Creative App Review - Autodesk SketchBook Mobile

by Saul Edmonds

At Roundhouse, we love our iPhones.

We will feature a weekly creative app review to let you know the lowdown on the apps we love.

Smartphone creativity is something many artist/ designers are interested in.
‘Spare’ time (on the train/ bus) becomes ‘Art’ time with the right tools.

Drawing without Pencils.

We have recently been having some fun with the Autodesk Sketchbook Mobile App (requires iOS 3.1 or later). Sketchbook Mobile costs $1.99 - a free version is also available.

Autodesk are mostly known as the developers of Autocad (2D & 3D architectural design software). Sketchbook Mobile was designed as a professional-grade paint and drawing application. It was released a little over a year ago and has achieved 1,000,000+ downloads. Autodesk encourages users of sketchbook mobile to ‘Think of it as your handheld digital sketchpad. Use it to capture ideas as digital napkin sketches or produce artwork on-the-go.’ (

What does SketchBook Mobile offer?

- Canvas size of 1024x682.
- Zoom Range from 20% to 2500%.
- 25 brush variations. Adjust brush radius, opacity, spacing of thistles and hardness. Brushes for chalk, pencils and felt tips. An eraser.
- Colors from color wheel, RGB sliders, swatches, eyedropper.
- Up to 6 layers. Layers can be moved, rotated, scaled, duplicated, merged, hidden, re-ordered, and adjusted for opacity.
- Export drawings. Send by email (as PNG or layered PSD).

The In-Use Experience

SketchBook Mobile opens to a blank canvas.
Simply select your tool and prepare for adventure.

Tools are accessed via a tiny palette button positioned in centre of the lower screen.
One tap will reveal a pencil, spray gun, fat brush, eraser, brush set, layer icon, color wheel and a mirroring tool. Brushes offer a great amount of customisation. To change brush and opacity size tap and drag on the centre dial of the expanded palatte. This takes a few practice runs to perfect.

Start drawing. The lines are rendered with speed and precision upon the touch screen interface. This immediately intuitive response makes it easy and fun to experiment with line and colour. This is very nice.

To undo, simply tap the palette button to reveal ‘undo’ - a red arrow in the lower left screen. To delete, tap twice in the upper left hand corner. File Management is well resolved. SketchBook Mobile has an in-app gallery to which you can save images. Images can also be imported form the camera roll as the starting point of an artwork.

Overall, Sketchbook Mobile is a fully realised mobile sketchpad with a great selection of tools. Its ease of use and easy export make it a winner. Give it a go. 

by Saul Edmonds