XPPen is debuting its Magic Drawing Pad in January 2024. Coined “a magic studio on the go,” the XPPen Magic Drawing Pad is a professional drawing device innovated to meet the mobile and portable creative needs of modern artists. As digital art grows in popularity, XPPen’s state-of-the-art drawing tablet boasts portable functionality and an arsenal of customizable features that enable hobbyists and professional artists to create whenever and wherever inspiration sparks.
In the realm of digital art, not all tablets are equal. The XPPen Magic Drawing Pad is the closest thing to drawing on physical paper, with the added convenience and portability of a smart tablet computer. It features a 12.2-inch display with anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings, delivering a satisfying visual and tactile experience. The device will launch alongside the X3 Pro Pencil, which features world’s highest pressure levels and EMR (Electro-Magnetic Resonance) technology that doesn’t require charging; together, the new devices provide artists with versatile tools to broaden their creative practices and develop seamless workflows, even when on the move. Whether you’re in the studio, outside or globetrotting for new inspiration, XPPen’s ever-growing ecosystem invites you to leverage creativity over your art.
XPPen collaborated with illustrator and graphic designer Paula Cruz on this new product to get a pulse on emerging trends and technologies she explores in her artworks. The concept and development of the XPPen Magic Drawing Pad aligns perfectly with Paula Cruz, allowing her to explore myriad possibilities in digital drawing. Hailing from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Cruz’s use of striking colors, charismatic portrait designs and vibrant illustrations of powerful, embodied women distinguish her work. The artist incorporates pop-inspired graphics, dynamic line work and free-form shapes to create a world of her own. In the interview below, Cruz opens up about cultivating an artistic practice outdoors, the vibrancy and wealth of inspiration found in her hometown and her willingness to experiment with innovative tools centered around evolving the medium of digital art.
HYPEBEAST: Tell us about yourself and how you became a designer and illustrator. What initially sparked your interest in this field?
Paula Cruz: I’m Paula Cruz, an illustrator and designer from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. My style is pop, bold, colorful and optimistic, and I work for international clients from all over the world. My first interest in illustration sparked while I was reading books, mangas and watching music videos on MTV when I was a kid. Since I was 13 years old, I was into digital drawing, typography, layouts, comic books and today I can tell you that I work with my passion and my hobby.
HB: How would you describe your unique artistic style? What are the key elements that define your work?
PC: My style is bold and colorful and the key elements of it are powerful characters, bright colors and big types. I like to draw daring, inspiring women and portrait movement[s] [in] my compositions and layouts.
HB: Where do you usually find design inspirations? Do you have any specific methods or approaches?
PC: My inspiration comes from daily life in Rio de Janeiro, the pop culture, music videos, shows, reading books, anime and cinema.
HB: As a digital artist, what devices and creative tools do you usually use (hardware and software)? How do these devices and tools influence your creative process?
PC: I’m used to drawing my sketchbooks and digital tablets. But nowadays I am constantly drawing directly on vector softwares. I love to work and to sketch on vectors, because I can reuse the initial lines of my sketches on my final arc.
HB: Where do you typically create your artwork? Does creating art outside of your studio help you gain inspiration and creativity?
PC: I’m used to [drawing in] my studio but I really like to draw outdoors. Open my sketchbook and draw people walking on the streets of Rio, it’s amazing.
HB: How do indoor and outdoor creation differ for you?
PC: Drawing outdoors is about freedom and experimentation. Drawing indoors is for focus and detailed work.
HB: If you need to create or absorb inspiration outdoors, where do you usually go? Do you have any specific surroundings, art museums or travel destinations?
PC: I like to draw outdoors especially [at] art museums, because I can draw either the people or the artworks. I am playing with characters and references at the same time, but I also like to draw at the Carnival of Rio, bookstores, parks and beaches.
HB: Which places in Rio de Janeiro or other cities, even lesser-known corners, do you find most appealing and inspiring for your artwork? Why?
PC: Rio is a colorful city and every corner has a story to tell. I really like to go to [the] CCBB museum, Instituto Moreira Salles or to the downtown of the city to inspire myself.
HB: Your artwork is characterized by vibrant colors and a sense of energy. How do you develop these inspirations and highly personalized style, and what does it mean to you?
PC: My style comes from my background and my beliefs. I like vibrant colors because of my city and my way of seeing the world: the tropical colors in South America are certainly one of my favorite themes. Portraying women and different views of womanhood is another important theme [in] my work. Developing this in my artistic style means understanding more and more about my own self.
