An infinite canvas for artists
Artwork is no longer restricted to a landscape or portrait orientation, or a set resolution. You can work at any size May lack the depth of its rivals, but it’s one of the most enjoyable pure drawing apps on the Mac.
£17.49 Developer Mischief Inc, madewithmischief.com OS 10.8 or higher Requires 64-bit processor, OpenGL 2.0 or greater
Mischief may not be as well known in digitalpainting circles as Adobe or Corel, but that is about to change. What sets it apart from similar apps such as Painter or Sketchbook Pro is its infinite canvas. Artwork is no longer restricted to a landscape or portrait orientation, or a set size and resolution. You can work at any size and zoom in and out with its ‘trillion times zoom’ without your artwork losing quality or lines becoming pixellated. Mischief can be quite processor heavy, but during testing on our 2012 MacBook Pro we had no noticeable lag and the app worked smoothly no matter how many layers we tried it with.
The resolution and size of your image is set when exporting, and you can save the entire canvas or just a selection.
Using Mischief is super simple with its subtle unfussy interface. With just four floating palettes on-screen it has a fairly limited toolset compared to its rivals, with only brush, eraser and shape tools on offer. As such, the app’s functionality is relatively basic too. For example, when it comes to brushes there are only six defaults available, three of which are quite similar, with limited options to further customise them.
There are a couple of neat touches. For example, when zooming you can choose to have the brush size reduce or increase with the zoom ratio, or have it remain constant – this is great for adding detail or swathes of colour with ease – and there’s also adjustable ‘smoothing’, which helps remove hand-shake from artwork and is a great way to ensure line work has a steady vector-like quality to it (while retaining your own artistic intentions).
Mischief really comes into its own when using a graphics tablet. Using a stylus and gestures on our Wacom Intuos was easy, and although traditional shortcuts on the app are subtly different (especially zooming), on a tablet you quickly forget this.
When looked at with a critical eye, Mischief may seem like an inferior product as at the time of writing it costs less than both Corel Painter Lite and SketchBook Pro. However this doesn’t take into account the pure enjoyment you get from using it. Both Painter and Sketchbook Pro can be unwieldy with their dense menus and palettes, whereas Mischief is so simple and fun, it’s like using your favourite notebook and pen. As such, you quickly forget you are using an app and you can just lose yourself in your drawing instead of hunting around for the next tool. Alex Thomas
Mischief’s Infinite canvas lets you create a huge variety of images without worrying about pixel dimensions.
Colour and brush palettes can be simple and unobtrusive or expanded for more options.