How to Organize an Illustrator Workspace for Astropad

How to Organize an Illustrator Workspace for Astropad

Illustrator is the standard for vector work, and is a great tool for illustration, typography, and many other uses.

In this quick step-by-step guide, we’ll help you organize an efficient workspace for using Illustrator with Astropad.

Rearranging panels and tool bars

One of the nice things about Illustrator, is that individual panels and tool bars are rearrangeable to either side of your canvas, or anywhere in the working space.  Place any panels that you use frequently in an easy accessible spot for your stylus.

For example, the Layers panel can be kept in any space outside the Artboard for conveniency. Or extra tools can be lined up right beside the main tool panel, as a single column or multiple.

Any type of rearranging works with Astropad, since the shortcuts sidebar can be placed to the right of the iPad screen –



Tool panels set to the left, and Astropad shortcut sidebar to right

Or to the left of the iPad screen –


Tool panels set to the right, Astropad shortcut sidebar to the left

The shortcuts sidebar can be hidden anytime by tapping the on screen white ring button.


Tool panels set right with some cascaded, Astropad shortcut sidebar hidden

Shortcuts in Illustrator

Astropad’s shortcuts are preset for Photoshop, you will need to change them to accommodate Illustrator.

On your Mac, go to Astropad’s “Preferences”, it will open a window with editable shortcuts for the sidebar.

Click “Set” and type the command on your Mac, and it will register.

Recommended shortcuts for Astropad’s sidebar – 

  • P  :  Pen tool
  • –  :  Delete Anchor Pen tool
  • A  : Direct Selection  (white cursor)
  • V  : Selection (black cursor)
  • Command Z  : Undo
  • Shift Z : Redo
  • B  :  Brush
  • Shift E  :  Eraser

Anchor Points and Handles

It’s best to use a more accurate stylus, like Apple Pencil, to control anchor points and handles are easier.

Touch panning and zooming

Astropad’s touch gestures, panning and zoom, are supported in Illustrator. Using two fingers, pinch to zoom, and place together to pan on your iPad. This way, you won’t need to keep the scrollbars in view when you set up your ideal workspace.

How to set Pressure Sensitivity for strokes

The iPad is unable to be recognized as a drawing tablet in Illustrator. Pen pressure in Illustrator does not enable pressure options unless a Wacom driver is present.

A Wacom tablet is not needed to install the driver. We’re currently looking into a workaround for this.

The latest Wacom driver will need to be installed, like an Intuos Pro driver; you can get from here:

  • After adding the driver; brush option settings will need to be manually adjusted in Illustrator


Change “fixed” to “pressure”


Also adjust desired variations to the stroke.


Drawing seems slow in Illustrator CC?

Try turning off GPU performance. In Illustrator’s “Preferences”, go to  “GPU Performance”. Then uncheck “GPU Performance”.


For more information on working in Illustrator, check out our Community Forum.

Artist Showcase: Jenna Freimuth

Regal Cat Lady

Citrus Pattern

The Hierophant Taurus

Jenna Freimuth

Where do you live?

I have lived in Minneapolis, MN for almost 7 years.  I am in love with this city and I’m starting to plan a day to celebrate our anniversary together.

Where do you look for inspiration? 

I’ll page through surface design books or browse online for a bit, but I can always count on epic movie soundtracks to stir up some inspiration. There is so much emotion to build from in there; spin your own stories.

Does your art follow a theme or motif? 

A good deal of my work tends to showcase my love for cats. It sometimes feels unavoidable. They are a constant source of joy for me and they find their way into my whimsical and sometimes metaphysical drawings.  If cats aren’t the main focus, one could nearly always discover a pattern, some foliage, or a shade of olive green in my work.

How does art challenge you? 

I think the loveliest challenge is the process of bringing an idea to life and deciding how that final piece is going to be done. I tiptoe between analog and digital, so sometimes my final pieces have a wide scope of applications.  I’d like to maintain consistency from one piece of work to another, but the constant pull to test new things and discover new techniques often keeps the ball rolling in several directions at once.  It can be discouraging, sometimes, merely to keep the ball in one court.

What words do you live by? 

Hustle + Glow: Work hard, be nice, and stay grateful.


