Paper by FiftyThree

Paper by FiftyThree

A hot jotter with more tools than it lets on

Anyone who has read the biography of Apple founder Steve Jobs will know he was very much interested in creativity. For him, it was all about empowering the user to produce something in the simplest of ways. And it is clear that this is also the aim of Paper by FiftyThree.

Although it’s a very unusual name for an app, what it does is offer a blank canvas on which to draw freehand. It provides a series of books into which you can put your artistic skills to good use, tapping each one to open and swiping to turn the pages.

The first book is called Making Paper, and it shows what you can do with the app. The other two are labelled Ideas and Sketches. On these blank pages you are free to do what you want, adding pages and sketching out your thoughts so that you have a great showcase of your talents.

Opening a fresh page can be rather daunting, with only a blank screen in front of you. But the magic comes when you swipe up from the bottom edge. Now you have access to the Tool Tray. From here, you are able to choose a pen and a colour and get drawing.

Pay attention to that opening instruction screen. This shows you how to undo mistakes. It’s a rather unique method of taking two fingers and moving them anticlockwise. It’s a very quick and intuitive method once you get used to it – although if you want to backtrack quite a few stages, you may find it a pain.

Although the actual app is free, if you want to go beyond the basic toolkit, you have to pay. It can start to get expensive, even though you are able to control what you do and don’t want from the package.

Given you only have a palette of eight colours to start with, you may wish to splash your cash on tools like Sketch, Outline or Write, which come to £1.49/$1.99 each. Otherwise you will be limited. What we do like, however, is a try before you buy option so that you can work out what you do and don’t want to add to your package.

Rated 4 out of 5

A basic package to start, but the customisation options mean this can turn into a nice paint app.