Sketchbook Mobile for iPhone review

Autodesk’s SketchBook Mobile opens to a black canvas where you can start drawing right away. You access brushes and other tools from a palette at the bottom of the screen. Tap once to see a pencil, spray gun, fat brush, erase, brush set, layer icon, colour wheel, and a mirroring tool. There are brushes that mimic chalk, pencils, and felt-tip pens, and you can tweak almost every variable.

You can paint in layers and control layer opacity. There are six layers available on the more powerful iPhone 3GS and three on the original 3G. You can even export these layers to a Photoshop PSD file.

The app gives 10 layers of undo, and zooms to 2,500 per cent for fine detail work. With the Mirror tool, you paint one side of an image and duplicate it as you draw.

File management is easy. The app creates its own gallery, and you can select and save images, rename them, add blank canvases, or delete them. You can import images from the camera roll, either as the base image to paint on or as a new layer.

Autodesk also offers a slimmed-down version, SketchBook MobileX. This free app is limited by a smaller canvas (320 x 480) and three layers (instead of six), plus a few other minor differences.

OUR VERDICT

SketchBook Mobile shines when in skilled hands. If your drawing ability amounts to a few smiley faces and stick figures, SketchBook Mobile won’t turn you into an artist. That said, because the tools are so easy to access, the app is fun to use even for novices. For artists, the iPhone’s screen becomes a handy replacement for a sketchpad, going well beyond offering a blank sheet and some brushes.

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