡 Planning to get an iPad for Procreate Dreams? Explore my newest post: Best iPad for Procreate Dreams

Drawing Experience on iPad Air

Photo: iPad Air has laminated screen which means natural drawing experience - ©Art Side of Life
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In case you are into tech specification, the iPad Air 5th generation has an amazing display improvement compared to the budget iPads for Procreate:

The True Tone Liquid Retina IPS Display with P3 wide color profile

This means, that with iPad Air, you are getting the following:

What is more, as you can see in the photo above, iPad Air’s display is fully laminated, and there is no gap between the Apple Pencil and your drawing. This means you will enjoy a fantastic drawing experience, almost like in your sketchbook.

The iPad Air also shines when it comes to design. Available in several colors, you can choose the one that best represents your personality. It’s not just a tool; it’s a style statement 😊.

Where this wonderful display falls short is that it’s missing Apple’s ProMotion technology. ProMotion is Apple’s branding for the display with 120Hz refresh rate. This just means that your strokes in Procreate and other drawing programs are much smoother and feel more natural.

iPad Air’s display “only” comes with the standard 60Hz refresh rate. As you can see in the image bellow, this means there will be this tiny lag, especially when you are making long and fast strokes.

Photo: iPad Air stroke lag because of the 60Hz refresh rate - ©Art Side of Life

I don’t think this is a biggie, but if you are thinking of getting the 256GB model whose price is close to how much the iPad Pro 11″ costs you may need to think twice which one to get.

iPad Air Screen Size Comparison

The iPad Air has a very portable 10.9″ screen size.

As you can see in the photos above, it’s something in between the A5 and A4 sketchbook.

It has a big enough Procreate canvas for you to unleash your creativity, but at the same time, you don’t have to worry about it being bulky.

It lives up to its name, being wonderfully light and portable.

Number of Procreate Layers on iPad Air

I wrote a separate post about the layer limits on Procreate, explaining what impacts the number of Procreate layers on your iPad, so you can check it out to understand what influences it.

Below is a table with the number of Procreate layers you will get with your iPad Air 5th generation.

Great news! This is the same amount of layers you will get with iPad Pro models (except the 1TB and 2TB models)!

That’s because iPad Air has 8GB RAM, which is the same as iPad Pro models with 128GB to 512GB of storage.

This should be more than sufficient for most artists, whether you’re sketching out ideas or finalizing a complex artwork.

Canvas sizeiPad Air 5th generation
Number of layers in Procreate
3000 x 3000px112
16″ x 16″ @300 DPI41
A4 @300DPI116
A3 @300DPI56
A2 @300DPI23
Table: Procreate Number of Layers on iPad Air 5th generation – Source: ©Art Side of Life

Storage Options on iPad Air

Photo: iPad Air with 256GB of storage - ©Art Side of Life

As you see in the table below, iPad Air only comes with 2 storage options.

iPad Air 5th generationRAM
Storage 64GB8GB RAM
Storage 256GB8GB RAM
Table: Storage and RAM options for iPad Air – Source: Apple.com

Before making a choice, consider how much storage you actually need based on your usage habits.

If you’re someone who doesn’t plan on storing too much on your iPad, or you’re diligent about frequently transferring files to an external drive, then the 64GB variant should serve you just fine. It will comfortably run Procreate and other drawing apps with ease.

However, if you plan to store larger art files or plan to download offline content—say from Netflix, YouTube, or Skillshare classes—the 256GB version may be the better choice for you.

I think it’s worth noting that the price difference between the 64GB and the 256GB variant of the iPad Air is about $150. So, it’s essential to weigh what matters most to you: increased storage capacity or a lighter hit on your wallet.

iPad Air Apple Pencil Compatibility

My Pick
Apple Pencil (2nd generation)

Second Generation Apple Pencil :: Best Drawing and Painting Experience :: Compatible with: iPad Pro 12.9-inch (6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd generation), iPad Pro 11-inch (4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st generation), iPad Air (5th and 4th generation) and iPad mini (6th generation)

This, besides the higher number of Procreate layers, is the most important reason why I have considered iPad Air as my drawing tablet.

