Making (with) Mischief

Some time ago I was curious about Mischief; a drawing/painting app with an ‘infinite canvas’. I wasn’t too sure about it, so I never went very far into it in the trial version and let it die when I reformatted my machine. Over the weekend, I decided to take another look at it – I’m almost as bad at collecting drawing apps as I am about collecting un-needed sketchbooks. it was only $25 + tax so I thought, sod it. I’ll give the full version a go.

It’s a curious programme, and so far I’m not sure how much use I will get out of it. This is just a summary of my initial thoughts which are inevitably going to be tainted by my love of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and it’s ever more lovely UI.

Mischief is certainly smooth to use, work can be zoomed in and out and the quality never goes downhill unless you zoom out so far you can’t really see your strokes anymore. Rotating the canvas also doesn’t lead to any blurring or ‘jaggys’ like some other art apps. As with most ‘vector’ drawing apps the brushes are a little basic but there is the ability to add six brushes to a ‘custom’ palette but, unlike Sketchbook Pro, I haven’t found a way to create any unique custom brushes. I have only played with this for a couple of hours so far though.

Art created in Mischief app - dragons

The palettes are quite discreet and tidy, but lack the intuitiveness of Sketchbook Pro’s puck system and marking menus. However, as they are so small (and the tools are somewhat limited) they do not get in your way very much when working. The biggest plus of this app is a combination of the infinite canvas (draw as much as you want and it never runs out) and the ability to export very large files. The latter of which is also it’s downfall for me… if I draw in a ‘vector’ app I really want to be able to export in the same format. This has been a bit of a sticking point for me with Manga Studio for years.. I can create all these perfectly scalable vectors inside MS, but I can never export them. Which means if I want to do any colour work and have it scalable I have to stay in Manga Studio. I really should learn to use MS5 EX properly as it’s a stonkingly good inking programme and I’ve never tried to use it as a drawing app due to my attachment to Sketchbook Pro.
As you can see from the image below, zooming into artwork in Mischief is as smooth as butter. Both of these images have been exported as high resolution PSD files, using “Export Visible Canvas”

Dragon drawings close up

The drawback of being able to zoom in so far is that I am such an anal retentive I’d be cleaning up every single line obsessively when it’s unlikely they’d ever be seen by the naked eye. And I’m pretty sure that last sentence will get this blog stuck in just about every internet filter going. Ah well.

I don’t have a lot to say about this right now, but I may post another review once I’ve had more time to use it. I think there’s a lot of potential here but there’s some aspects that I would dearly love to see that are missing, such as the ellipse and line guide tools that are in Sketchbook Pro. Manga Studio also has guides but they are somewhat convoluted compared to the simplicity of the SBP tools.

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