Very fond of my Surface Pro and Wacom Feel but haven’t had the time to sit and play with it as I’m normally in work mode at the moment ๐Ÿ™

That said… Last night I painted this in ArtRage to wind down from an odd old day:

and this morning I painted this in Fresh Paint to start what likely will be another odd one ๐Ÿ™‚ :

Neither painting took much longer than an hour and each was the right way to start or end the day.

I love ArtRage and Fresh Paint equally but for different reasons. FP is free, for a start, and has a lovelyย  playful feel to it. It arguably contains the closest approximation of resistance and gloop from pixels pretending to be paint. There are limitations (no layers, no palette knife, no animation capture and so on) but it’s a joyous and uncluttered experience and is the first app I look for when drawing on the demo screens of any shop that I fall into. It’s Windows 8 and Win 8 phone only.

ArtRage is similar – in that it mimics real world tools and physics – but contains so many more options it can seem a little bewildering on first install*. Like Fresh Paint it captures the feel, resistance and tactility of paint and is available on a range of devices for a remarkably low price. For what you pay you get a heck of a lot of pixel art possibilities. You can record an animation, upscale, use a wide range of real world tools and play about with the settings of the brushes to your hearts content.

Which app is best? Both are, in the places where they are best at.

Which do I prefer painting with? Both. They are equally good apps and, depending on the mood I’m in and what sort of picture I want to come out with neither make me wish I was painting in the other. Like the stylus blog post yesterday – why choose? Lots of apps do lots of remarkable things and, on the Surface Pro, both are must installs**.

*That said ArtRage has a very good interface and shows off the range of options in, generally, a very gentle and sensible manner. There’s just a LOT more choice and that can be a bit scary. We’re not talking Flash or Photoshop levels of ‘Blimey! Buttons!’ interface though.

**Didlr is a must install too imo, and I’ve got a lot of love for that app, but it’s not working on my SurfyPro at the moment ๐Ÿ™ boo.