So what is the new Joyful Works app Painting Gallery like for the kids? We take it for a test drive and find out!

My daughter is nine, and loves to draw. I am pretty sure she does it in her sleep quite regularly; and we just can’t tell. I was therefore delighted to take a look at a new Apple app from Joyful Works that is designed to inspire younger children’s creativity, Painting Gallery (£2.29). Just for your information, the Android app is due out later in the year.

We were pretty keen on trying Painting Gallery out; so much so that we just sat on the floor after we came in from school and took a look. Though this could be because our mother was letting us on the iPad on a non-screen day ;-)

We were very keen to get stuck in to trying the Painting Gallery app - so much so we just sat on the floor, with the cat watching our every move....

Here is the reveal trailer for the app to give you a little teaser:

What is the Painting Gallery App all about?

This is part of a series of apps that Joyful Works are focusing on which promote kids’ learning, with an element of fun. The idea is for children to be inspired to create their own colourful and engaging pictures using the 30 colours, 100 stickers, and painting tools that are available within the app. Parents use the parent zone to get more information about the app, and help get the most value from it.

The parents forum within the Painting Gallery allows you to find more info on the App and discover the friends and characters.

There are five characters within Painting Gallery, including Niru Niro, and each one has a different personality. This is explained for the children within the parent zone as well:

There are five characters within the game - and each one has a different personality..with the hope that your child can easily relate to one of them.


Something for every personality :-D

Children are able to colour in the stickers themselves, or drop the pre-configured items into their scenes. Stickers are split into categories so they are relatively easy to find, even for smaller children. Pictures can be saved in the painting gallery. Just like organising apps on your phone/iPad, if you press and hold the pictures in the gallery – you can move them around to place them just how you would like. Tapping a picture frame in your gallery allows you to rotate through the different ones available for displaying your artwork in the app.

What do we think of Painting Gallery?

This is a twist on a standard painting app because children have specific characters that they can “get to know” within the pictures that they build. In addition, the app enables limited personalised learning due to the ability to add sounds when colours are picked from the palette:

Painting Gallery allows you to record the names of the colours in the app to help your children learn them as they use them from their palette.

Do take your when inputting though, as we found it was quite easy if you didn’t to record the echo of the previous colour instead of the one you were actually aiming for! *too keen perhaps?*

My daughter did find it frustrating that the stickers were placed in the pictures so large as a default:


She said:

“I like this game – and I would give it nine out of ten, but why do the stickers come up so big at first? They should be smaller.”

This seems like a valid point to me; give the relative size of some of the other items within the predefined scenes.

We were very impressed the with range of tools that are offered to create the pictures, though. There are four different painting tools for children to pick which gives a good deal of variety to the pictures for those little hands. You can see this clearly in the little test we did to see the strokes in action. The picture of the tool used is on the left, with the result from using that implement on the paper to the right:

The painting gallery has a wide range of tools that can be used. We tested each one in turn here - the picture on the left; with the result of using the tool in the app on the right!

These offer a great way for kids to explore textures in their art, without the need to spend too much money on the real art paraphernalia. Of course, it isn’t the same as getting your hands messy, but it is a whole lot more convenient…it also means you don’t spend thirty minutes setting up, for them to only play for five! ;-)

The range of stickers is impressive too, with over 100 to choose from, obviously fitting sensibly into the scenes that the app has. To improve longevity, it would be good to see add-on options in the future, so that when children have done the jungle and sea a lot, they can move on to some new gallery options, including some seasonal ones. There is a fancy dress scene, so something Halloween-y maybe? This could be good at a 69p price point so it didn’t break the bank? Or even a buy two sets, get one for free!

Overall 8/10

We like this; the colours are bright, bold and fun – and the interface intuitive for small hands and minds. The price point of £2.29 is not unreasonable either, given the tools, and functionality within the app. In particular, the range of colours and stickers are comprehensive.

However, there are some improvements to functionality that might be considered for new releases. It could have done with an “undo” option – particularly when I managed to draw on my daughter’s picture because I thought I could swipe her picture to see the one she did before *oops.*

The music needs an off switch as well – they have sampled a Christmas song for some of it, which seems a little out of date.

Finally, an email option would be nice too; for those who would like to send parents working away a sample of the artwork directly from the app. You can, of course, do this using the photos option outside the app.

Overall though, a lovely little painting app, which will keep your little ones entertained while you grab five minutes break or encourage them to create their own little world – but watch out the Octopus doesn’t get you while your back is turned….

We had a play with Painting Gallery in the car before school - and look what my son made with was his idea to have the Octopus sneaking into his picture....

We were provided a copy of the game for review, but all opinions are our own; though thankfully the Octopus isn’t….




Helen is a mum to two, and social media consultant and website editor. Since giving up being a business analyst when juggling travel, work and kids proved too complicated, she founded KiddyCharts so she could be with her kids, and use those grey cells at the same time. KiddyCharts now works with big family brands to help them promote their services, as well as offering free resources to parents of kids under 10. Helen also helps other organisations with their social media and blogging strategies, including working part-time as a community manager with Truprint. She can often be found hanging about on social media, and trying to avoid stepping on the Lego her kids keep leaving lying around.