Instagram: @jennafreimuth


Astro’s Next Frontier

Our top Astro dogs have been exploring uncharted terrority to make even more powerful tools for artists. We want you to know that the next frontier is coming soon! We’ll be launching some out-of-this-world stuff in the coming months. 🌎

But while we’re still preparing for takeoff, we’re wondering: What does “the next frontier” mean to you? How are you pushing boundaries with your art? What uncharted territory are you exploring? We want to know what inspires you.

*Next Frontier* Design Contest

1. Create: Design a work of art (illustration, comic, painting, hand-lettering, sketch) around the theme The Next Frontier: Exploring Uncharted Territory. 

2. Share: Post your work on Instagram and tag #NextFrontier and @astropadapp. Or, upload it to the Astro CommunityNote: The artist will maintain ownership of all artwork submitted.

3. Win: We’ll select a winning design to be printed on an official Astropad t-shirt, available for sale to the public via Cotton Bureau. The artist will receive 100% of profits from t-shirt sales, along with a ParcSlope and HiRise2 from Twelve South. We will also select 2 runner-up winners to each receive the ParcSlope.

The deadline to submit artwork for consideration is November 4, 2016. You can check out a gallery of the submissions at

Best of luck! And stay tuned for exciting updates from Astro HQ in the coming months. 😉

Digital Tattoo Design Using Astropad

Since the release of iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, tattoo artists have envisioned the potential for a more digitized workflow. Turned off by the high price tag and single-use functionality of the traditional Wacom tablet, the iPad Pro is a more accessible tool for tattoo artists. Alex Ellis — owner of Forget Me Not Tattoo Studio & Gallery in Ocala, Florida — shares how he has integrated Astropad into his business.

Do your tattoo designs follow a specific style or theme?

My style of work is more on the traditional side. I like bold, clear imagery that is easy to read from across the room. That being said, I also think it’s important to be open to other styles as well. As an artist it can be very inspiring to dabble in other styles and incorporate a little of your own flare.

What’s your design process like? 

I first take a tracing and photos of the area I will be tattooing. With the iPad Pro I can now draw directly onto the photos to get a better idea of how the tattoo will fit the body. Not only are there some quality native drawing apps, such as Procreate and Sketchbook, but with the Astropad app and my MacBook I can use programs like Photoshop and Clip Studio.

How did you decide to get an iPad Pro? 

When I was making the transition to digital art I was torn between the iPad Pro and the Wacom Cintiq. I liked the portability of the iPad, but the idea of being able to draw directly into Photoshop (a program I had used for years and was comfortable with) was very intriguing. After some research I came across the Astropad app and it was a no brainer for me at that point.

What has been the biggest changes to your workflow? 

Switching to digital design in my shop has made things run more smoothly and efficiently.  It allowed us to be able to make multiple color studies and variations in a fraction of the time. It’s also great for saving supplies. Before, I drew with markers and went through many rolls of paper — which added up. And it’s not always easy to find a big, flat surface to draw on comfortably.

Being able to draw at any size on a device that fits in a backpack is definitely a game changer for the on-the-go artist. I spend multiple hours a day drawing for appointments, so I like that I can rely on Astropad to function smoothly through my design process — especially since the most recent updates!

Do you think that the digital design process helps to prevent tattoo remorse?

I definitely feel like it has helped in situations where a client may be unsure of a placement or color.

What’s the most satisfying part about being a tattoo artist?

The reaction on a satisfied client’s face. It’s a great feeling to have someone so into your art that they want to put it on their body for the rest of their life.

More insights into digital tattoo design: The Tattooers Guide to the iPad Pro

Instagram: @alexellistattoo / @ipadprotattooteam

Artist Showcase: Adolfo Correa




Adolfo Correa

Where do you live?

I am originally from Santiago de Chile but I’ve recently moved to Spain looking for new challenges in Europe. I love traveling and learning from different cultures. When I feel that I am not learning and working at the level that I want, I know it’s time to go higher and move on.

What inspires you? 

Lately my inspiration comes from the current world sporting events. I’m not a sportsman but I admire all of the effort that athletes put forward to reach their goals. I’m inspired by the athletes that gave everything during the Olympics and the World Cup. I like to imagine the discipline that is behind the drive of these athletes. Also art and everything around the internet is very stimulating.

