Inspiring Artworks Created with the Brushes App

The Brushes app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad provides a unique environment for artists to create works of art by finger painting on touchscreen displays.

The app achieved notoriety in 2009 when artist, Jorge Colombo, created a cover for the New Yorker magazine with the tip of his finger.

Since then, artists all over the world have been using the Brushes App to create paintings of different styles and genres.

On Flickr, there are currently 713 groups where artists have been sharing the work they’ve created with the Brushes app. One group in particular, Just Brushes, has over 3200 members and showcases paintings created from scratch.

jBelow are some awe-inspiring examples of art collected from the Just Brushes group including amazing abstract paintings, portraits, landscapes and much more.

Untitled #85 by Tony B. Abstract painting with bold colors and brushstrokes.

Untitled #86 by Tony B. Abstract painting with lines and rich colored squares.

Untitled #14 by Jeff Babbitt. An abstract exploration of colors and black lines.

Inmaserranito For JKPP by Rick Shulman. Portrait with variety of grays, black and color.

Yellow Boy by Laurent Messager. Street scene with electrifying yellows, pinks and blues.

Fishippo by Laurent Messager. Neon-like colors on a fantastical fish.

Taffsdad/John Holiday for JKPP by Rick Shulman. Portrait with lines and shading and reflecting sunglasses.

2-35 Vincent Van Gogh by SallyAnn La Main. Woman in the field provides tribute to Van Gogh’s colors and painting style.

Pete by Rob Mance. Line drawing sketch with fine lines and shading.

Officer on Stand in Trial by Rick Shulman. Quick witness sketch with Brushes’ layers and brushes.

Stylized Landscape by Mike Piggott. Luscious green landscape with stylized lines and brush strokes.

Maiko32 by Yoshiyuki Uchida. Portrait of a woman with eye-popping colors and fine detail.

Art class #2 by Roz Hall. Another artist during a life drawing session provides inspiration for a palette of bold blues and vibrant red.

Stefanby Roz Hall. Portrait of an artist with defining wrinkles and shadows on a rich background.

Airport Random by Rick Shulman. Portait sketch of waiting woman with squiggly lines and smudged charcoal effects.

White Swan by Thijs Meuwese. Ballerina pops from the dark background with white leotard and pink tutu.

Sundown 2 by Thijs Meuwese. Sky aglow with brilliant yellows and orange as sun descends.

Daffodils by David Gwaltney. Flourishing daffodils on textured purple background.

Untitled #10 by Jeff Babbitt. Abstract painting with shapes and colors and thick brushstrokes.

Starry iPad Night by Rick Shulman. Replicated painting of van Gogh’s Starry Night. Brushes serves palette and brushstrokes well.

David Lynch iPad Brushes Sketch by Mr. Atrocity. Grey tones add to the facial features and locks of hair.

Soul by Luciana Lato. Art is soulful music in this iPad painting where sound meets a small dancing figure.

Rendezvous by SallyAnn La Main. An old masters-like landscape with delicate colors and shading.

Untitled #36 by Mengelmn. Landscape with barren tree and color streaked sky.

Cautious Crossing by Billy Steve Clayton. Landscape with cross-hatched lines, small dabbed brushstrokes and illuminating sky.

Doodling while watching The Thing by Barry Johnson. Portrait of Kurt Russell with defining lines and filled colors.

Untitled #37 by Mengelmn. Color streaked sky with finger-like tree limbs.

Lost in Translation by Rick Shulman. Portrait of Bill Murray with detailed face, strong lines and transparent glass.

Emma (left hand) by Roz Hall. Left-handed portrait with eye-catching yellow highlight streaks.

Landscape From YouTube by Takaoki Hsieh. Mountain landscape view with reflecting colors, tree-lined horizon, soft clouds on blue sky.

Fish by Takaoki Hsieh. Fish under the sea with patterned gills.

TwoKids by Takaoki Hsieh. Children leaping in patterned foliage.

