Pigment review: the first coloring book app to get it right

By , Jan 5, 2016

Pigment 3

I am a coloring book enthusiast. I have dozens of them, ranging in skill level from kid’s books with wide lines to coloring books for adults, which are intricate and complex. I have a wide variety of tools from Prismacolor pencils to brush tip markers. I’ve been coloring since I was a toddler and I’ve never stopped. Ever.

So, when Pixite told me about its new coloring book app, Pigment, I immediately scoffed at the idea. Coloring book apps are a joke. They don’t get it. They don’t provide the stress-relieving comfort that actual coloring does. However, after testing the app for about two weeks now, I’m singing a different tune. Check out my full app review of Pigment below to find out what changed my mind.


Coloring books for adults (I don’t mean “adult” coloring books) have been around for decades. They tend to lean toward fantasy, flowers, nature, or abstract shapes. Recently, the trend has caught on en masse, and the iPad is a great method of delivering the activity. But until now, no app has recreated a real-world coloring experience.

Pigment has a wide variety of tools, a huge selection of illustrations across different categories, and a few unique features that are actually better than a traditional coloring book.


Pigment has 21 coloring books (so far) with about a dozen illustrations in each. Every book has at least three free illustrations with the option to get more by signing up for a subscription.

Once an illustration is chosen, the user can select from 126 colors and eight different tools. Plus, each tool has line thickness and opacity adjustment sliders.

Once completed, you can share your colored page via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any Extension-compatible app. The image is saved with a Pigment watermark, which is removed if you sign up for the subscription.

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App Use

Unlike most coloring book apps, Pigment actually lets you color. Instead of simply tapping the screen to fill in an area, you can trace, scribble, and sketch all over the page any way you want, and even add shadows and layers of colors.

The 126 colors are divided by color palates with names like, “Roller Rink” and “Rain Forest.” Each color has a highlight/shadow slider so you can further alter the hue with lighter or darker tones.

You can color a page completely freeform using the different tools, or tap a section of an illustration to activate the “color-inside-the-lines” feature, which highlights the spot so that it is the only part of the illustration that will be affected by your scribbles, even if you go outside the lines.

There are three tools that don’t exist in real-world coloring, but are fun if you don’t want to actively color something. The color fill tool does what it suggests, fills a section with a color. The linear gradient tool gives you an airbrushed look with shadows and highlights going from one side to the other. The radial gradient tool is similar, but works from a center point, outward.

The five other tools are the pencil, angle-tipped marker, brush (like a paint brush), airbrush, and circle-tipped marker. You can adjust the opacity and thickness of each tool for varying shades and textures. I tend to work in 100 percent opacity with a five percent line thickness because it seems the most realistic.

There is no eraser. If you make a mistake, you can tap the undo button, but you can’t get rid of a mark on the page with an eraser tool. Although this is more representative of real-world coloring (you can’t erase markers in real life), I do wish there was a tool for removing accidental marks without having to undo multiple stretches of work.

Pigment 1

The Good

I’ve tested about a dozen coloring book apps and have been disappointed with every one of them. Pigment is the first app that recreates the relaxing experience of actually coloring.

I love the huge variety of illustrations. There are animals, fish, butterflies, holiday themes, reptiles, robots, geometric and abstract patterns, and more. New content is added regularly.

The Bad

There are two major flaws with this app. The first is that there is no way to access recently used colors, which is incredibly frustrating when you’ve made a custom color. It is difficult to recreate that exact same customization again.

The other is that full access requires a subscription. You can’t unlock a single book, or even a single illustration for a premium price. If you want any of the paid content, you have to sign up for either $24.99 per year, $4.99 per month, or $1.99 per week. I really hope the team at Pixite changes this plan. I’d much rather pay for a single coloring book than have to pay for every single illustration (on a monthly basis) whether I want it or not.

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Pigment is free to download and comes with more than 60 coloring pages up front. That’s plenty of content to help you decide whether you want to jump into the subscription investment. When you are done, you can undo all of your work and start over again, so you potentially have a lifetime of coloring for free.


If you consider yourself a coloring enthusiast, you should definitely download this app. It is the first of its kind to get it right. As for the subscription-based premium, I’m still on the fence about whether I will join up, but for $2 per month, it’s still less than I spend on real-world coloring books, so I’d technically be saving money. This app is available on the iPhone and iPad. Download it in the App Store for free.

Related Apps

Colorfy is a fairly popular app with very nice image patterns. Recolor has some pretty cool texturing effects. However, neither of these apps have the freeform color feature that Pigment does.

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  • Jim Hart

    Subscription? For a coloring book? Really? Pass.

    • Morgan Freeman

      As we used to tell mouthy troops: Shut up and color.