What emotions frequently show through in your art? 

I always try to transmit the energy, positivity, power, and elegance from the human disciplines. Every piece I make takes me a lot of time working with the details. I love when people take a closer look and spend time noticing the intricacies of my work.  I’ve always thought that design with art is a powerful tool for communication. Big brands know that, so I strive to be a part of that.

What words do you live by?

Family & Design.

7 Instagram Accounts to Follow for Creative Inspiration

If you’re looking for inspiration, Instagram is the art gallery at your fingertips. Here are a few of Astropad’s favorite Instagram accounts to follow:

1. Typography:  @zacharysmithh

A cohesive blend of encouraging words and intricate hand-lettering

Hope you all are having a great day ✌🏼️ I did this quick piece this morning while hanging in @theparismarket

A photo posted by Zachary Smith (@zacharysmithh) on

2. Photography & Fashion: @iGNANT

An unpredictable, yet carefully curated gallery of design, photography, fashion, and architecture

3. Illustration: @dailydoodlegram

A whimsical collection of black and white doodles

@goumiyagi @asafweit

A photo posted by dailydoodlegram (@dailydoodlegram) on

4. Comic Art: @kuvshinov_ilya

Beautiful manga-inspired illustrations

Morning Study

A photo posted by Ilya Kuvshinov (@kuvshinov_ilya) on

5. Up & Coming: @jimmyturrell

He’s the brain behind Beck’s lyric video for “Wow” 

6. Something For Everyone: @juxtapozmag

Covers everything from street art to gallery openings

@conorsaysboom opens a new show at Heni Gallery in association with @pacegallery London on September 14th.

A photo posted by Juxtapoz Magazine (@juxtapozmag) on

7. Wild Card:  @velvetspectrum

Like digital cotton candy

"Chrysalis" #thought_bubbles

A video posted by Luke Choice (@velvetspectrum) on

And of course, don’t forget to follow the Official Astropad Instagram account to see featured Astro artwork. 😉

Artist Showcase: La Scarlatte




Pauline Teunissen (aka La Scarlatte)

Where do you live?
I live in the center of Amsterdam, looking out over the ships in the harbor.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Almost everywhere, but nature is what I love most. So when I get the chance, I go to the dunes and the beach which are quite close to Amsterdam (and where I grew up), and I wander around the woods and little lakes there photographing everything that might come in handy one day. Traveling is a great inspiration too – I’ve been to lots of great places like Costa Rica, Iceland and the Galapagos Islands. But the city of Amsterdam has great stuff as well; I live really close to the zoo and the Hortus Botanicus, so I’m there almost every week to look up something I want to investigate for a project. And when you take a stroll or a bike ride around the canals, you can discover lots of things like small statues on facades of canal houses or antique bookshops.
What emotions do you hope to evoke with your art?
Everybody experiences art differently. I hope they enjoy it in their own way and maybe see different layers in it than I expected myself. And I hope my work conveys the joy and patience I have in creating it.
How do you find the beauty in both life and death?
I think my artwork has a serenity about it. And even though I am very interested in duality and the darker side of a beautiful scene, somehow when I try to create more edgy artworks it still has that calmness about it. Maybe it’s my color choices or my pencil strokes, the end result is always a space where things are delicate and movement like the wind is softly blowing. Most testimonials I get about my work is that people find it gives them a sense of daydreaming.
What words do you live by?
Keep curious. I try to constantly keep curious in everything I do, the way I work, how I spend my spare time, how I interact with family and friends. And whenever I find that something is out of balance, I find new ways to get there. So maybe “never give up” is also a good one. 🙂

How to Organize a Clip Studio Paint Workspace for Astropad

Clip Studio Paint is a great drawing program to use with Astropad. It’s versatile for both illustration and creating publisher-ready comics, with features that accommodate every step of the comic-making process: layouts, perspective rulers, sketching, inking, coloring, and captions.

In this quick step-by-step guide, we’ll help you organize an efficient workspace for using Clip Studio Paint with Astropad. For the best experience, we recommend the latest Clip Studio Paint version. 

