A lot of the poor reviews of Paper by 53 in the app store center on their IPA or in app purchase pricing scheme and what is perceived as an exorbitant cost per tool. The app is free to download. So, you get the beautiful interface with unlimited moleskine notebooks plus a beautiful pen, eraser, and colors for free. Then you have to pay $1.99 for one brush. Or $7.99 for four additional tools. It even comes out slightly more expensive when you buy all the tools together than when you buy each tool separately! You get to try the tool for free in a small screen in the “store” portion of the app before you purchase. The developers said in their website that they went for that pricing scheme so that it would mirror the experience of going to a store, trying out a pen, then buying it. This however has led many users to compare the price of a brush in Paper with a brush in other drawing apps. There’s even an entire thread on the pricing in the Paper by 53 support website.
One of the popular drawing apps frequently mentioned is these discussions is Sketchbook Pro for iPad. So I went ahead and purchased the app. Sketchbook Pro costs $4.99 vs $7.99 for Paper with all the tools. So, it’s definitely cheaper. It has a LOT of features. It has brushes that “paint” cobwebs or feathery fringes or instead of plain lines. There are 45 options just for the type of line a brush will make!! Then, you can adjust the radius and opacity of every brush. So, one cannot even count the number of options available just for one brush!
When I was just doodling around with the features in Sketchbook Pro, my doodles looked quite impressive! Especially the lines of feathery fringes and cobwebs! When tried drawing some birds in Sketchbook Pro, the results were corny. There’s a bit of a lag from when you move your pen and when the line gets rendered. It’s distracting and gets in the way of the drawing experience. All the features and options in Sketchbook Pro are great IF you are used to using those kinds of tools. Big IF! If not, then there is a lot to learn and get used to. And then, the results tend to look very “digital”.
After spending some time with Sketchbook Pro, I now appreciate the design of Paper even more! Paper recreates the experience of using actual paper and pens more fully. It is a very different experience from using the usual digital drawing app. When you use Sketchbook Pro, you’re thinking: How does this app behave? How do these tools work? With Paper, the app fades into the background (of your thought process) because the tools feel just like their real-life counterparts! But better! In Paper, you can erase an ink and watercolor! You can rewind. You have unlimited pages in your moleskine! You don’t run out ink. Your colors stay clean! There’s no mess. It really makes drawing fun!
Check out Made With Paper. The site features work done by different artists using Paper. I want to see drawings of BIRDS using Paper!