Review: Mischief 2.0

This new budget art software from The Foundry offers infinite possibilities to artists.

Our Verdict

This is a powerful yet small art app that really offers artists unique creative options.


  • New free version available
  • Paid version price reduced
  • Infinite canvas
  • Better interface
  • More docks for custom brushes


  • Needs more interesting standard brushes

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Create mischeif with this drawing app

Mischief makes a great scratchpad for ideas, as shown by Sycra Yasin

We were impressed with Mischief when we reviewed it in 2013. This indie painting app presented a new way to create digital images, with an infinite canvas and scalable brushes.

We weren't the only ones who were dazzled: visual effects software company The Foundry has recently purchased Mischief.

Create mischeif with this drawing app

Mischief's mischievousness lies in its approach to the canvas and brushes

The first thing it's done with it is to release Mischief 2.0. But it isn't the grand revision you'd expect from that numeric subtitle.

The most apparent change is a panel-based user interface, which distributes elements around the screen. Mischief doesn't include a huge amount of tools, so this fragmented approach gives you a larger canvas.

Other minor improvements include trackpad support for Macs, multi-touch support, two additional custom swatch colour palettes, and more docks for custom brushes.

Our chief complaint about the previous version was that there weren't enough interesting brushes – something The Foundry hasn't addressed here, although this might be because Mischief would need to be reprogrammed to make it work.

Create mischeif with this drawing app

The beauty of Mischief is that images can be at once incredibly, infinitesimally detailed in some parts, and broadly sketched in others, such as the eyes in this image by Carly Sanker

Thankfully, the principle ideas are still as compelling as before. The canvas stretches as far and as wide as you want it to, and you can zoom in as much as you'd like to.

You can create mind-blowing works and rethink working in terms of thirds, or rectangular frames, or conventional ideas of scale and detail. While other programs slavishly adhere to the ancient rules of what art should be, Mischief rips it up and starts again.

The Foundry has implemented a new free version, which includes most of the features of the paid-for versions, apart from a few useful bits and bobs.

If you like it, you can buy it for just £16 – a big discount on the original's £42 price tag. So while this isn't a huge update, there's enough to keep Mischief veterans happy (it's a free upgrade if you've already bought the software) while welcoming newcomers with open, infinitely long arms.

This article originally appeared in ImagineFX magazine issue 118.

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The Verdict

out of 10

Mischief 2.0

This is a powerful yet small art app that really offers artists unique creative options.

Beren Neale
Deals Editor

Beren has worked on creative tech magazines and websites at Future Publishing for 13 years. He started this journey as Staff Writer on the digital art magazine ImagineFX, and in 2012 found himself bridging the magazine/website divide as Commissioning Editor on the newly launched Creative Bloq. Since then he took the editor role on ImagineFX, was Launch Editor of the fine art magazine Paint & Draw, moved to Canon Pro Europe website as Deputy Editor, and then edited the graphic design magazine Computer Arts. In 2020 he moved back to Creative Bloq, the biggest global art and design website, and as Deals Editor has applied his expertise in creative tech to help digital creatives get the best deals on the kit that they need and love. Outside of work, Beren likes nothing better than to climb himself a bit of rock.