Apple recently released the iPad Pro with Apple Pencil. It’s the biggest change to the iPad since it launched. When Apple released the iPhone, it enabled the world to communicate in totally different ways. When they released the iPad, it shifted the paradigm of personal computing. So what will the Apple Pencil do for the world?
They say the pen is mightier than the sword, and with all the conflict around us today, this metonymic adage should be taken more seriously than ever. Advancing technology combined with social reach is enabling more talented individuals to create and share ideas around the world.
One of those outstanding individuals is Australian illustrator, Matt Huynh. Matt is the youngest son of a refugee family, who grew up in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta. He has always been passionate about the story telling of his heritage and the culture and community that he grew up in. At first, Matt wanted to use the pen to contribute to society in a different way, having gone to university to study law. Midway through his degree, he discovered that it wasn’t what he wanted to do and took a big step in the opposite direction. Today, Matt still uses a pen but in a very different way and serendipitously, he now works in a studio that is Brooklyn’s historic Pencil Factory. As an artist, he illustrates for high profile clients like the New York Times, Esquire, Rolling Stone and Adobe. Matt’s other works include CAB, a graphic novel documenting true stories from the Cabramatta community, his illustrated reportage of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations which has been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art, and Chinatown, which was presented on the Sydney Opera House stage.
In 2015 he was approached by SBS to collaborate on a project to create an interactive graphic novel based on the acclaimed story, The Boat by Name Le. A story about a 16 year old girl sent off by her parents to flee Saigon after its fall to the Viet Cong. Matt worked in his studio for an entire year to produce this beautiful graphic adaptation of the novel, using sumi-e ink, bamboo calligraphy brushes and carbon from burnt wood on watercolour paper.At the moment, there’s no piece of technology that can fully substitute and reproduce the results from those specialist tools that Matt uses in his studio, but Apple has taken the first step in achieving this with the iPad Pro and Pencil.
A week ago, Matt was invited by the Sydney Apple Store to do a live illustration where he demonstrated his brush and ink dexterity, not using the ancient bamboo brush on watercolour paper but instead using just the Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro.
It was clear that Matt had mastery over the Pencil, and although it may be a way yet until those ancient tools can be fully replaced by technology, we’re certainly on a great start. As the portable laptop once unshackled writers from the chains of the typewriter that bound them to their offices, the iPad Pro may one day do the same for artists from their equipment heavy studios.