BigTreeby Takaoki Hsieh. The artist’s first painting on iPad with a great big blue sky.

Random Starbucks Guy by Rick Shulman. Realism in the 2010s: big comfy chair with brick wall, coffee sign and man peering into the screen of his laptop.

Dante (Devil May Cry 3) by Raheem Nelson. Homage to a PlayStation game and anime art.

FGT! Sitting Pretty by freeboard 4 by SallyAnn La Main. Delicately painted bluebird perched on a woman’s hand.

Storm Clouds Gathering by David Gwaltney. Color streaks threaten across sky and sea.

Daybreak by David Gwaltney. Sun peaking above the horizon, sky and water make way for new day.

Hint of Spring by Shakespearesmonkey. Multimedia with pictures from mobile and traced over in Brushes iPad app.

Jar Jar Brinked by Paul Kercal. Artist’s work drawn on an iPod Touch, “done on a bus, train, tube, Eurostar and then back until the batteries ran out.”

Woman in library by Alex Raventós Cardús. Sketch with thin lines and fills of color.

Route (lle de la Réunion) by jmhincky2007. Storm sky reflected in road.

Arrangement in Dentist Office #2 by David Gwaltney. Flower still-life with reds, oranges, pinks and blue.

mire by Alex Raventós Cardús . Portrait with patterned furnishings.

Bol de plástic amb fruits by Alex Raventós Cardús. Fruit Still Life in complimentary patterned bowl and table covering.

HURT IN YOUR HURT by Paul Payne. Detailed right down to the tattooed arms and neck, and pack of Marlboro’s.

On the Bloor Street Line by Matthew Watkins. Subway sketch with a stranger dressed in black.

Surprise Sunrise by Agusta3. Landscape with cross-hatched lines, small brushstrokes and breakthrough sun.

4 miles outside of Lockjaw, Kentucky by Alberto Olio. Traveling down the road in the quintessential red pick-up truck.

GoodyBoy by Amanda Cook. Old-fashioned drive in sign lit at night.

Design by Amanda Cook. Perspective and typography at dusk.

NYC 1999 by Xoan Baltar. City scene with moving cars.

History by SallyAnn La Main. Textured seascape.

iPad Painting of Picasso’s Three Musicians by Rita Flores. Replicated Picasso painting which Pablo himself would have undoubtedly loved.

Mountain by robertdawson. Mountain meets water in this serene scene.

What a Life! by Nazo Sislian. A colorful life ride.

The city by Albert Viladrosa. An abstract cityscape with vibrant colors.

Retreating Glacier by Billy Steve Clayton. Palette of blues, green, browns and textured glacier.

Business card 002 with source material by Paul Kercal. Brushes app offers other adventures.

Written and compiled exclusively for Webdesigner Depot by Debbie Hemley. She is a blogger and social media aficionado. She works with businesses to develop content and social media strategies. Read her blog posts on All the News. You can also follow Debbie on Twitter (@dhemley).

What you think about Brushes art? Do you create artwork on an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad? Let us know in the comments!

  • TrafficColeman

    There are a lot of talented people out there who are really putting their skills to use.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • Eduardo

    I wonder if the artists needs re-train their skills to use the finger instead of a tool (like the pencil or brush)

  • Adnan

    An excellent compilation, but awful captions! Just giving the artist’s name would have been better than random references to colors and depicted objects. Seriously.

  • Gabriel Champeix

    In my opinion, the broad majority o these works are mediocre.
    Most of them have either poor coloring, poor proportions, poor anatomic accuracy or poor stylistic approaches (and sometimes a combination of all four). Every neophyte in the world is capable of drawing this kind of thing.

    Just because they were created with an iPhone app doesn’t make it interesting or valuable. This kind of article is (again, in my opinion) trivial and useless. It just follows a trend without thinking about the essential value of its information.

    Kudos nonetheless to the very small handful of interesting artworks in this list.

