Brushes in Review – Dali Finger to the Rescue

We gots an artist in the house!

We gots an artist in the house!

In the strain of all great artists, I subjected myself to self torture and then re-created shigzeo as only I know him (me). Brushes, by Steve Sprang is that method and the outcome is the Monet/Van Gogh you see above.

I did not use the 3x ‘how to draw a face’ tutorial that can be seen after the jump (didn’t need it), nor did I apply learning that I received from school or study. Simply, I let the artist within me flow to the nearly excellent canvass that is my iPod Touch.


What can one say? Brushes is a fantastic app that is perfect for the budding artist and the astute doodler both. For the former, there is a deep pipeline for redo’s and undo’s and for the latter, enough brushes and essential painting functions to create an impressive workflow. For instance, the colour chooser is easily manipulated with pinch/zoom techniques and placed with pinpoint accuracy or used in more general placement with your thumb. You have three brushes of varying sizes and transparency masques to play with. What may appear to be a simple app, is really quite the opposite; Brushes is an app for every level of competence.

Thankfully, the interface is simple and clean. Pinching zooms out and spreading zooms in up to 800%. You can choose from a wide gamut of colours and transparency that easily spans 16bits if not more and can accent each with shades of grey. From the gallery to accessing editing functions, buttons don’t fee cramped. You can move freely within and out of the painting quickly to save, export to pictures and even use a web server function which is imbedded inside to upload to your Mac. The best part? Those pictures don’t stay iPod picture resolution, but up to 1920 * 2880 pixels.

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Before I get into who this app is designed for, I will just clean up by saying that Brushes is immaculately laid out. Every menu and function is designed for the iPod Touch and iPhone. That said, the platform cannot give enough justice to what Steve has created. If you are a Wacom or even a Nintendo DS user, you will be disappointed by the iDevice. Steve has done his best to overcome the device’s clumsiness, but if you are used to pressure sensitive, expansive work areas, you will feel cramped by the tiny obtuse platform. Constant zooming and necessity of choosing brush weight every time may become trying.

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But, this is the iDevice and not your studio’s input platform. You can paint without a computer. You can doodle on the bus or train or while at a family reunion. You can capture that cute dog you see at the park or that lovely something you just happen to spot at the cafe while in true incognito.

Brushes is an app for everyone. It works for the hardened artist who just wants ease away from the easel or wacom. It works for the doodler or sketcher who just wants to experiment and it works for those like me, who can transcend art with truly inspired works. It functions well in the iDevice and may even make you believe it is something better for a few moments, but to fully enjoy Brushes, you will have to get down and dirty with every function. In the end, your blunt finger is no match for a stylus, a brush or a pressure sensitive screen, but you may be suprised how nicely finger paintings can turn out. Brushes is the best that the iPhone can do, but it is held back by the platform, but at 4.99$, a great GRAB from the App Store.

Brushes gets a hearty Grab from TouchMyApps.

App Summary
Title: Brushes (V 1.1) Developer: Steve Sprang
Price: $4.99 App Size: 1.9 MB
  • Simple Interface
  • Great colour selections
  • High-res support (Not if you’re a PC)
  • Zoom to infinity (or 800%)
  • Ground up design for the iPod Touch and iPhone
  • Excellent navigation, undo and editing options
  • Held back by the platform
  • Easy to learn but tiring to master


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