April 26, 2014

Brushstroke for iPad | App Review

When I received a request to have the Brushstroke app for iPad reviewed for Tech Envy, my first reaction was, "Meh." It was probably another photo app used to doll up Instagram, I thought. Wow, I couldn’t have been more wrong! (Spoiler: We are giving away this paid app to one lucky reader in five days! Details below.)

Here's another spoiler: If you make a digital painting, you can have a real one delivered to your doorstep via the Brushstroke app!

Brushstroke appA zoomed-in sample painting made via Brushstroke

I have more than enough photo editing apps on my Android gadgets and publishing a photo app review seemed a little too ordinary. My brother, on the other hand, has very few photo apps on his iPad, so we decided to go ahead with the Brushstroke review. (I’m pitching in on his behalf.)


Brushstroke App for Ipad: App for the Artistically Challenged?

It's worth repeating: Brushstroke is not just another photo editing app. It actually renders photos into digital paintings. Here's the part I love: You can have these paintings printed on your preferred medium and delivered to your doorstep! (Delivery limited to U.S. addresses for now.)

Let me show you how exactly I used the Brushstroke app.

Here's a digital painting of a bowl of fruits - I made it using Brushstroke app. It does look like a real painting!

Brushstroke sample

I actually based it on the photo below.


I will zoom in on the digital painting so that you can see the brushstrokes.

There are other photo apps that render any photo into paintings, but not with the same detailing as the Brushstroke app! The name of the app is very apt.

Using Brushstroke App

Now, here's what you can do with Brushstroke. Let me share with you how exactly I used the app from scratch.

To use Brushstroke, you can pick a photo from your own archive. You may also take a new photo.

using brushstroke app

You can crop the photo before proceeding with the painting. Remember, this isn't just for Instagram, so you don’t have to use a square-shaped photo!


The painting starts in the next frame. You get to choose from different brushes. The Brushstroke app has medium, frayed, abstract, and other brushes. Under each brush, there are several types you can choose from.

I personally chose an abstract brush (A1) for this painting. Most of the other brushes have strokes that are too big for a portrait. They would, however, make wonderful brushes for, say, landscape paintings.

brushstroke a1 brushI chose the A1 brush for my digital painting.


Next I chose from several palettes. You can pick from tones, different levels of saturation, and other color schemes. I chose Maura, a strong color palette that brought out the photo's accents.

Brushstroke Maura palette
Brushstroke’s Maura (under “heavy”) is perfect for the photo above.


I then chose my painting's support. Support is the substructure that you use for a painting. For instance, painters use fabric, canvas, paper, or wood.

Brushstroke canvas types

In the Brushstroke App, you can pick from different types of canvas (cold-pressed is an example), paper of different colors, and even burlap or wood.


In the next step, I adjusted the settings to my liking. You can adjust saturation, exposure, density, and many other photo settings.

If you want to remember the adjustments you made, look at the numbers at the top. But to adjust, you simply swipe back and forth until you achieve the effect you want.

adjusting saturation


I'm almost done with my digital painting at this moment! I then added my signature and chose the color I wanted for it.

signature using Brushstroke

Save, Share, or Ship

Finally, the digital painting is ready! I have three choices. I can save the photo to my library, share it on Instagram or on other social networks, or have it shipped to my doorstep.

Shipping for Brushstroke

Own the Actual Painting!

If you like the painting, you can have it framed! The developers of the Brushstroke iPad app have teamed up with CanvasPop to bring your painting to your doorstep.

Brushstroke and CanvasPop

You can choose from different frames (or none at all, in case you just want the canvas mounted). If you prefer your painting framed, the wooden frames come in black and white (I chose the latter).

brushstroke app white frames

You can also specify the size of your painting. If you want it cute and small, go ahead. You can also opt for a big painting about two to three feet wide!

After you enter your shipping info, method, and payment, you're done! Soon enough, your digital painting will be mounted on your wall.

visible brushstrokes

When you look closely, you can see the brushstrokes. It does look like a real painting!


Now, let’s take a step back to appreciate what we’ve done so far. Take a look at what we started with and what we have now!

Brushstroke app review
Here’s the original photo, side by side with the end product.
(PLEASE click on the painting to see it in its full size!)

Brushstoke for iPad: App Review

This Brushstroke App for iPad review by Stef dela Cruz on concludes with a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. The Brushstroke app provides an easy way for anyone - even those who know nothing about art - to turn their photos into paintings. These paintings can be printed, framed, and delivered by filling out an in-app form. Unlike many photo editing apps, Brushstroke is not just another Instagram auxiliary. It transforms your photos into digital art, which you can either save to your photo library or made into real paintings, to be delivered to your home.

Rating for Brushstroke App for iPad:

4.5 Star Rating

I didn't give it a perfect score because of one thing I wished the app could do. Perhaps I'm being too particular, but it would be nice if the brush strokes could be made bigger for small paintings.

If you order a small painting, the brushstrokes might no longer be as visible as when you order a bigger painting. (I realized that after I tried printing the digital painting myself. If I didn't zoom in, I didn’t see the grain and the brushstrokes.)

Other than that, I liked the interface and the ease with which I accomplished the whole task! If you're into photos and you want actual canvas paintings on your wall, the Brushstroke app is definitely something you should look into.

Now, I know you’ve been waiting for this particular moment: the Brushstroke App Giveaway!

Want Brushstroke? Join the Giveaway!

We have already chosen one lucky winner on Instagram today, but we get the feeling you want another shot at getting Brushstroke for yourself, so here you go! The mechanics are simple.

To qualify for the giveaway, simply do the following:

  1. Follow us on Instagram (@techenvynet).
  2. Post a selfie on your own Instagram account and tell us why Brushstroke is awesome.
  3. Use the hashtags #TechEnvyGiveaway and #FollowTechEnvy .

We will pick the best entry – the most creative, wildest, and most original Instagram post – five days from now! That’s on April 30, 2014, 5 p.m. (GMT+8). Make sure you followed the instructions above to the letter or your entry won’t qualify.

We are a fledgling blog and we don’t have too many followers on Instagram yet, so I’m sure there will be very few people joining in. In other words, you have a big chance of winning!

And whether you win a free download of Brushstroke or not, here’s a great idea.

Tech Envy Tip:
Purchase the Brushstroke app and give it to your friend on his birthday! It's a thoughtful, unique, and affordable gift which your friend will definitely appreciate.

Have you used Brushstroke before? Are you using a similar app which you think accomplishes more than Brushstroke? Feel free to share what's on your mind - leave a comment.



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