Create Beautiful Painting from your photos with Brushstroke

Create Beautiful Paintings from your photos with Brushstroke
Hot on the heel of Waterlogue app, which I reviewed recently, came Brushstroke. But while Waterlogue specialises itself in creating beautiful Watercolour sketches, Brushstroke attempts to give you more variety of painting styles, colour palettes and choices of canvas surface. Moreover Brushstroke gives you an option to order a Canvas print of your ‘painting’ directly from the app.

Brushstroke App

I’ve been playing around with the app and I’m happy with the choices and the results it has provided for me. If you like to create Painterly style images with your mobile photo, you are going to love Brushstroke.

Ray of Light

Ray of Light

Read on for my hands-on review and a complete examples of all possible styles and palletes you can have with Brushtroke. And at the bottom you can check out how you can win one of the 5 Promo Codes I am giving away.

From Van Gogh To Monet

Brushstroke is a new Painting app for iOS devices, created by the guys at Code Organa, who also made the ToonCamera, one of my favourite painterly app.

After you choose which photo you want to work with, you have the option to Move or Scale the photo.  When you satisfied with your setup, tapping on the next arrow will move you to the Paint screen.



Brushstroke gives you a choice of ‘Brushes‘ to create a variety of Paint Styles allegedly inspired by various masters from different time periods. For example from the impressionist and post-impressionist art movements, which included Van Gogh, Monet, Cézanne, Renoir, etc.



Mike from Code Organa explained further about these choice of styles “We weren’t trying to mimic one particular artist, but rather, draw inspiration across a broad range of works and periods.”

There are 7 Style Groups you can choose from: Medium, Hatched, Frayed, Simple, Bold, Abstract, and Washed. And each group consist from 3 to 8 sub-styles.

Below are examples of all the styles you can choose in Brushstroke.


From Monalisa to The Scream

Just like when you paint in areal world, in addition to the brush you would also need the Colour Palette.  Brushstroke gives you similar things.


Again Mike told us more details about these Palettes which apparently is using some technology that has never been done before on mobile:

“From the painting styles to the palettes, we’re using some unique algorithms and techniques that haven’t been done before in this context. For instance, while we offer a section of more “Instagram” like color filters, if you explore more deeply, you’ll see that some of the palette selections work with special recoloring algorithms that emulate using a real limited color palette, like in a painting. Some of the palette schemes and styles have been inspired by famous artwork, and there is more to come. Whenever you load a new image or choose a new color palette, we are analyzing the color properties of the image in realtime to provide the best rendering.”

Some examples of Palettes that are inspired by famous artworks are Andrew Wyeth works for “Brandywine“, the “Musicians” palette was inspired by Picasso’s “Three Musicians”, while “Mona” and “Scream” are inspired by, you guess it right, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”.

Just like Brushes, the Colour Palettes are divided into 8 groups: Tones, Heavy, Shades, Saturation, Varied, Threes, Twos, and Ones.

Picasso in London

Picasso in London

Check out the following samples from all possible palettes you can choose in Brushstroke:


From Canvas to Burlap

Next thing available for you to choose from is the type of surface where you paint on. You can choose from 13 different types of surface; from the standard Canvas to Paper to Wood.


I have to say though, that changing the type of surface for my ‘painting’ didn’t show much difference, at least in my tiny iPhone 5 screen. It also seems work better with certain Styles or Palettes as Mike explained here:

“We also use special algorithms to allow for “sparse” painting of the image in certain styles. This is where the canvas functionality really shows best – you can pick a canvas or surface, and choose a sparse painting style (typically towards the end of each section, M5, H4, S7, and A5 styles for example), to paint on various surfaces. But even on the non-sparse paint styles, we’re using 3D height maps and lighting for the canvas surfaces to make them as realistic as possible. Paint will actually absorb more deeply into divots in a particular canvas, and different painting styles have different properties. For instance, the “Washed” styles emulate watercolor-like paint properties on the surface, while other styles might emulate a palette knife or oil properties more.”

In my opinion, unless you want to print your work in a real surface, the surface options won’t show much difference, especially if you are only use it to share to for example Instagram.



Standard Editing Tools

Brushstroke also provides you with standard editing tools, like Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, etc. This set of tools will help you to edit your photos as you see it fit.



Let me sign it!

Here is one feature that I haven’t seen it done in other apps before. With Brushstroke you can create a Signature with your finger as if you normally sign with a pen on paper.  You can also change your signature Colour and Position.  Brushstroke will remember this and will add the signature on every image you are working on.


On the topic of this cool feature, Mike said:

“We wanted to allow our users to personalize their paintings by signing them – you can then move, scale, and rotate your signature, and select a signature color from a palette of colors we build from the image in real time.”

Very cool indeed!


Share or Print

Last but not least is the Sharing feature. You can share to the usual social network sharing, e.g. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

In addition to this, Brushstroke has a partnership with CanvasPop to offer you high-quality canvas print (as in real life print). Code Organa team aimed to integrate the experience directly into the app’s workflow:

“When you see the image hanging in a frame on the share screen, you’re seeing what the actual printed painting will look like hanging on your wall. You can choose a frame and a size, and you can have your artwork delivered and hanging on your physical wall in a few days.”

As you choose the Frame and Size you desire, Brushtroke will show you how much will this cost at the top of the screen.

This is probably not the cheapest Canvas Print you can get, but being able to order your print directly after you create your masterpiece is absolutely convenient. Thought it would be even better if Brushstroke also offers the standard photo-paper prints. Do you hear me guys?

Final Verdict

I’m really glad that another app dev has managed to create an alternative for creating Painterly style images, and a very good alternative too! With so many styles and palettes combination you certainly won’t have an shortage of inspirations.

I’m not sure about the Surface feature though, they don’t seem to make much difference to the image as far as I’m concerned.

The ability to order a Canvas print right from the app is a nice edition, although how many of us would fork $100 for one print, only time will tell. I get it, it’s a ‘painting’ so naturally it should be printed on canvas. However I would also love to have alternative (maybe cheaper) options to print my image on a regular photo paper. This is my wish-list for the next version.



You can get Brushstroke on the App Store for £1.99/$2.99/Euro 2.69 or you can try win one of the 5 Promo Codes I’m giving away. Just follow the instruction below and you are in.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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By | 2017-01-29T21:11:35+00:00 April 1st, 2014|Reviews|18 Comments

About the Author:

Chris Prakoso is a Tech Blogger and an avid Mobile Photographer