4chan creator Chris Poole (alias moot) launched a free app Friday called DrawQuest, which provides users with drawing prompts and encourages them to use their imagination to fill in the missing parts of a drawing. The app strives to encourage creativity and find a middle ground between the open-endedness and competition extremes that seem to split current app offerings down the middle.
Poole, who followed 4chan with the image-sharing service Canvas, stated that he noticed most adults don’t consider themselves creative. He said that many struggle with the “blank paper problem”—when presented with a sheet of paper and asked to make something, they freeze. But for people who do identify as creative, that quality “has a lot less to do with natural ability versus the ability to self-start,” Poole said.
When users sign up for the app, they are presented each day with a “daily quest,” or simple sketch (an outline of a superhero, a stick figure standing on a shore) and a question to help them fill the drawing in. A color wheel and a few different line-drawing tools are provided in the app, and users can post their drawing to a feed, as well as follow friends to view and like their drawings. The app is done up in such a nonthreatening design that it seems a bit childlike, but Poole states he hopes to "appeal to the child in every adult... being like play was important to us."
Unlike DrawSomething, DrawQuest doesn’t structure art up into a competition; unlike apps like Paper, the user isn’t simply handed art tools and then cut loose. Poole’s other project, Canvas, also attempts to encourage creativity by allowing users to “remix” the drawings of others and share them, but since it’s on the Web it generally requires tools that most users don’t have (a tablet and pen) or hampers them with the mouse and keyboard, as opposed to the iPad’s touch interface. The app is also a step up from cut-and-paste art that the Internet can be so fond of, such as rage faces.
Poole states the he thinks of DrawQuest like “a Mr. Potato Head,” a tool to foster creativity. “Very few people make music on a daily basis, but a lot of people could benefit from making music,” Poole said. “We want there to be happy accidents, for people to be happy they’re even doing it.”