ArtPad iPhone review

ArtPad iPhone reviewThe iPhone and iPad aren't just for shooters and sims. Touchscreen technology provides the perfect platform for bona fide graphic design suites, and ArtPad does its utmost to provide an accessible yet powerful way of creating works of art on the move.

Starting out with a blank slate, budding artists will be able to draw on a huge number of pre-made shapes and templates. Adding them onto the canvas is as simple as dragging and dropping; with elements ranging from simple geometric shapes to complex body parts and backgrounds. Text (in a variety of fonts) can be added and edited to taste, with only minor pixelation at higher magnifications.

Childhood fans of Fuzzy Felt will feel right at home.

This simple functionality is simple to learn (despite the tutorial being slightly on the slim side) and surprisingly capable. As you can see thanks to my radical new redesign of our beloved site logo. I feel it fully represents our creed.

The pinch mechanics are used to great effect when it comes to resizing or rotating elements. Just select the bit you want, drag it to the size you'd like and let go. Job done.

ArtPad iPhone reviewThere are a few major gripes that take some getting used to. Rather than choosing an object's colour from a convenient palette, you'll need to drag an unhelpful 'tint' slider to choose the shade. The object only updates when you take your finger off of the screen... and without any labels, it's pot luck as to what colour you'll actually end up with! Having to select colours by trial and error is not conducive to creating a masterpiece.

It's also difficult to resize a layer without rotating it at the same time, and vexingly, lifting your finger off of the screen frequently results in the object moving a couple of pixels. This might be down to my big fat hands and the sensitive screen as opposed to a design flaw - but placing objects together can be a major hassle. The lack of a 'free draw' option is also a little vexatious, as it wastes the doodling functionality demonstrated by the likes of JellyCar 3.

At the end of the day, the biggest question facing ArtPad owners is what exactly you're supposed to do with your epic creations once you've finished them! It's possible to use the built-in screenshot function to create PNG files that can be synced to your computer, but otherwise, I'm unclear as to the point of the whole endeavor. They do make outstanding wallpapers, mind.

The lack of uploading, file conversion or community sharing aspects are a major oversight in this reviewer's opinion. Their inclusion would make made for an essential app rather than a capable niche diversion.


  • Slick, powerful mechanics
  • Huge selection of elements with free DLC
  • Our new logo rolls out tomorrow [shut up Jon - Ed]


  • Colour selection and menus in general needs tweaking
  • No free draw or file sharing functions
  • What's the point, exactly?

Summary: ArtPad is quite different than anything else on the App Store, and quite brilliant in its unassuming little way. Unfortunately its limitations mean that only the most avid artists should consider an investment.

Developer: Dropstone Digital

Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later.

Price: £1.19 - App Store

ArtPad iPhone review

Read more about: iOSApple iPhoneApple iPhone 3GApple iPhone 3GSApple iPhone 4

Add a comment

dropstone  Mar. 21, 2011 at 13:27

Hi Jonathan,

I'm the developer of ArtPad and have just read your review. Thanks for the 4/5 rating and you made some good points and observations. I thought I'd drop in a comment as I noticed you didn't see the Facebook and sharing functionality that is built right in. This can all be accessed from the 'My Artpads' list using the standard iPhone details button (the blue circle with a white arrow). Check this screenshot for the file detail view viewed after clicking those blue buttons:

Agreed, this will need to be more obvious. On the next update (within the next two weeks) I'll change it so this detail view is shown immediately after saving an Artpad.

Also the gallery has just been added to the Artpad website with examples of what can be created and shared…

Thanks again for the review, and all the best with your blog!



hkat  Apr. 29, 2011 at 20:43

Please enable access to Camera Roll to expand on the functionality of the app.


You don't need an account to comment. Just enter your email address. We'll keep it private.