This stuff is so much stranger than skeumorphic interfaces.
The Sensu Artist Brush was created from a desire to have an authentic brush to use with drawing and painting apps on the iPhone and iPad. The revolutionary technology uses special synthetic brush hair that is infused with conductive properties to produce real-life paint effects in your apps.
JetPens has an interview up with the guy who leads the shop that designed it, called Developed by Artist Hardware:
We have favorites and revel in the fact that they improve and update frequently. In these apps, watercolor really behaves like watercolor, oil paint looks like oil paint. The Sensu brush takes that reality up another notch.
So, there exists software that uses complex modeling to simulate the interaction of watercolor and oil paint with various surfaces. Look at what went into Paper by Fiftythree’s color picker.
The difference in our brush is that we bring this understanding of artist brush making to this new tool. We spent a lot of time worrying about how it felt to paint. We made a tool that you can feel on the screen as it makes contact. It’s very responsive like the best sable watercolor brushes.
Hmmm what are these “best sable watercolor brushes”?
The hair is obtained from the tail of the kolinsky (Mustela sibirica), a species of weasel rather than an actual sable; The finest brushes are made from the male hair only, but most brushes have a mix of about 60/40 male-to-female hair. Kolinsky bristles tend to be pale red in colour with darker tips. The weasel is not an animal that is raised well in captivity, and is generally isolated to the geographical region of Siberia. Due to this difficulty in harvesting the hair, and the fact that other natural and artificial bristles are not comparable in quality, makes these bristles extremely valuable and consequently expensive. Those who use the kolinsky sable brush claim it has superior strength, slenderness, and resilience when compared with other sable brushes.
Presumably, the problem here, besides cost, is that the tail fur of a Siberian weasel does not have the right dielectric κ-value to trigger the iPad’s capacitive touch screen, so a synthetic substitute had to be developed.
Meanwhile, the reason I came across this is that I was looking on Jetpens for something that could duplicate the functionality of Paper’s watercolor tool on physical paper. I’ve never really used watercolors before but I like how they work in Paper and I was like “hmmm maybe I could get whatever real-life thing these are based on?”