The Sensu and iPad Painting
As much as I like pressure-sensitive styluses, none of them really feel like I expect. A paintbrush feels much different against a surface than a squishy rubber or flat teflon tip. The Sensu brush seemed like a good idea: a paintbrush with conductive bristles that can interact with my iPad. I really wanted to see whether the Sensu actually felt like painting, and whether the bristles worked as well at maintaining a connection with the tablet as the Pogo Connect and Jaja.
The good news for traditional artists is that painting with the Sensu feels very close to regular painting. The bristles glide over the screen smoothly, and in Procreate, you can even tap the brush against the screen for a realistic-feeling stamp. Even using the smudge tool, which I usually delegate to my thumb, feels like I'm spreading thinner over the painting to get nice soft blends.
What I found interesting about using the Sensu was using some of the non-pressure-sensitive tools in Procreate. There are many brushes that have “speed-sensitivity” that varies their size, shape, and/or opacity depending on how fast you make the stroke. Using the Sensu with these brushes was a fantastic experience, and honestly I didn't miss the pressure-sensitivity at all. I even adjusted a few of the other brushes to react to speed with great results.
I usually approach paintings in a much more planned and controlled way, but I was eager to dive in with the brush and see what it could do. I had the image in my head of some kind of deer-spirit running through a lush green forest, so I went with it. I chose my colors quickly, and tried to work as slowly as possible. I used Procreate in the video, but I also tried it with Artrage.
Artrage is an interesting app because it tries to truly emulate painting, right down to the thickness of the paint. The developers just added pressure sensitivity, which I haven't had a chance to try out yet. The Sensu felt the most natural with artrage, and there were even a few times I almost forgot I was using a tablet.
Price, Quality, Other Notes
The Sensu is $40, which is on the expensive side for a stylus. However, this also puts it at about half the price of the average pressure-sensitive styluses. This seems fitting since the Sensu isn't truly just a stylus, but a specialist tool meant for people who want the feeling of a brush when they create digital art. Frankly, considering how natural the Sensu feels, and the fact that you can always collapse the brush and just have a normal rubber stylus, the price is just right.
If you're an artist on a budget who wants a more natural and familiar feeling in your digital work, the Sensu is perfect for you. Even if you're an amateur like me, the Sensu can help you gain the confidence you need to take risks and expand your horizons artistically.