Artstudio App on iPad


"Thank You UPS" by Mia Robinson (painted on iPad with Artstudio)

Last week, I made two commitments to self upon the arrival of my iPad—1) My very first iPad painting would be the portrait of the UPS delivery person who brought it to me and 2) I would broaden my horizons by painting said portrait with an app that I did not use as much on the iPhone.  For this, I opted to go with Lucky Clan’s ArtStudio

If ever there was an app that was destined for the larger scale, this would be it. The iPhone version has clearly been on the rise as a fingerpainter’s app of choice, with way advanced coloring options, multi-Brush selection and creative image enhancers like emboss, color reverse and sepia.  The settings options range from simple tool selection and sizing adjustments (which can be accessed through short cuts), to more in depth settings surrounding opacity, line quality, layers and space settings. 

Screen shot of Advanced Brush Settings on Artstudio for iPad

The iPad version itself is pretty true to the orginal, but with a little extra room.   The program runs very smoothly (no doubt the touch responsiveness can be attributed to the stellar build of the iPad itself).  You might notice that the additional space allows for a broader selection of color swatches.  Beyond that, if you are familiar with the iPhone app, the adjustment to the iPad version should be relatively seamless.  For those unfamiliar with the app, there is a Tutorial that can easily be accessed under the save/new image icon that lists all the program shortcuts (very helpful!)

Screenshot of Tutorial on Artstudio for iPad

The cons are slight, and I’ve only one and a half.  First, I had an issue with the brushes on the larger scale. I personally would like to see a softer brush that allows for you to lay down more saturated color.  The current brushes give that dry bristle effect–“scratchy”, which is great for texture development, but not so helpful when trying to lay down large blocks of color.  However, even with that, I was able to work around it by smudging my finger on the screen (like coloring with a crayon) versus lifting my finger between strokes.  And you also have the airbrush and smudge tools as options for softening.

And second, this isn’t really a con, just a humble suggestion.  I’d like to see the lessons  feature added to the iPad app.  I liked them on the iPhone, and, although I did not use them for my own reference, it was a fun and clever way to teach my little nephew how to finger paint on the device.  Helps to build confidence and makes the app far less intimidating to the novice.

As for the immediate post-iPad release updates (which are free to anyone who’s installed the app), Artstudio has already submitted for up to 5 layers, almost unlimited undo/redo options (which would have been a 3rd con), improved image quality and canvas sizes: 1024×1024, 1024×768.  All signs that the developers are listening to the needs of the artists.

"Just Fallen" by Corliss Blakely (painted with Artstudio for iPad)

Finally, what I find almost impressive as the interface is the app’s “Special Launch Price” for new iPad owners. You can download from the app store for a mere $0.99 (80% off) with a lifetime guarantee of free updates.  And, honestly, when it comes down to plain old fingerpainting (which is ultimately what we all do), this is clearly A STEAL.  That alone makes the app well worth a try.

"Chaplin" by Sunil_S (painted on iPad with Artstudio)

11 Responses to “Artstudio App on iPad”

  • Joey Livingston Says:

    Great review, Mia! 🙂 I’ll have to pick up a copy and check it out.

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  • Kevin Says:

    Excellent review, I didn’t initially buy this app because of the same issue, i never really used it on my iphone. but since i saw the sale price and more of the features in this write up i couldn’t resist. Thanks Mia!

  • Sylwester Los - Lucky Clan Says:

    Thanks for a great review! I dind’t promote ArtStudio for iPad yet, because I didn’t test in on a device. I don’t wanna promote untested app.
    However i submitted an update 2 days ago with:
    – available canvas sizes: 768×1024, 1024×768, 1024×1024
    – new undo/redo system, with almost infinite number of steps
    – 5 layers
    – improved drawing quality
    – image info displayed in “load/save/…” screen
    – better stability
    – several other bugs fixed

    And finally i bought iPad on allegro (it is Polish ebay), so tomorrow i will finally test it and try to make app better.

    Sylwester Los, Lucky Clan

  • Luis Peso Says:

    Excellent review Mia! I’m going to purchase it…wait! I don’t have an iPad yet! ;)))
    I have the iPhone version and I agree with you, I miss a simple and rounded brush to block colors. As you say, I have to use a big textured-scratchy brush instead, BUT first, it’s laggy, second I don’t like the way the smudge tool works..too much “moving colors” instead of blending.
    Said that, have these things changed?
    And I hope ArtStudio guys will think of Europe and the delay before finishing that discount 😉

  • suzi54241 Says:

    Best new app out there and it definitely shows lots of promise for the future as well. And I laugh because my favorite feature is the scratchy brushes! LOL, to each his own! Great review Mia, You are really doing a great job on this site.

  • Mia Robinson Says:

    Thanks all, was presently surprised by it. Luis, yes, you are right on the smudge tool, but it DOES help to soften. I personally never use smudge…more…transparent layers of color to smooth it all out…I haven’t seen a good smudge tool in any of the apps as of yet….something to work on. And Luis, I cannot wait for you to get your hands on one…iPad has no idea of what’s coming!

  • Mia Robinson Says:

    PLEASANTLY surprised*

  • Rob Shoesmith Says:


    I am involved with an app called learn to draw by walter foster publishing.

    Would you be interested in blogging about this?

    It has proved to be very populat with children and adults alike.

    Please email if interested.



  • Ian Davy Brown Says:

    Just started using ArtStudio, have found it very good but I’m not sure about MOVING an object. Only found it can be done by using a selection box then going to LAYER menu then MOVE then inch in direction. Is this the only way? Feel I should be able to using selection box then drag but only selection box (outline) moves not content. Any advice greatly received Ian ps have Googled for tutorial on this but not discovery any on this aspect.

  • Sydney wicks Says:

    Help. I too cannot understand select and move. Also I would like to find answers to these kind of questions easily. Is there support given by the app itself?

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