The iPad Air is compatible with Apple Pencil Generation 2, an upgrade that appeals to those moving on from earlier models like the 9th or 10th generation iPads.

I used to draw with Apple Pencil 1 on my first iPad Pro 10.5″. Now I use Apple Pencil 2 with my iPad Pro 12.9″. And I must say, Apple Pencil 2 is a significant upgrade.

It’s not so much about the drawing experience, which for slight details, is almost identical with both Apple Pencil 1 and Apple Pencil 2. I think it’s more about how you charge it and store it.

Apple Pencil 2 magnetically attaches to your iPad Air, and it automatically pairs and charges with it.

Photo: Apple Pencil magentically attached and charging on the iPad Air - ©Art Side of Life

This means no more situations when your Apple Pencil is not charged so you can’t finish your artwork or that you lose it because it rolls from your table without you knowing.

iPad Air Price

I think iPad Air is the best value iPad that runs Procreate and uses Apple Pencil.

At the time of writing, the price of the iPad Air 5th gen with 64GB of storage space is ±$600 and goes up to ±$750 for the version with 256GB.

This is much higher compared to budget models: iPad 9 and iPad 10, however, the improvement in display and compatibility with Apple Pencil 2 make up for it in the drawing experience.

What is more, these are much better prices than the iPad Pro models.

Just with one caveat…

At $750 for the 256GB version, you are getting close to the price of the iPad Pro 11″ with 128GB, with which you are already getting the ProMotion display and M2 chip.

Who Should Get iPad Air 5th Generation for Drawing?

Mountain-train-window-view-tutorial-thumb-© Art Side of Life

👩🏻‍💻 Get my Procreate Classes:
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So, who do I think should get the iPad Air 5th generation?

The iPad Air 5th Generation, in my opinion, is the best value iPad for drawing and Procreate. It’s particularly suitable for beginners and hobbyists who want a better drawing experience thanks to its display and compatibility with Apple Pencil 2. And I think it’s also suitable for professional artists who are price-aware but still need almost as great drawing experience as the Pro models provide.

It’s an amazing iPad for Procreate that many of my artistic friends use.

iPad Air Drawing Accessories

When you get your own iPad Air for drawing and Procreate, also consider these helfpul accessories.

 
 
 
Description:

iPad Pro Case with Pencil Holder, Soft Flexible TPU Back Cover, Auto Sleep/Wake, and Multiple Viewing Stand Modes


Description:

Matte Screen Protector for Drawing, Writing, and Note-taking like on Paper

Description:

I recommend you get them if you use a matte Paperlike screen protector

Description:

iPad Pro Case with Pencil Holder, Soft Flexible TPU Back Cover, Auto Sleep/Wake, and Multiple Viewing Stand Modes


Description:

Matte Screen Protector for Drawing, Writing, and Note-taking like on Paper

Description:

I recommend you get them if you use a matte Paperlike screen protector

Happy drawing!

FAQs

Does Procreate work on iPad Air?

Yes, Procreate works on iPad Air, and you will be getting a pretty amazing drawing experience thanks to its laminated display, a high number of Procreate layers, and compatibility with Apple Pencil 2!

Is the iPad Air a good drawing tablet?

Yes, iPad Air is an amazing drawing tablet for its price! It comes with a laminated display, 8GB RAM, and compatibility with Apple Pencil 2. All of this makes it a worthy drawing tablet.

Which iPad Air is the best for drawing?

The best iPad Air for drawing is the 5th generation released in 2022.

Can you use the Apple Pencil on the iPad Air?

Yes, you can use Apple Pencil on the iPad Air. It’s compatible with Apple Pencil 2.

Iva

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am a full-time self-taught artist behind Art Side of Life® and a Top Teacher on Skillshare. I have 15 years of experience in the creative field as a concept designer, illustrator, art director, and now freelance artist, content creator, and art instructor. My goal is to help you get your creative groove on with Procreate and make awesome art through practical classes, tutorials, Procreate brushes, and guides on art tools, supplies and resources. About me »

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