This review originally appeared within iLounge’s iOS Gems series within the compilation article, iPhone Gems: Every Drawing Application, Reviewed. Additional details may be found in the original article.
In another break from the formula followed by most iPhone and iPod touch drawing applications, No.2 Pencil ($5) uses an on-screen pencil to allow for greater accuracy when drawing. Drawings are organized into “books,” which can be accessed from the book button on the drawing screen. Each drawing within the book view is displayed as a thumbnail against a wood grain background; the app includes several drawings by default, including an entire section of documentation that serves as a user guide for the app.
The drawing screen also offers buttons for deleting the drawing, undo, and saving the image to the photo library. As mentioned above, users manipulate an on-screen pencil to draw, positioning the pencil with one finger and tapping with a second to begin drawing; another tap of the second finger lifts the pencil. This sounds more complicated than it is, but it’s still less than ideal. Tapping on the pencil itself shifts between drawing and erase modes, and users can zoom in and out using gestures. The pencil emulates the lines drawn by a standard No.2 pencil, hence the name.
While the documentation says that features such as editable page size, drawing rotation, cut, copy, and paste are in development, along with new tools such as rulers, crayons, markers, pens, and stencils, these features have yet to appear, so users are currently only able to use the single-sized pencil. In fact, it is the pencil metaphor that is the app’s greatest advantage and single biggest weakness: it provides a more accurate drawing experience than any of the app’s peers, but brings with it a control scheme that takes some getting used to and severely limits the user’s options. We could overlook these shortcomings if the app were priced a little lower, but as it stands No.2 is simply a good start, not yet a complete app, and thus falls short of our recommendation. iLounge Rating: C.
Company and Price
Title: No.2 Pencil
Compatible: iPhones, iPod touches