AstroPad Rock Paper Pencil: The Best iPad Paper Texture?

I’ve been trying out the new Rock Paper Pencil screen protector/pencil tip combo from Astorpad for the past three weeks. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I’m serious about the accessories for my iPad, especially when it comes to screen protectors that help me with drawing and lettering on my iPad – usually in Procreate. 

the image shows a floral painting in the Procreate that the writer used with the Rock Paper Pencil set from Astropad. Picture shows the clarity of the screen with the screen protector

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

I’ve tried a lot of versions of screen protectors. You can see my favorite screen protectors here. 

Astropad just came out with an innovative screen protector/pen tip combo that might actually cause me to abandon screen protectors for good! I like it that much. (Please note that this review is on Version 1 of the Rock Paper Pencil From Astropad).

The product is called the Rock Paper Pencil and it includes a combination of a magnetic matte paper texture screen protector and a new pen tip that replaces your Apple Pencil Tip. The pencil tip is made of metal, so should not wear out with a textured screen protector. 

Throughout this post, I’ll share photos of my recent Procreate artwork using the Rock Paper Pencil set. This should help you see the clarity of the screen as well as the type of art I’m creating that this set has stood up to. 

A value study of a pomeranian dog done in Procreate using the Rock Paper Pencil set from Astropad

What’s in the Rock Paper Pencil Box?

When you order the Rock Paper Pencil set, you’ll receive a package including:

  • 1 Magnetic textured matte screen protector
  • 2 metal tipped pencil tips for your Apple Pencil
  • 1 Protective Sleeve/Folder for your screen protector

What Makes the Rock Paper Pencil Set Special?

There are a lot of options out there for accessories for your iPad. What makes this special?

The Screen Protector

Well, the screen protector is made to feel like paper – and it actually kind of does, although it is a bit of a rough feeling paper. It has a little tooth to it, which I enjoy quite a bit. The screen protector is matte, so it reduces glare and reflections. (I dislike seeing my face reflected on my screen when I’m drawing, so this is a good thing!) 

The screen protector attaches with magnets rather than by sticking to the entire screen. This is convenient because you can add and remove it without issues. You can also reuse it once you remove it.  Note that I have not done this because I don’t wish to remove my screen protector. 🙂 

Here is a pic of how easy it is to put the screen protector on (taken by Astropad):

Magnetic Application

Installing with magnets rather than with a sticky back means you don’t have to worry about bubbles and dust spots getting stuck under your screen protector. 

When I put the screen protector on originally, it felt as if the areas with the magnets were slightly sticky. It feels more secure than other magnetic screen protectors I’ve tried. I previously mentioned that I didn’t like a magnetic screen protector from a different company because I felt like I was getting dust under the protector which felt risky. For some reason I don’t have the same feeling with this. It seems very secure. 

Picture of the metal tip on the Apple Pencil Tip from Rock Paper Pencil

The Pencil Tips

The pencil tips have a thin, smooth metal tip. The metal tip is thinner than the regular Apple Pencil tip, making it feel more precise to me. The metal will not wear down in the same way that a plastic tip will, so if that’s a concern for you then you may enjoy these metal tips. 

Here’s a picture (it’s wearing a cat hair haha):

The Combination

The magic comes from using the whole Rock Paper Pencil set together. It really does feel like using a pen on paper. I’d describe it as the feeling you get when using a really nice wet gel pen. It glides smoothly while still feeling a little tooth from the paper. 

It just feels nice to write with – like your favorite pen. 

A beagle painting done in Procreate using the Rock Paper Pencil set from Astropad

Which iPads are Compatible?

You can purchase the Rock Paper Pencil set for 

  • 11 inch iPad Pro
  • 12.9 inch iPad Pro (3rd generation and newer)
  • iPad Air 11 inch
  • iPad mini 6th Generation
  • iPad 10.2 inch (7th, 8th, and 9th generation)

Can You Use The Screen Protector with a Case?

I use the Zugu Case and it works well with the magnetic screen protector included with the Rock Paper Pencil set. The case does not interfere at all with it. I highly recommend the Zugu case which you can also purchase on Amazon (I’m an affiliate). Read more about my favorite iPad case here.

According to Astropad you can also use it with the Magic Keyboard. (I have not used my Magic Keyboard since getting my Zugu Case). 

Can You Use The Rock Paper Pencil Screen Protector on Top of Other Screen Protectors?


Well, I haven’t tried it with this one, but I did with a different brand of magnetic screen protector and it didn’t stick well. 

Even if it did, I think having double screen protectors would interfere with the accuracy of your touch screen. It would also probably make it look distorted. 

