The touch interface on our modern mobile devices seems like it was purpose built for finger painting, doesn’t it? So it’s no surprise that there are a plethora of drawing apps available, from incredibly detailed art packages to the most basic doodlers. Rapidrabbit’s Spray Can aims to fit somewhere in between, structured as an easy to use, hard to master graffiti-style drawing app, but with a trick up its sleeve.
The trick? A neatly implemented social networking element to connect likeminded artists. After all, what good is spending hours crafting a stunning piece of spray paint art if you can’t brag about it and share it with your peers? Spray Can’s social integration is based on an image feed where the latest works are shared, as well as artist profiles and even a direct messaging component (unlocked via a $0.99 in-app purchase). This sense of community makes Spray Can quite a compelling option for aspiring artists looking to make a name for themselves.
The tools at your disposal are quite limited in the free version – you’ve given one brick wall “canvas” and only the most basic colour palette to work with – but it’s still possible to come up with some impressive creations without buying extra features. The spray technique feels fluid under your finger, and with practice the whole experience becomes rather intuitive. Soon you’ll be blending colors into subtle gradients, accenting edges with a small hard brush in contrasting shades… there are a lot of artistic tricks to learn, but the results can be quite startling.
The biggest gripe with the app’s functionality is the lack of editable independent layers – something that the Spray Can community has been quite vocal about, so perhaps a future update will change that. On a technical level, there’s an annoying loop where it seems impossible to switch back to the spray can after using the eraser. You’re forced to swipe back out to the canvas select screen and then re-load your image before you can continue. The interface it also not as user-friendly as it could be, especially on the cramped iPhone screen.
These issues aren’t enough to tarnish the overall feel of Spray Can though. The creative aspect is finger-swooshingly addictive, hard to put down once you get a feel for it – you’ll struggle like an absolute novice at first, but continued effort yields satisfying results. Attaching a community element means even more reason to get involved, to share, to explore other artists work, and could be a great platform to showcase your own work. Ideally you’ll want to spend some cash on a full spectrum color picker, full HD, extra canvases and so on to make the most of it, but even as a free app you’re getting the raw materials to let your creativity loose.
(Please note, this review is rated based on the free version of the app, and takes into account the pricing and value of the various in-app purchases)
Spray Can requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.