YouTube is full of inspirational how-to videos, many of which are a brilliant resource for artists and designers. Others can be a little, well, questionable. So when we first saw this How to make an Apple Pencil video, we couldn't resist finding out which camp the tutorial would fall into.
The video, by Hannah Pengilly aka PengoArt (opens in new tab), which has already racked up an impressive 1.7 million views, shows the artist grab a standard-looking ballpoint pen, remove the ink and spring, cut a cotton bud in half and insert it in the end of the pen nib, poke some aluminium foil in the body of the pen case and reattach the nib. The video then switches to her using the new 'device' to draw on an iPad.
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On first impressions, this looks pretty impressive, but we've got questions. And it would appear the YouTube community has too, along with some hilarious comments rolling in. "Just wait until a random person uses it to pick their ears", one user said. "Ah sh*t, my ears are dirty. I needed yellow anyway," said another. Of all of them, however, "How to make an Apple pen. Stab a pen into an apple," has got to be our favourite.
We couldn't help but chuckle through many of the 14,000-odd comments, many of which allude to the entire process being, let's say, somewhat flawed. "That's not going to work, the typical pencil requires Bluetooth," one user explained.
But there are also many showing a lot of love for this new-found way to draw on the iPad, with some going as far as to add even more advice for anyone wanting to give it a go. "Make sure the pen is metal (or there's a metal bit on the pen that your hand touches, if not try covering in foil) (something to do with conductivity idk). Make sure the foil inside touches that metal - it works better if the Q-tip is slightly damp (in my experience)."
We haven't given this a go ourselves, so can't say how well, or indeed if, it actually works. But if it does, we'd go as far to say it's a great option for kids (just make sure they don't use the cotton bud for it's intended use first). However, if you're serious about digital art, you might want to think about investing in a more long-term, less cotton bud-style option.
(Psst, there's loads for a range of budgets in our round up of the best iPad stylus.)