« Competition: Win a Nomad Brush | Main | Teach Little Ones To Play Piano on the iPad »

Nomad Brush - Hands On Review and Video

Image provided by and Copyright of NomadBrush LLCYou've seen the Nomad Brush promo video, you've read about it, you're curious and you want one. But is it really any good? Read on to find out...

When we heard about an iPad stylus that was actually a paintbrush we were cynical and thought 'That can't possibly work'. So we asked Don Lee (Artist, Architect and Creator of the Nomad Brush) if we could try one for ourselves. 

Don graciously agreed and promptly sent a review unit flying over the Atlantic to us. After using it extensively for a few weeks now we wanted to let you know what to expect when you buy yours (although hold off on that purchase for a minute - more details later).

We have made a short video review which you can see below but first, we wanted to describe how it feels to use the Nomad Brush stylus and what we thought of it.

Short version - it's awesome, seriously awesome! - See our video for more.

Image provided by and Copyright of NomadBrush LLCLook and Feel

When you first hold the Nomad Brush it doesn't seem like a revolutionary input device. Its wood and bristles feel, well, like a paintbrush. But what was immediately apparent about the Nomad Brush is the quality of its construction.

In our hand it felt like a quality paintbrush and the bristles were soft with a very gentle, light brush as we tried it on the back of our hand. There were a couple of loose hairs on the brush, but this was an early production unit and we expected this. There was nothing about this brush that seemed much different from any other paintbrush.

It works!

So it was with a sense of trepidation and some cyncisim we fired up our first test app on our iPad, ArtRage, which seemed to be an obvious choice with its multiple textures and natural media 'paints' and this is when the first pleasant surprise hit us, the brush is responsive enough to act as an input device for the user interface. We expected to have to use our usual input device (our index finger) to navigate interface elements, but that wasn't necessary.

Having made our selections we started 'painting' with the Nomad Brush and the smile didn't leave our face from that moment on, in fact all the time we were using the Nomad was such a pleasure and at each change of paint type or tool our excitement increased as we discovered what this brush could do.

It didn't take our brains more than a moment to adjust to using this stylus as a brush. Obviously, it is not exactly like brushing paint onto a canvas but it felt completely natural to use a realistic brushing action and depending on the tool selected some real-world painting techniques are possible with this brush.

Image provided by and Copyright of NomadBrush LLC

We also found ourselves quite intuitively switching back to using our finger if needed, e.g. for particularly fiddly UI elements or to blend/smudge some areas and then immediately back to the Nomad Brush without giving it a second thought. It really feels that natural to use. 


Regarding the durability of this stylus, we cannot really say, only time will tell, but apart from losing a few hairs at the outset we have no reason to believe it will last any less time than other styli or for that matter, brushes.

The construction seems to be very good, as we have said and perhaps the only other thing to expect is some shortening of the hairs over time.

Other uses

Although the Nomad Brush has been designed for use as an artists tool, it is obviously still a stylus, so check out the video below to see our review and also how else it might be used.

Final thoughts

If you are in any way interested in creating art on the iPad we think you will love the Nomad Brush and appreciate the care and thought that has gone into making it. Used with any of the current raft of Art creation apps on the iPad, or any touchscreen device, the Nomad Brush will provide you with a unique and more realistic approach to your craft.

You can pick up the Nomad Brush for just $24.99 via the website and now that there is International shipping available you can get one wherever you happen to be in the world.

Your chance to Win a Nomad Brush

So we have told you why you need a Nomad Brush, but how about getting one for free? Enter our competition for your chance to win one of two Nomad Brushes.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (5)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (7)

Great review guys! I, too, felt that same excitement when I received my test brush from Don. The key really is zero resistance and holding it as you would a real paintbrush. The bristle's coverage spread is a good match for hitting the 5mm minimum diameter for registering a touch on the iPad's capacitive screen.

Now, let's hope Apple puts to use their patent for a pressure-sensitive stylus that was teased last year... ;)

February 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Talkowski

A great review of a really special product, your review echoes my own words and feelings towards the Nomad Brush in many ways.
I found it took me a little time to get used to the feel of the brush as I intuitively expected that little pressure would result in thin, low application of paint and vice versa but of course its purely digital. I think this highlights just how natural the brush is and how fantastic it is at applying loose, jitter free strokes. I much prefer the Nomad brush over a regular stylus or my finger for the early stages of a painting but due to my approach I prefer a more stable nib for the finer details.

As you state its beautifully crafted and is the perfect partner for any art app.

February 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShaun Mullen

Steve - We would love to see pressure sensitivity on the iPad, it's on our wish list but we're not sure we'll see it any time soon!

Thanks for your comments.

February 24, 2011 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

Shaun - thank you for your comments, we said to Steve Talkowski that we would love to see pressure sensitivity and this is one example of where it would be perfect. We agree about the jitter free comment too.

February 24, 2011 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

^^ anyone translate that lol ^^

February 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShaun Mullen

Shaun -killed it, can't stand that stuff ^_^

February 25, 2011 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

Wow I thought this was just an ordinary brush at first.

March 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCheesa

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.