Arranging Panels

It’s easy to arrange and resize Clip Studio Paint’s tool panels. Just click the top of a panel and drag it anywhere on screen. They can be resized at the sides, corners, or completely hidden to the side of the screen. We recommend having at least the following panels arranged on your screen:

    • Subtool [brush]
    • Tool property (for easy stroke adjustments)
    • Color wheel
    • Layers

Materials Panel: If you plan to use features such as 3D posing, screen tones, and textures, you will want to keep the Materials Panel close by. We suggest that you leave the collapsable Materials toolbar on your screen near the color palette or main toolbar so that you can easily access features without taking up a lot of screen space.

Setting Menu Shortcuts

Astropad’s sidebar shortcuts menu is preset for Photoshop, but it can be edited for Clip Studio. You can do this by going to “Preferences” then “Shortcuts” in the Mac app. 

We recommend placing your most used shortcuts in the sidebar. It’s totally customizable, so add whatever works best with your work flow! Here are some suggestions: 

      • P – pencil/ pen
      • M – marquee
      • G – gradients
      • J – blending tool

Sidebar Placement

You may need to move the shortcuts sidebar, depending on whether you are right or left handed. Just use your finger to drag the sidebar to either side of your iPad. You can also move the white ring around the screen to create a comfortable placement for your drawing style.

Touch Panning & Zoom

Even though you can’t use gestures on the Mac trackpad, Astropad supports touch panning and zooming for Clip Studio Paint. Use two fingers to pinch, zoom, and pan on your iPad. This way, you won’t need to keep the navigator panel or scrollbars in view when you set up your ideal workspace.

For more information on working in Clip Studio Paint, check out the Astropad Community Forum. ✌🏽

Artist Showcase: Mariosupa

Afro Africa - Made with Astropad

Rituals 1 - Made with Astropad

Rituals 2 - Made with Astropad

Little Red Riding Hood - Made with Astropad

Mario Hounkanrin (aka Mariosupa)

Where do you live? 
I moved from Paris to Amsterdam 2 years ago to be with my better half.
What inspires you?  
I was born in Benin, West Africa, but we moved to Paris when I was 4. I spent most of my life in Paris and that’s where I started my career as a graphic designer back in 2001. Getting older, I felt like I needed to go back to my roots somehow. And diving into those roots made me start drawing again. What inspires me most is ancient and tribal arts. What some people wrongly call “primitive” arts. I try to interpret these inspirations with my graphic design skills to create something new.
Does your art follow a theme or motif? 
For now, my focus is really African infused art. I’d love to show the world (as much as I can) how great African arts and cultures are when you take time to look at them. My illustrations are the result of growing up with African art at home and my interest for masks, body paintings, scarifications, ceremonies, and religions that have thousands years of history.
How does art challenge you? 
For a long time, I was only focused on my graphic & motion designer career. But when I started posting illustrations on Instagram a few months ago, I was surprised by the engagement of the people. I always thought that my drawings were meaningful only to me until then. Now, I make illustrations or drawings as much as possible in parallel with my freelance projects. I have so many images inside my body, I could draw all day long but I have to eat and pay the rent. Art is changing my life lately, for the better.
What is your personal mantra? 


Astropad 2.0

A free update for existing users! 🙌🏽 

Astropad 2.0 Highlights

Our top Astro dogs have been hard at work on Astropad 2.0, and we’re so excited to share a full lineup of ultra-responsive features. Here are the highlights:

  1. High-performance Liquid engine upgrade: Runs three times faster with massively reduced pixelation
  2. Uses 3x less CPU and 4x less memory: Allows longer work sessions and extended battery life
  3. New Velocity control: Analyzes network conditions dozens of times per second to balance image quality and latency
  4. Refined pressure curve: Hand-tuned by artists for a natural drawing feel
  5. Enhanced software compatibility: Supports panning and zooming gestures across more programs, including: Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo, Art Rage, Clip Studio Paint, Lightroom, Mischief, Autodesk Sketchbook
  6. Hidden cursor: Settings option to auto-hide the cursor while drawing
  7. Updated UI: Sleek new look and feel

We can’t wait to hear what you think about the update! Stay in touch on our Astro Community page and remember to  follow us on Instagram to check out featured art made with Astropad.

P.S. Meet Rebekka, Astropad’s new hero woman. She was created by artist Ellen Edgerton as the official face of Astropad 2.0.

Astropad 2.0

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