I’ll admit it: I’ve always been a little skeptical of coloring book apps. They seemed so eager to monetize the experience of coloring, forcing you to pay to expand your puny color palette or access additional coloring tools. And, of course, additional pages to color.
Now, as a colorist, I am used to buying additional coloring pages (books) all the time. In fact, I kind of have a problem. I have bought way more coloring books than I will ever need or be able to finish. But these apps and the pay-per-page model just never felt to me like they were designed with the colorist’s best interests in mind.
Coloring on a phone or tablet is clunky. It’s frustrating. Either you paint bucket your way around the canvas, or you meticulously color the spaces with a low-res textured brush that would never pass as anything remotely realistic. Honestly, I just thought coloring apps were a waste of time.
All of that changed when I discovered Lake.
Now, I don’t say that lightly. I am someone who thrives on coloring, with real materials on real paper. I mean, you are presently reading a blog I created entirely about coloring books, after all. But Lake so thoroughly captured the experience of coloring that I felt the same meditative, relaxing feeling I normally get from coloring — without experiencing any of the typical frustrations that take you out of that state.
That, my friends, is why I am SO excited to introduce you to Lake!
Keep scrolling to learn more about Lake, check out this beautiful iOS app for free, and enter for a chance to win a free subscription of your very own!
Scroll to the bottom of this article to enter! This giveaway will be accepting new entries until 11:59pm EST on Saturday, December 23. Four lucky winners will be drawn at random on Sunday, December 24 to receive their free subscription. Enter today!
This giveaway is open to entrants from the United States, Canada (except Quebec), and the United Kingdom. Winners from Canada must correctly answer a basic math question to be permitted to win. Winner must respond to an email within three days to claim their prize, or a new winner will be selected.
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A huge thank you to Lake Coloring for offering up the prizes for this giveaway! Also, this page contains some affiliate links. That means that if you buy anything after clicking some of my links, at no additional cost to you, you’ll be helping support Cleverpedia. Thank you so much for your support!
Here’s the video review!
A Closer Look at Lake
Lake is a beautifully designed (in fact, they’ve won awards!) coloring book app for iPhone and iPad. The app is free, and if you subscribe or make in-app purchases, you directly support the artists that created the designs you love.
When you first open Lake, it introduces you to the app through a minimalist tutorial. First, you try coloring. Then, you meet the color wheel. Next, you discover the toggle for “color inside the lines mode.” Then, you try the pinch-zoom controls for moving around the canvas. Finally, you test out each of the app’s five coloring tools: the basic paintbrush, a spray can, watercolor, a paint bucket, and an eraser. Each tool is available in five sizes.
In about a minute flat, you learn everything you need to know to make the most of Lake. Then, Lake sets you free to discover just how enjoyable an experience digital coloring can be.
Lake doesn’t wall you in to try and pressure you into making a purchase like some apps do. There is plenty to enjoy here, entirely for free. Each day that you log in for the first 60 days, Lake will give you a new free page to color — turn on notifications and the app will even gently remind you to check in for your free page! From the get-go, Lake gives you a full color wheel with 245 hues. And right now, they have an advent calendar of free holiday-themed images.
Lake is organized into a series of “artist packs,” basically digital coloring books with 12 pages each. The first image from each pack is free; if you like that page, you can unlock the whole pack of 12 images for a $2.99 in-app purchase. Or, you can subscribe or start a free trial to access all artist packs immediately.
There are other benefits of subscribing, too. In addition to having full access to every artist pack, you’ll get instant access to all 60 page-a-days. Subscribers have access to over 350 original illustrations by Lake’s team of artists. You can try out Lake with a one-week free trial, and after that subscribe for just $2.99 per week, $7.99 per month, or $59.99 per year.
Another benefit of subscribing is access to even more colors with the innovative “weather wheel” — simply tap the color wheel to cycle between “sunny” (bright), “rainy” (pastel), and “cloudy” (muted) colors. Combined, these two additional color wheels give you over 700 hues to color with.
So where does that money go? A really unique thing about Lake is its business model. They have over 20 artists on their roster, who are all supported by subscriptions and individual coloring book purchases. They all receive a portion of subscription revenue, as well as income from individual purchases of their artist packs. This revenue-sharing model allows Lake to bring in talented artists from all over the world and help them make a living off their art. If you enjoy indie coloring books, you’ll appreciate being able to support artists through Lake.
