VIDEO - REVIEW of Clip Studio Paint Ex on iPad Pro!

Social media has been buzzing for the last week over Clip Studio Paint Ex being released on iPad Pro. It’s even convinced some artists to go out and buy an iPad Pro just to use this program!

If you don’t know what it is - Clip Studio Paint is a digital painting program, developed by Celsys, a Japanese graphics software company. It has been traditionally marketed for the digital creation of manga and comics, but is also catered towards illustrators and animators.



The introduction of this app on the iPad Pro has been popular for two reasons:

  • Firstly, it is a very popular desktop program among digital artists, so people are excited to be able to use their favourite program portably on their iPad Pros.
  • Secondly, it has the full capabilities of the desktop version - which is something that iPad Pro users haven’t been able to experience yet (the current popular drawing apps on offer are very simplified, compared to desktop programs).

Before we get into the details, first of all I’ll say this isn’t an in-depth review of the program itself and all it can do, but merely a review on the program for the iPad Pro, in comparison to other drawing apps on offer.

I’ll also just mention that Celsys is offering 6 months FREE when you sign up for a Clip Studio Paint subscription before December 20, 2017. But I’d also like to note that you can download the program for free and try it out before signing up for anything - because I know some people really dislike signing up for free trials, cos that’s how they getcha!

Anyway, you won’t have to sign up for a subscription until you want to save a file. So I downloaded the program, went through all of the settings, before I even signed up for a subscription. So maybe keep note that you don’t automatically get 6 months free by downloading the program - you have to physically sign up within the program (shown below).

How to subscribe to Clip Studio Paint memebership.

How to subscribe to Clip Studio Paint memebership.



The iPad Pro Clip Studio Paint is advertised by Celsys as:

  • for Drawing & Painting
  • Pen/brush tool with which you can comfortably draw a Manga
  • Natural, realistic-looking pen strokes
  • Draw vectors that can be processed and edited without losing quality
  • [3D drawing figures] with freely customizable body shape
  • Ruler for accurate drawings
  • Neat, smooth color filling
  • Create your own original colors
  • Adjustment feature to improve the quality

My Initial thoughts were that I love the full-program capabilities of this app - it’s definitely what I was missing on my iPad Pro.

Since Apple advertises the iPad Pro as a tablet as powerful as a laptop, it has felt like you should be able to accomplish more than what had been provided by the drawing programs I’d experienced so far. I didn’t buy my iPad Pro expecting FULL desktop art program capabilities (I merely bought it just as a way to draw digitally, with an easily- and fully-portable device), so I didn’t really question apps like Procreate, Autodesk Sketchbook, and Adobe Sketch feeling like “lite” versions of desktop programs. 

But now having the option of using Clip Studio Paint is amazing! It now bridges that gap between having a fully portable drawing device, and full desktop art program capabilities. So I can now experience almost all that I can do on a desktop, on my iPad! (just with limited screen size and processor).

My initial experience of the program has been fantastic. It feels much more natural to draw and paint with than Procreate (which was what I was previously drawing with). Procreate I could sketch with fine, but line-art and painting just never felt right. It was probably to do with how the brushes perform differently to what I’m used to on Photoshop, and/or the possibility of the pressure sensitivity curve being off (although I tried altering it in the program and still couldn’t get it to feel right). In contrast, I feel like I could very easily sketch, do line work, AND colour on my iPad with Clip Studio Paint.


Autodesk Sketchbook

Adobe Sketch

Whilst I love my desktop workstation with my 22” Wacom Cintiq, I do sometimes dislike feeling like I’m chained to my desk and can’t work elsewhere. So this program is getting me excited to draw on my iPad and be able to work portably even more!

Since the program is a full version, you also have the capability of taking all of your usual desktop brushes from Clip Studio Paint, and transferring them onto your iPad for use on that. I do own the PC version, but I personally haven’t really used it much, so I haven’t needed to do this.

But you also have the option of using their “Clip Studio Assets”, such as downloading brushes, 3D model characters, and more, from your peers.

Accessing the Clip Studio Assets.

Clip Studio Assets website.

You even have the capability of connecting a keyboard and using the typical desktop program keyboard shortcuts, creating a smoother and faster workflow. I myself just bought the Apple Smart Keyboard that goes with the iPad Pro (a present to myself thanks to my pokie wins… (gamble responsibly ;))



I think the most obvious drawback I’ve experienced so far is the lack of integration with cloud-based software like iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Drive. Cloud-based filing systems are becoming the norm, especially with the fact that artists are no longer typically using the one workstation, but can work on their desktops, laptops, or iPads, and need to be able to easily swap between one another. This means easily taking a sketch from iPad to desktop, or vice versa.

Clip Studio Paint works like it’s got its own file system integrated into the program, and you have to export files to save to your iPad for “external” use (such as uploading to social media), or to send or upload them elsewhere (like Dropbox).

I also couldn’t figure out how to export a PSD onto my iPad to then open up in Clip Studio Paint, so I’m not sure whether it’s possible or not… And if it is, it’s not very straightforward to work out.

In the Clip Studio Paint online tips they actually explain using iTunes as a way of transferring files from desktop to iPad, which is a pretty terrible way to work around in my opinion. I don’t think anyone actually uses iTunes anymore, so I found that a bit odd.

Clip Studio Paint file management system.

These days I actually work on Photoshop files straight out of Dropbox. This means I can work on my desktop, save my work whilst I’m working, and then if I choose to, I could open it up on my laptop, make some edits, save it, and easily return to the newly updated version on my desktop again - without needing to physically spend time uploading the file. Having this sort of capability on the iPad would be spectacular - it would take out a lot of steps in order to take something from iPad to desktop and vice versa.

Another major thing which will be a drawback for most people I’m sure, is the fact that the program has a subscription-based method of payment (which is $11.49AUD/month). In my honest opinion, I think this program is awesome and I’d definitely get use out of it, so the monthly subscription isn’t the biggest problem for me, but I know it’s a big issue for others. For those who don’t require creating large-scale images, and want to save money on their digital art workstation (for example, hobby artists), the subscription cost is fairly reasonable (but I admit something closer to $5/month would probably be more reasonable). But the cost being worth it really depends how often you’d get use out of the app.



This program is AMAZING for artists wanting a portable option for creating digital art.

I think it’s perfect for the artist who:

  • Wants a simple, easy-to-use, all-rounder program for basic digital art creation (eg, for the hobbyist).
  • Wants a portable digital painting program with full-program capabilities, and/or acts like a desktop program (eg, familiar and doesn’t take much of a learning curve like Procreate does).

Note that as of making this review: Celsys is offering a SIX MONTH FREE TRIAL PROGRAM for those who sign up before December 20, 2017. (Note that you access this THROUGH the program, it’s not automatically started when you download the program).

The only things I haven’t tested out yet is how well it handles large file sizes with many layers. This will also depend slightly on the model iPad Pro you have, though.

You can go through their online manual to check out the tools they have on offer, and what you can accomplish in the program.


Have you guys tried out Clip Studio Paint Ex on iPad Pro? What are your opinions on it? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!!

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