Price: FREE ($4.99 for Full Version) Score: 10/10 Category: Drawing

Inspire — Paint, Draw & Sketchby KiwiPixel sets the bar pretty high for itself. The App Store description includes big promises like “BEST color blending capability on the App Store” and “a painting app like no other.” Tons of reviews from app experts are also included, all of which are glowing. So, the question is simple: can an app with so much good press live up to the hype its generated for itself?



The answer is an unequivocal yes. One look at the in-app gallery in the Free version shows just how versatile and precise the painting tools are. The controls are so sensitive, you can add the barest whisper of paint perfectly on the first try. With round, flat, and fan brush settings to experiment with at various sizes, you can easily customize your tools. There’s also rotation for each brush head, a feature that not all free painting apps offer.

The interface, while slightly confusing, is still fairly intuitive for new users. 10 levels of undo and redo are available, and there are There are 8 “hotspots” around the edge of the screen that can be tapped to perform commonly used actions quickly and easily, or turned off completely if you don’t like working with them.

The blending of the colors is remarkable. While other painting apps, particularly free ones, simply let you overlay one color on top of the next, working with Inspire is more like painting with real oils. They blur, blend, and and smear just like real oils.

The only technique from real painting we couldn’t seem to replicate with the app was flicking or drizzling paint on the canvas, a la Jackson Pollock. However, a non-realistic paint mode adds versatility to the brushes, allowing you to draw and sketch as well as paint.

Best of all, exporting to email or by copying the image is a total breeze: two taps and you’re done. It’s also easy to share your work on social sites like Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook, though adding a utility for DeviantArt would also make sense. And don’t feel limited by the small screen size you’re creating on: paintings can be exported at resolutions of up to 6 times the original in both PNG and JPEG formats using the free Inspire Exporter app available for both Windows and Mac OS.

Inspire Free is surprisingly intuitive and powerful for a free app, though if you do feel the need to upgrade, you can: the pay-version of Inspire is $4.99. But with such a great free version, you won’t feel the need to do that anytime soon.

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