New features are being added to Lake all the time. There are nearly 30 artist packs available now, and a new one is added every two weeks. I already mentioned the “Winter Stories” pack, their advent calendar of coloring pages contributed by their artists. There’s also a “Friendship” pack, which you can unlock simply by sharing the app with a friend! And sometime in January, a collaboration with the brand Spoonflower will introduce a set of coloring pages that users can color in the app, then print onto fabric, wallpaper, and gift wrap. Imagine that: a room of your house, decked out in a wallpaper you colored yourself in the Lake app. So. Cool!
My Experience Coloring with Lake
I thoroughly reviewed Lake, testing it out on my iPhone, my iPad, and an iPad Pro graciously borrowed from a coworker. (Okay, who am I kidding… time totally escaped me, I was just having such a great time coloring the beautiful illustrations in this app. I can still call that thorough testing, right?) I tested coloring with my fingers, with an Apple Pencil, and a Pencil by FiftyThree stylus I use on my older model iPad.
The app is very responsive. Not once did I feel like there was any kind of lag time between my coloring and what appeared on the screen, which is a common issue with any kind of drawing or coloring app. There are also a handy undo button (can’t wait until they come out with that feature for real coloring books!) and a color history palette that lets you re-access your last several colors, both of which are very helpful.
This is one of the first coloring apps I’ve used where coloring with your fingers doesn’t feel like an inconvenience. I swear, nothing makes you feel like you’ve got fat fingers like trying to poke tiny spaces to paint-bucket them. Fortunately, Lake’s zoom function works extremely well, and the color outside the lines mode takes care of the rest.
Of course, using a stylus is what really makes the digital coloring experience transcend into one resembling coloring on paper. My Pencil by FiftyThree stylus worked instantly, no setup required, and the Pencil is a cheap stylus that works quite well. It even works on iPhone! But what really stood out to me was my experience testing out Lake on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil.
I had never had the opportunity to try an Apple Pencil before, but after testing out the app with one, I’m hooked! The Pencil glides so smoothly across the glass of the iPad Pro that it really ends up feeling like you are using a colored pencil without the resistance. There’s a reason that Lake even recommends using an iPad with an Apple Pencil for “the ultimate coloring experience” — it really is!
For my speed coloring video, I colored one of the images from the gorgeous artist pack “Blooming Girls” by Freya Kotchakorn, an illustrator based in Bangkok. You can access the same image with a free trial or by subscribing to Lake.
Check out the speed coloring video below:
To color the girl’s hair, I turned off “color inside the lines mode” and washed a golden base color over everything, along with some shadows and highlights with the watercolor tool. Then I used the paint bucket to neaten things up and color the flowers. The whole process took about 45 minutes, and the Apple Pencil just made everything so much easier.
Here’s the picture I colored in Lake:
I colored a number of other images; here is a sampling of other images colored in Lake:
Overall, if you couldn’t tell, I had an amazing time testing out Lake, and I think you would, too!
How Can I Try Lake?
I thought you’d never ask!
To use Lake, you need an iOS device, like an iPhone or an iPad. Click here to go to the App Store and download Lake!
When you open Lake for the first time, you’ll run through the tutorial, then you have the option of trying a free one-week trial. The trial will give you instant access to all of the page-a-day coloring pages and every image from every artist pack.
Don’t forget to share your colored artwork! From the app, Lake makes it easy to share to your friends on social media. If you post on Instagram, be sure to use the hashtag #lakecoloring and you could have your work featured in a gallery on Lake’s website!
IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME! Enter here for a chance to win a free subscription to Lake!
In this giveaway, we will be drawing one grand prize winner and three runners up at random from the full pool of entries. The grand prize winner will receive a one-year subscription to Lake, a $59.99 value. The runners up will each receive a one-month subscription to Lake, each a $7.99 value. The total value of all prizes is $83.96. Earn an unlimited number of additional entries when you refer your friends, for example in your favorite coloring groups!
This giveaway will run for one week only, beginning today and ending at 11:59pm EST Saturday, December 23. The winners will be drawn at random on December 24 from the full pool of entrants, and they will have three days to respond to the winning announcement email before a new winner is drawn in their place.
No purchase required to enter. This giveaway is open to entrants from the United States, Canada (except Quebec), and the United Kingdom. Winners from Canada must correctly answer a basic math question to be permitted to win.
Now is the moment you’ve been waiting for! Step right up and click the options below to enter the giveaway — the more ways you enter, the greater your chance to win! Share with your friends via email, social media, and Facebook groups to earn the most possible entries, because each friend you refer using your special link will earn you an additional entry!
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Thanks again to Lake for creating such a gorgeous app and offering up our prize set!
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