My experience at ArtWorkout

Project description

ArtWorkout is a gamified iOS app that teaches drawing. ArtWorkout is one of the most popular learn-to-draw apps on the market.

The selling point of the product is step-by-step drawing with immediate feedback and gamification. We developed a technology that evaluates the user’s drawing many times a second. Also, we’re heavily inspired by the best gamification practices from Duolingo, Simply Piano and others. We currently provide the best gamified drawing experience on iPad, and our goal is to become the go-to learn-to-draw app in the world. The app works best with Apple Pencil.


Our approach to education is passion over discipline. Education must be fun and games must be useful. It’s much better to practice 30 minutes daily without pressure and fear than push oneself to the limit and burn out in a month. Retention is not only good for business, it’s also great for students’ learning.

Our success is dependent on our amazing team. That means we try to work only with the best specialists in their domains. The people that love their job and who care about their impact. The team is 15+ full-time contractors and employees such as developers, artists, managers, marketers, a tester. We work fully remotely from countries all over the world.

ArtWorkout is extremely data-driven and agile. We make lots of A/B tests for all the areas of the product from acquisition to retention. We move fast and often change our plans.

We avoid vendor lock-ins. We use open-source technologies and in-house solutions in most cases.


2019. I had an idea of making an algorithm that evaluates one’s drawing. I implemented it and showed it to my friends and family. The first time anyone saw the app, it was a bit confusing: “What? Just connect two dots?”, but after the first attempt they got a score and they immediately tried to beat it: 86, 93, 95, 96… It felt awesome, especially with Apple Pencil.

I had to make it, but I didn’t have any money to start with. I’ve been switching between my own projects and freelance contracts for years and this one wasn’t an exception. I worked at Ridge for several months. After Ridge I got back to ArtWorkout and made first two example lessons, hired first artists and published the first version on 04/25/2021.

I hired a junior specialist in ASO. I didn’t know about seasons in this market, that the winter holidays are a huge deal. Downloads exploded! Then they spiked once again, without any apparent reason. One user that came to me with a bug told me that she found the app in TikTok. That was a complete surprise.

I decided to take fate into my own hands and made several TikTok videos. The videos said “I made this awesome app that teaches drawing” and it worked amazingly well, videos went viral. But then the war in Ukraine started and my family had to find a new home, which slowed down the progress on the app a bit. Luckily, the income from the app barely covered my expenses.

Several viral TikTok videos later I found the first influencer and after that I only worked with influencers for making new videos. That was another level of growth. And in December 2022 the metrics made x7 once again. It was just a seasonal spike but using that money I hired brilliant people that allowed for the sustained growth since.


Swift, TypeScript

Amplitude, Firebase, Apphud, Supabase, Parse, Git

Results and challenges

In October 2019 – … as the Founder and CEO I worked on:

  1. iOS development
  2. Web development
  3. Lesson builder
  4. Product management
  5. Analytics
  6. Hiring contractors and employees
  7. Accounting
  8. Marketing
  9. Strategy