'Paper' Aims to Be The Ultimate iPad Sketchbook

by

There are a number of iPad sketching applications on the App Store, with Penultimate clocking as one of the top 15 most purchased iPad apps ever.

Now there's a new competitor that looks to take the iPad sketching world by storm. Paper is the first app by upstart development firm FiftyThree. A number of the employees spent time at Microsoft, developing Courier -- a dual-screen digital notebook that was axed by Microsoft.

The Verge's Ellis Hamburger spoke to the team about the app.

When you first open the app, you first see a panoramic view of all of your notebooks floating in mid-air. Each notebook looks like a premium Moleskine journal, fit with a stunning cover and pages that look soft to the touch. When you tap a notebook, you're launched into a CoverFlow-esque page browser where you can thumb through sketches in your notebook. Tap a new page and your entire screen turns an almost white shade of vanilla, unadorned by faux binder rings or ripped edges you see in other apps.

Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to reveal your artist's palette, and swipe down again to hide it. Paper comes with an eraser and just one tool to draw with, a fountain pen that's unlike any fountain pen I’ve used. The faster you move your finger, the thicker the line gets. For $1.99 each, you can purchase four other tools, denoted not by their conventional names but instead by utility: there's Write (ballpoint), Sketch (pencil), Outline (marker), and Color (watercolor paintbrush). Each of the five tools has its own unpredictable personality worth mastering, which makes these instruments so much more interesting than conventional digital pens and pencils you can find in other apps. The FiftyThree team chose these five tools because they encompass the five most common scenarios they encounter when mapping out ideas and art on a daily basis.


Check out The Verge's lengthly article for much more about the app and the team behind it.

For those who want to jump in and try it out, Paper for iPad is a free download on the App Store. [Direct Link]

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
112 months ago



Wow. Brace yourselves, folks. Stories like this are all we're gonna get for awhile. It's gonna be a lonnnnng wait till summer or dare I say even later for a new iPhone announcement.


what do you want? a new iPhone every day?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 months ago

This app has potential, but it's freemium right now. It comes with one pen nib and a tiny color palette. In-app purchases will add up quickly.


I guess for casual users that might be a problem. But come on, what's it going to cost you to load up everything, like $15? You're basically getting a cheaper but much higher resolution Wacom Cintique and Corel Painter (the 12" Cintiq model is 1280x800 and $1,000, Painter is like $400). Yes, I know this is more limited in what it can do, but it can replace a lot of what people typically do with those tools.

Peoples' sense of value is all out of whack IMO, that's an amazing deal for something that looks like it can be a real, serious sketching/drawing tool. FIFTEEN DOLLARS!! That really does not seem like a great hardship for someone who can already afford a $500-$800 iPad and $10-$30 stylus. A few years ago, you couldn't even get a piece of shareware utility software that makes animated .gifs for $15, now you get a mini art studio, sheesh.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 months ago
Man, I think people are really, really missing the point here. The app, as-is, is a free demo with no time limit. Use it to see if you like it. If not, delete and move on with your life. If you do, you may wish to buy one of the options - or you can still use it as-is. I don't get the hand-wringing going on here. The option would be them charging $7.99 for this and a bunch of people being mad because they paid for something that doesn't do what they want it to do. For free, you can find out if it fits your life and needs or not. No need to get panties a-wadded.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 months ago
To everyone complaining about $8.00:

I challenge you to go out and buy a sketchbook, 9 pencils, 9 fountain ink pens, 18 markers, 8 tubes of paint and an eraser for under $8.00.

Side note:

Here are two of my creations using Paper http://beedough.tumblr.com/
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 months ago

Now if only the iPad screen refresh rate was high enough so you didn't have to draw achingly slow. And it registered levels of pressure with stylus support. Or the touchscreen delay for presses was faster.

Really? I would posit that you either (1) have a severely broken iPad, or (2) are confusing your Samsung Note with an iPad. I'd put money on the latter, in fact.

