The Apple Pencil is one of my favourite iPad accessories, even though I can't draw

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Try as I may, I’ve had to accept the fact that I’m bad at drawing.

Very bad.

And yet when Apple announced the Pencil accessory for the iPad Pro I instantly knew I had to have one.

It’s been over a year since I made my purchase, and while I’m still horrible at making stick figures, the Apple Pencil is still one of the best iPad accessories I own.

The Apple Pencil’s precision makes it an incredible tool for art creation — in fact, some people have put it in the same league as dedicated drawing tablets — but that precision can be used for other applications.

For me, someone who has embarked on a journey to scan, archive, and sort thousands of family photos, the Pencil is the ideal tool for retouching. When I started this project a few years ago, my workflow was pretty standard: I’d scan photos to my Mac, sort them into a folder, edit them in Pixelmator, and import them into iPhoto.

With the advent of the iPad and Apple’s cloud photo library, I’m able to edit and sort these photos in any way I like. Instead of sitting in front of a computer, I can quickly touch up a photo on a plane, or in my bed while music or a movie plays in the background.

The problem with this is I want my edits to be extremely precise. Some of these photos are over 50 years old, and they have accumulated minute imperfections.

A finger is the perfect tool for navigating any touchscreen device, but the Apple Pencil’s precision is unmatched when it comes to making small adjustments. I zoom in as far as I can to adjust nearly imperceptible discoloration, doing as little noticeable damage to the photo as I possibly can.

I’ve never run into a problem that the Apple Pencil couldn’t help me solve, even the tiniest discoloration typically takes a couple of attempts to fix. Its pressure sensitivity helps tremendously in those cases; I push down a little harder and I’m able to eliminate some problems with a single tap.

If you are an artist — who’s used to a drawing tablet, but wants to make the move to an iPad Pro — the Apple Pencil is a must-have accessory. But it’s a useful tool to have in your arsenal even if stick figures give you trouble; it might be just what you need to help turn a tedious project into an easier one.

Apple Pencil, $A122.50, available at Amazon

This article was originally published on 1/26/2017.

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