Does The Rock Paper Pencil Set Interfere With The Touch Screen?

The touch screen on my iPad works the same with the Rock Paper Pencil set as it does with no screen protector. All my gestures work and I have no issues with clicking links, etc. I do not need to press any harder to get my pencil to work. Everything works great. 

How Does the Screen Look?

Keep in mind that I always use a matte screen protector. 

My iPad screen is clear. The colors look great and nothing is blurry or anything like that. The screen protector is a great addition to my iPad. 

Here is how artwork looks with the screen protector on:

Autumn Bouquet painting done in Procreate using the Rock Paper Pencil set from Astropad

My Recommendation

So do I recommend the Rock Paper Pencil set? Yes. Go here to buy the Rock Paper Pencil set! 

You see, I was finding myself using my iPad less and less for creating art. I have been spending a lot of time learning to paint with acrylics and gouache – which led me to sort of dislike working on my iPad. Boo

When creating art on my iPad I felt like I was creating everything with a colored pencil. I don’t really enjoy coloring with colored pencils, so I found myself preferring to use a paintbrush and paper, canvas or wood. My hand hurt when I wrote, similar to if I was using a pencil for a long writing stretch. 

Since receiving the Rock Paper Pencil set, I’ve renewed my love for creating on my iPad. I’ve been taking notes and journaling, practicing drawing faces, doing art journal pages, and doing acrylic-like paintings. I find myself enjoying creating art again. When I felt like I was creating with a colored pencil all the time everything started to feel tedious, but now that I feel like I’m writing or painting with something that feels like a wet gel pen, it is so enjoyable.

My hand no longer hurts when creating (unless of course I go too far and write for hours upon end). The experience is smooth. 

Giraffe artwork done with the Rock Paper Pencil Set from Astropad

Is The Rock Paper Pencil Set Worth The Money?

The Rock Paper Pencil Set is not the cheapest thing on the market. It is currently priced at $41.99, which is comparable to the more pricey screen protectors such as the Paperlike (not a fan). Keep in mind that you do get the pencil tips and the screen protector with this set though. 

Astropad says that neither the pencil nor the screen protector will wear out. 

So far I’ve had a positive experience. I’ve been using this for about 3 weeks and have not noticed any wearing down on either. I have not been being careful or precious when creating or writing. I have a heavy hand when writing and have had no noticeable wear. 

I personally think it was worth the money. 

In fact, I purchased another one in case this one does wear out. I plan to use this exclusively on my large iPad. I will keep using other screen protectors on my mini because I don’t use that often for art. The cool thing is this allowed me to try out the metal pencil tips on my other screen protector. I liked the feel of the tip with the Bersem screen protector, but didn’t use it long enough to see if there would be wear on the the screen protector. 

The Negative

The biggest negative is the wait time when ordering the Rock Paper Pencil set. This is a new product and seems to still be in a preorder type situation. 

At the time of this writing, the 12.9 inch iPad version will ship in 3-4 weeks. 

It’s worth the wait. Buy it here

Update – Why I do not recommend Version 2

The above review is about Version 1 of the Rock Paper pencil. At this time I cannot recommend Version 2. I purchased it and tried it but it had this really weird issue where I constantly had an oil slick look under the screen protector. I followed all the instructions and cleaned it multiple times with rubbing alcohol. I am hoping it was just a defective unit. Unfortunately, Astropad did not stand by their product and the customer service rep told me they could not guarantee that I wouldn’t have the same issue if I tried a replacement. They offered a refund (with shipping deducted). I sent it back to them but have not received the refund yet.

I might try it again in the future in hopes that I had a defective one; however, at this time I only recommend Version 1. I put my old Version 1 back on there and it still works great.

Please let me know if you’ve tried Version 2 and had the weird oil slick on the screen in the comments.

Having a clear screen unobstructed by weird colors is important so Version 2 is currently a no for me. I hope my version 1 lasts forever. (They said they have no plans to go back to Version 1).

2 thoughts on “AstroPad Rock Paper Pencil: The Best iPad Paper Texture?”

  1. I got version 2. I have had no issues. It came with the screen protector, 3 tips, and the sleeve. I ordered through Amazon just after Christmas 2023 and it arrived with my next delivery day. The texture has “worn” down some. At first it was rough and according to my family “loud”. It’s a bit smoother now as I’ve been using it on my iPad Pro since the day it arrived. I use a digital planner and journal. I’m learning to draw and “paint” on my iPad.

  2. Thanks Lynn! That’s helpful to know. I want to try again but feel concerned about them not standing by their product.

    By the way, as an update, they did do the refund but charged approx $6 for me shipping back the messed up one.

Leave a Comment