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Be Creative Everywhere With Sketchbook Express

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder SketchBook Express

    PCWorld Rating

Do you like to draw, but maybe are too self-conscious to carry a sketchbook around with you? Maybe you think you're just too busy or not talented enough for that stuff. With the SketchBook Express app for Android 2.1 and above (free, or $1 for SketchBook Mobile with advanced features), you can turn your downtime into doodle time. Start from scratch, or draw on a photo or clip art.

SketchBook has a slick, full-featured interface that pops up when you need it and stays out of your way when you don't. One button-press brings up an icon-based menu with various brush, pen, pencil, eraser, smudge, airbrush, and bucket-fill options. The app also has multiple levels of undo and redo for edits. To change colors, touch the square icon at the top of the screen and select your color from the RGB color wheel. You can even use an eyedropper color picker to match colors exactly.

One of the best features is the ability to add new layers to your drawing (top-right icon). The new layer can be a photo from the Camera or Gallery app, or it can be another drawing. I had a lot of fun taking clip art and line drawings from Google Images as layers, then using them like a coloring book.

Although the small screen does impose some limitations, the app has pinch-and-zoom multitouch capability, so you can zoom into an area for detailed work and then zoom out for the big picture (up to 1024 by 768 pixels).

SketchBook lacks a cut/paste function, something that I think would be very useful. Similarly, it also lacks the ability to fill an area with a texture. There's also no way to insert text or text-art into a picture.

The app allows you to save your drawing as a PNG image. However it doesn't let you choose a file name--it just names the drawing "sketch" followed by a string of numbers. The paid version lets you save in JPEG, PNG, or PSD formats.

It would be nice to be able to share your drawing via e-mail or Facebook, directly from the app, but that's not an option. You must save the drawing first (Menu, New, Export), and then open another app to share it.

Aside from these small criticisms, SketchBook Express is a fun, easy way to explore your creativity. Why not give it a try?

Have you found a better drawing app for Android? Contact Brent W. Hopkins on Twitter. You might also like other articles by Brent W. Hopkins.

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder SketchBook Express

    PCWorld Rating
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