As a friend of mine was scouting the shelves of a book store in search of a new mandala coloring book, I could not help but shrug. With so many fine coloring apps on mobile I forgot how bad I suck at drawing. In fact, sketching apps can be just as fun, if not more. We will certainly compile a list of the best sketching apps for mobile, but right now let’s see Sketcher, a free little app that turns a poop, or a doodle into a work of art. Seriously, my self-esteem just had a major boost, and after two hours of toying with this app I feel like Edward Scissorhands, the good way.
Sketcher is not new, but it’s certainly one of the finest free sketching apps for Android. It’s a mobile port of a web application Harmony. While the web version is fun to toy with, the mobile app works miracles the moment you start touching and tapping the screen. Let’s see what it can do.
The app has just enough settings to be accessible for a noob, and to be fun enough for a real artist. First of all, you can select the screen orientation, which is sweet. You can adjust the size of the canvas, select a color to be the background, or select a photo to be the removable background and sketch a blueprint of it. You can also select a picture as a background.
From there, sorting out the brushes and tools is a matter of four buttons conveniently placed at the bottom of the screen. The first button lets you choose a color from the color picker and transparency tool, as well as select the brush size that comes from the smallest 1 pixel to 55, with the total of 12 brushes.
The second button lets you choose a tool, or select an eraser. The tools might be classic, but they create that masterful effect even if you draw a tic tac toe.
The third button lets you pan and zoom in and out, move the canvas up and down, left and right, or “show all” which scales the canvas to fit your screen.
The fourth button has a slew of saving, and sharing options (email, MMS, SMS, WhatsApp, and more). You also get to start a new sketch from there. You can also continue working on any of your previous drawings. The app saves them to your SD card, so you can see them in your Gallery. Voilà!
There is also a paid version that offers a nifty service of physical prints delivery in cooperation with Milk and Print for the premium members. Even without the premium subscription, the app is pure magic.
- 12 brushes – chrome, squares, pixel, sketchy, fur, long fur, ribbon, simple, circles, shaded, web and grid
- 9 brush sizes from 1 px to 55 px
- Undo/redo from the UI or by using volume controls
- Zoom – pinch to zoom or long-tap and swipe
- Save, share
- Blueprint mode with an image as a removable background
- Customizable canvas size
- Works in portrait and landscape mode (Settings → Canvas Orientation)
- Intuitive UI
- Makes you feel like Van Gogh
- The undo button is limited to some 5 or so last actions, so if you’ve messed up beyond that you will have to use the eraser, which might erase more than you want. For example, if you’re working on a face, and need to erase a part of a nose, the eraser will remove the skin color, too.
- Some complain about the ads, but as long as you use one of the Android firewall apps, it’s not a problem. In the end, if you wish to support the developer for the great job you might as well upgrade to Pro.
- No save slots for the recent colors, or color picker from the existing drawing
Sketcher might not be the most feature-packed app, nor is it the most famous, but it’s certainly one of the best free sketching apps on Android. It instantly draws those little details, and makes your strokes look like something special even if you are not good at drawing. Its UI is intuitive and once you get the hang of the brushes, sizes and eraser, you are off to some very fun and enjoyable artistic getaway. You can draw some terrific sketches using your finger and a tablet only. Give it a go.