  • diva

    Amount of crap in this article is just unbelievable!… Very disappointed :/ I’m wondering if author is running out of ideas for new posts or he really thinks its worth showing this selection of… “art”.

  • Jamie Brightmore

    @diva – a bit harsh, but I agree, there are a fair few stinkers in there. By contrast, some of them are stunningly good, for example ‘Rendezvous by SallyAnn La Main’ … ‘NYC 1999’ by Xoan Baltar … ‘Arrangement in Dentist Office #2’ by David Gwaltney … ‘Stefanby’ Roz Hall … are just incredible.

    Perhaps more quality, less quantity. Overall though, I enjoyed the subject of this post. It’s incredible what you can do with a finger, an iPad, and some creative spark :)

  • Jaso

    ‘Cautious Crossing’ is really nice. Has anyone had experience of the pens you can use for iPad drawing? The one I bought was about as thick as a finger…a bit pointless really (that wasn’t meant to be a joke by the way….)

  • STPo

    95% crap, sorry. This is awful.

  • ckdesign


    I have a Griffin Technology Stylus for my apple touch devices. I love it, way better then the Pogo which has been getting too much press. The pogo is one of the worst products that apple endorses. I suffer from ‘fat fingers’ and I prefer to see what I am drawing. My fingers hinder that experience and I can’t see what I have drawn until after my finger uncovers the line but the styles helps give me as close to the same experience as working with a pencil as possible and it does not hang up on the screen or miss a tap.

    As for the work here, the majority look like they where made by people who are using a digital painting program for the first time. Yes this is harsh but I follow Oekaki painting, which is drawing with a javascript app that has limited capabilities. Brushes has the same functionality as these simple JavaScript apps, and perhaps a little more. But my point is, I have seen way more stunning work made with these online apps then what the new ipad generation of painters are bringing to the table. These people (in this post) are inexperienced, and seam like they have never used a digital painting program in their life. They have a lot to learn about digital painting. I honestly feel like I’m watching people discover the power of using a computer for painting all over again (read same thing I saw 10 years ago).

    Harsh? Yes, but with a quick search I can find better MS paint pictures on DeviantArt.

    These paintings are hardly inspiring, and I think that is what disappoints me the most about this post, not the fact that the artists are inexperienced but the fact that I wanted to be wowed and spend my time just scrolling.

  • joel k.

    good – but I’ve seen better.

    BTW is brushes avail for android?

  • Luke

    Some of this work looks so simple yet it is so wonderful!

  • Sony

    Really amazing artwork with brushes..Is this possible through photoshop?

  • Danny Blair

    No one said it was great art. But it’s good to see people striving to be creative, in any medium.

  • Tristar Web Design

    I personally think its fascinating that people have created these images using there fingers on an item as small as an ipad and even an iphone. It takes a lot of skill to make a finger painting look like a real picture. I like the sketchy portrait ones best.

  • SampeiMihira

    In my opinion there some some very nice artworks.
    About the “real” quality of the works, I’d like to say that the world of art is full of “supposed to be” talented artists, exposed at Moma or Guggenheim Museums… but sometimes the history of art is not only a question of technical abilities but of concepts.
    Thanks for this compilation, it’s food for the brain’s creativity.

  • Janos

    No fancy device can replace drawing knowledge. Most of this drawings are below amateur level. Mixing professional and lame drawings in one post is very incompetent.

  • Luke

    This is amazing!!! They would make some awesome iPad wallpapers!

  • Rick Shulman

    Hey thanks for featuring so many of my works in this article! The iPad has been a wonderful tool in helping me develop as an artist. The process of painting with Brushes is very similar to the process of painting on a canvas, for me at least. The works that appear above have taken either several minutes and or in some cases several hours. The greatest benefit for me is not having to wait for the paint to dry, which has allowed a faster learning curve than if I was creating with traditional media.

    From the comments above, I understand that this media is not for everyone, but it works for me.