(Obviously, this is in reply only to the screen refresh rate and touchscreen delay ... levels of pressure in a stylus outside of the "how much does the nub squish" approximation is not something iPad has ever had)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
112 months ago
What a cool video!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

iPhone 12 Pro in Graphite and iPhone 12 in Blue Shown Off in Unboxing Videos

Monday October 19, 2020 8:20 am PDT by
While the iPhone 12 Pro does not launch until Friday, we now have an early unboxing video of the device courtesy of Twitter account DuanRui, providing a closer look at the shiny new flat-edge design and sleek Graphite color option. Ben Geskin re-uploaded the unboxing video to YouTube, which we've embedded below: Geskin has also uploaded an unboxing video of the iPhone 12 in Blue: ...

Apple Releases iPadOS and iOS 14.1 With Multiple Bug Fixes Ahead of iPhone 12 Launch

Tuesday October 20, 2020 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.1, the first major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 14 operating system updates that were released in September. iOS and iPadOS 14.1 come a week after Apple released the golden master versions of the updates to developers. The iOS 14.1 update can be downloaded for free and it is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access...

Watch: iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Unboxing Videos and First Impressions

Tuesday October 20, 2020 6:05 am PDT by
Apple's embargo has lifted for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro reviews. In addition to our detailed review roundups for each device, we've rounded up over a dozen unboxing videos and first impressions below. iPhone 12 in Blue on left and iPhone 12 Pro in Pacific Blue on right via Engadget Key new features of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro include a flat-edge design, 5G support, a much faster A14 ...

Gold Version of iPhone 12 Pro Apparently Has a More Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel Frame

Tuesday October 20, 2020 11:56 am PDT by
iPhone 12 Pro reviews hit the web today, and one of the more interesting tidbits came from TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino, who revealed that the Gold version of the device apparently has a more fingerprint resistant coating applied to the stainless steel frame. From his review:Most of the iPhone 12 Pro finishes still use a physical vapor deposition process for edge coating. But the new gold...

Photographer Austin Mann Tests the iPhone 12 Pro's Camera

Wednesday October 21, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
Travel photographer Austin Mann usually performs an in-depth review of new iPhone models to test their camera performance in real-world scenarios. To test Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro, Mann traveled to Glacier National Park, Montana. Mann focused on some of the biggest camera upgrades with the iPhone 12 Pro, including the upgraded Wide lens, Ultra Wide Night mode, and LiDAR autofocus, across a...

iPhone 12 Pro Max Has Smaller 3,687 mAh Battery According to Regulatory Filing

Tuesday October 20, 2020 8:48 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro Max is equipped with a 3,687 mAh battery, which is around 7% less capacity than the 3,969 mAh battery in the iPhone 11 Pro Max, according to a regulatory filing published by TENAA, the Chinese equivalent of the FCC. The regulatory filing, spotted by MacRumors, also lists the iPhone 12 Pro Max with 6GB of RAM as seen in benchmark results last week. Apple has filed ...

5G Drains iPhone 12 Battery 20% Faster Than 4G in Benchmark

Wednesday October 21, 2020 3:17 am PDT by
After the first reviews for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro emerged yesterday, a new report by Tom's Guide reveals the extent of battery life reductions when using 5G. The report outlines a test wherein the iPhone surfs the web continuously at 150 nits of screen brightness, launching a new site every 30 seconds until the battery drains. Interestingly, the test was run on an iPhone 12 and...

Hands-On With Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro MagSafe Cases

Tuesday October 20, 2020 1:33 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are launching this Friday, and ahead of that release date, Apple is shipping out various accessories like the MagSafe charger and MagSafe cases. Yesterday we took a look at the MagSafe charger, and today our MagSafe case came in the mail, so we thought we'd take another look at the charger to see how it works with the case and just how strong the case magnets are. S ...

Reliable Leaker Suggests AirTags 'Coming Soon' in Two Different Sizes

Tuesday October 20, 2020 1:53 am PDT by
Apple's rumored AirTags Bluetooth tracking devices could launch imminently and will be available in two size options, based on new tweets from cryptic-but-reliable leaker L0vetodream. In typical enigmatic style, the leaker first tweeted this morning that a "big one" and a "small one" are "coming soon," but withheld what they were referring to. However that was followed an hour later with the ...