The creator of Pencil and Paper wants you to ‘Mix’ it up and draw with others

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Where do you get your inspiration? FiftyThree wants to know. The company behind popular iPad app Paper and its stylus companion, Pencil, hopes to make waves again with Mix, a collaborative tool for Paper.

Mix is a community of sorts, where you can share all the digital drawings, diagrams, and notes you’ve made on Paper with other creatives. At first glance, it seems like just a more polished version of “Made with Paper,” but it’s not. Once you’ve uploaded your creation, others can star it or “remix” it. This is where collaboration comes into play. To “remix” a post, means to alter it and make it your own.

Related: How Paper and Pencil transformed the iPad from a window, to a canvas


If you’ve ever sat in on an art class, Mix will undoubtedly remind you of the exquisite collaborative drawings you and your classmates used to create. One person starts the drawing and passes it on to the next person, who adds a line, different colors, shapes, words, or whatever else comes to mind. And so a circle becomes a donut, a soccer ball, a frisbee, a moon, the Earth — what have you.

The founder and CEO of FiftyThree, Georg Petschnigg, told Digital Trends that he simply cannot contain his excitement about Mix, a project that he and his team have been working on since the inception of Paper.

“For the very first time, I feel like we can peek and peer into the beauty of the human mind,” Georg told us. “For example, we’ve seen so many variations on the circle and we still haven’t seen them all.”

In fact, since FiftyThree cofounder Andrew Allen first created the circle on August 14, it’s been remixed more than 600 times. Each time a piece is remixed, the original creator is credited and you can even look up every remix on the Mix website, to see how the idea evolved. The promo video illustrates the changes made by hundreds of different people to the original circle.

“Each frame is a drawing from a different person,” Georg told us. “It’s incredible, seeing the creative process, how beautiful it is.”

Georg believes that Mix can be used for all sorts of projects, including developing an app, preparing a presentation, or even leading an art class. Mix has elements of social networks built into it, such as the ability to star creations that you like and you can follow people whose mixes you admire, but it’s not a place to ‘rack up friends or likes,” Georg says, but rather “to learn from someone or get inspired.”

“We wanted to create a place where anyone can find inspiration, share ideas, and collaborate,” Georg said. “We want to introduce the idea of creating together.”

At first, the Mix community will be available by invitation only, but FiftyThree aims to bring it to the entire Paper community and beyond as soon as possible. The company wants to make sure its systems can handle the barrage of remixes first, before opening Mix up to everyone.