This week, I had a chance to review the Nomad Brush, a beautiful, handcrafted stylus designed for painting and sketching on the iPad.

The stylus feels and looks like an actual paintbrush, complete with a 5.5-inch wooden handle and a mix of natural and synthetic fibers selected for their conductive properties. When I first came across this demo video of the stylus last week, I was skeptical that the iPad‘s touchscreen surface would be able to pick up the stylus’s soft bristles, but I’m happy to report that the iPad easily responds to the touch. It allows for free-flowing brush strokes much like a real paintbrush, and an elegance of line I was previously unable to achieve using my fingers or a regular stylus.

Since we’ve only used the brush for a day, we can neither guarantee that it will work a year or even a month from now with heavy use, nor whether the bristles will hold their shape. (As a side note, we’re still looking for a way to keep those bristles intact while traveling; I plan to use my standard canvas brush holder in the meantime.) Given how much we plan to use the thing, we should have a pretty good idea of how it holds up by the time the brush goes on sale in early February.

The Nomad Brush was conceived by Don Lee, a 39-year-old architect based in New York. After 14 years as an architect, Lee decided to take a year-long break from his profession “to rejuvenate [his] creative side,” he explains.

As part of the rejuvenation process, Lee took up sketching on the iPad. “The finger is by far the most efficient way to navigate the iPad, but when it came to sketching, I just couldn’t get used to it,” Lee says. “As a problem solver by nature, I started to tinker and found a solution, and that’s how the Nomad Brush came about.”

At launch, only a black version with a 5.5-inch handle will be available for purchase, followed by a version with a white handle. In the future, Lee plans to create additional versions with varying brush head sizes and handle lengths. Pricing has not yet been disclosed, though given that each stylus is hand made, we expect it will be a bit pricier than the typical stylus.

In the meantime, check out our hands-on video below.


Video



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Finger painting on the iPhone and iPod has become something of a phenomenon, thanks to apps like Brushes [iTunes link] and SketchBook Pro [iTunes link], and the work of high-profile artists like David Kassan, the New Yorker‘s Jorge Colombo and David Hockney. In fact, Paris’s Pierre Berge-Yves St. Laurent Foundation is currently running an exhibition featuring Hockney’s iPad paintings until January 30.

But not everyone loves finger painting on the iPad. Like actual finger painting, it’s awkward and imprecise. Unfortunately, the current range of styluses for the iPad aren’t much help — instead of your finger, it feels like painting with a large, round eraser tip.

Which is why I was excited to discover the Nomad Brush, a new kind of stylus that more closely resembles a paintbrush. It’s made with a long handle and soft bristles, which the creator, Don Lee, assures interested parties is “incredibly responsive.”

While it doesn’t look like the brush will necessarily provide the precision myself and others are looking for, it could very well prove more intuitive for artists used to traditional tools.

We’ll have a full review when the stylus comes out in February. Check out the video above in the meantime.

[via Gizmodo]

More About: artists, design, ipad, ipad stylus, stylus

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