If you sketch, doodle, jot, draw or paint, you will love Paper by FiftyThree.
That's what I think, anyway, especially if you use an oStylus (Bradtastic Approved, of course!) the world's best capacitive touch stylus. Of course, you need an iPad.
Download Paper by FiftyThree (from the App Store)
They've announced on their blog that Paper has been downloaded 1.5 million times, an impressive number, especially for an app that isn't a game (and even for a free app). They also announced the number of pages that have been created, though I don't know how they know that without spying on people's usage… a scary thought. I will have to ask them.
Initially, I didn't like Paper.
I thought it was overpriced form over function, more style than substance. My opinion was formed using the one free tool, and though I'd like to think that the App Store reviews did not influence me, I'm sure that that was a factor as well.
I was comparing Paper to "pro" drawing and painting tools. In doing so, I missed the beauty of Paper — simplicity. I saw its minimalist interface as a negative, something between crude and kitschy. I thought of paper as one thing trying to be something else, and decided to dislike it on that alone. Throughout, I still acknowledged that custom ink engine and crisp feel were special — noteworthy… good.
About a week or so ago, I downloaded The Essentials (the $7.99 USD IAP) after discussing it with several people, reading reviews and emailing FiftyThree. I decided that it made more sense for two reasons:
- The Essentials may include other features or tools in the future.
- it's a hassle to download each individually at a savings of 3¢.
I first got the full Paper experience first on the iPad 2, and was immediately struck by the difference. The trial versions (called "Try it!" in the Store) do not do justice. Paper instantly transforms (think butterfly) from dull to dangerous. This wonderful sketching app delivers a rich, satisfying experience, perfect for doodlers and serious designers alike.
Some ways to use Paper
Paper can be used to make masterpieces — I've seen some — but that's not its strength. Here are a few ideas.
- visual notes
Both of these have dedicated apps, but the simplicity and aesthetics makes Paper a good choice for concepts.
- doodles, scribbles
graphology (handwriting analysis)
good for phone numbers and jotting quick thoughts while on the phone; also great for idle moments and rants (while you're placed on hold)
- logo ideas
- conceptual design
artists of all skill levels and types will likely find that Paper's tools are a great balance between speed and control.
Four stars, work in progress.
Paper isn't perfect — it's WIP. FiftyThree is still adding features. If you have suggestions, contact them; I did, and got a very sincere reply. Being critical of an app and offering constructive feedback early on will help to shape the direction of this tool.
Some people just don't like Paper, and that's okay. There are a lot of drawing apps on the iPad, and many great professional tools such as:
- SketchBook Pro
And there are inexpensive alternatives with wonderful functionality as well:
- Sketch Club
- Infinite SketchPad
There's also fun, social stuff like Clibe.
I created an Infinite Sketch discussing key points of Paper, pros and cons, and additional features that I'd like to see.
Check out a web version of the Infinite SketchPad outline that I made. I would love to hear your ideas as well, so don't hesitate to comment or message me!
Coming soon: more detailed thoughts on Paper, including comments on specific tools and the UI.
(btw, I love being able to set auto-post times for blog entries, allowing me to write when I'm feeling okay, yet stagger the entries. I know this isn't a new or revolutionary feature and that many people use it, but still… it's brilliant!)