It's a fair cop, we've never actually featured Fantasia Painter before on AAWP, but an update in the last few weeks led me to explore it more - it had always seemed half third party and half first party, given that the developer works at Microsoft. My tardiness was also due to a chronic lack of artistic talent at this end, but thankfully there's a lot you can have fun with even if you're not an artist.
Best of all, Fantasia Painter is absolutely free, aside from the option to zap the occasional banner ad for a dollar or so - which is more than fair enough. After all, this is a serious artistic tool.
I'll be doing a walkthrough below, but note two things before you start to think about using Fantasia painter to create something serious. And they're linked. Firstly, the default output here is a 768p image, i.e. 1MP. Coded to the size of the display on older Windows Phones, of course, though the recent update shows an increase for this in Settings, right up to QHD. However, try as I might, all my new images ended up at 768p, so there are clearly bugs here to fix. Secondly, because of this restriction, and despite all the aids here, it's hard to create anything too detailed using a relatively blunt finger tip!
Those small caveats aside, the idea here is to have fun and be creative whether you're starting from a blank sheet of virtual paper or whether you're starting with a photo and 'enhancing' it. Here's Fantasia Painter in action:
The introductory graphical help screens are first class and give a good feel for the various brush types
The brush and tool pallette is vertically swipeable, plus every brush and tool is customisable - think desktop-class control over painting; (right) the effects go on for half a dozen screens worth - there's a massive amount here, literally something for everyone.
Playing with an opened photo here and 'painting on' an effect... Fantasia Painter is amazingly flexible.
Although there are nods towards Windows 10, this remains a Windows Phone 8 application, with a non-standard main menu here, rolled into the 'Open/Save' pane; (right) browsing through the help and tips....
More of those creative effects - I was applying and then painting in (and out) the 'Portal' effect....
Trying my hand at freestyle art creation and the 'furball' brush modes; (right) the banner ad and nudge to the Store are the only things that separate this from the ($2 or so) full version - everything's fully working!
Really impressive from start to finish, even if my own creative juices aren't up to making anything terribly wonderful!