HB: Can you share an example of a piece where inspiration came from “going out to create?”
PC: On my last work for Tinder, we were drawing people from Rio’s Carnival! It was so much fun, I was drawing based on text descriptions; it was like reliving my best Carnivals, I guess. It was amazing.
HB: What does “going out to create” mean to you?
PC: As the Poet said:” take me out tonight where there’s music and there’s people and they’re young and alive.” Outdoor landscapes, city streets [and] shows can all serve as sources for inspiration. Going out to create means living life as its fullest, and then creating based on this sense of joy and freedom. This change in environment breaks conventional perspectives and stimulates the flow of ideas and creativity.
HB: In the era of digital art, how important is it for you to be able to draw on the go? Why?
PC: Drawing is about world view and perception. Going out, exploring, living the outside world is a fun way to expand your own world view and enhance your references.
HB: What changes does “drawing on the go” bring to your life, and can you envision its impact?
PC: Drawing on the go gives more space to new ideas, new experiments and new adventures.
HB: Do you use a tablet computer for your artwork? Are there any limitations with the current portable devices you use for creating? For example, pen pressure sensitivity, screen glare, or limited options available on the market.
PC: Yes, I use [a] tablet computer for my artwork. I think the current limitations are the pen pressure sensitivity and movements, sometimes the pen does not capture exactly what I’m drawing, that’s a problem. I think most of the time I have to work with the timing of the pen pressure, not the opposite. Also, the battery life is an issue.
HB: XPPen is soon launching a professional drawing tablet that allows artists to create in different scenarios, such as outdoor sketching and quick inspiration recording. The screen will feature an anti-glare design and support the industry’s highest 16K pressure sensitivity. How do you perceive the innovation of this product?
PC: I love this idea! The idea of creating [or] drawing in any place, anytime enables us, artists, to capture more and more inspiration from daily life.
With the upcoming release of the Magic Drawing Pad, XPPen champions finding inspiration outdoors and beyond, providing innovative creation tools that enhance how artists and hobbyists approach their creative practices. Following Hypebeast’s interview with Paula Cruz, XPPen provided a few words on conceptualizing these digital tools to meet the demands of contemporary artists.
HB: Why does XPPen focus on the emerging category of the “professional drawing pad?” How do you think these tools speak to modern consumers?
XPPen: Based on our previous market and user research, we have observed a gradual increase in public interest in digital drawing. More and more people are exploring the joy and skill of digital drawing, and their expectations for pad devices in terms of drawing capabilities are growing. Additionally, professional designers have an increasing need for mobile creativity, requiring a portable drawing pad to capture inspiration anytime, anywhere. They have specific high demands for drawing-related performance in a pad. Therefore, we aim to create a new category of “professional drawing pad” to meet the diverse needs of consumers in pad drawing and mobile creativity.
HB: In the pad market, how does XPPen define a “professional” drawing pad? How is “professionalism” reflected? What are key product feature advantages and selling points of the product?
XPPen: Our professional drawing tablets are mainly reflected in three aspects. Firstly, we have custom-designed an EMR smart chip stylus specifically for the Magic Drawing Pad, it does not require charging or pairing and allows users to start drawing immediately. It also supports the highest industry-standard 16,384 pressure levels, resulting in finer, more precise, and smoother lines in artwork. In terms of the screen, its professionalism lies in providing a paper-like visual and tactile experience.
Anti-glare is one of the primary requirements for outdoor creation among designers. Additionally, the screen will feature blue light protection technology. Regarding software, the Magic Drawing Pad comes pre-installed with leading drawing apps, enabling users to start creating as soon as they turn on the device, eliminating the hassle of downloading. The software is also customized and optimized for the smart chip stylus, providing a seamless drawing experience.
HB: How does XPPen interpret the Magic Drawing Pad as a mobile drawing device?
XPPen: XPPen encourages users to go out and create. In the era of digital art where everyone can create, people express themselves through various means such as photography and videos. “Easy creation” plays an important role in satisfying the desire for personal expression. Whether it’s professional artists or casual creators, they can achieve self-expression through “easy creation.” Therefore, a lightweight, portable drawing pad that offers a professional drawing experience becomes an essential creative tool for capturing inspiration and artistic creation anytime, anywhere.