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Summary:

Is the iPhone quietly becoming a serious mobile illustration platform? That’s the question I asked myself after seeing news this morning that yet another drawing and painting program has been released for the device. Autodesk’s Sketchbook Mobile is available now in the App Store. Those of […]

sketchbook_mobileIs the iPhone quietly becoming a serious mobile illustration platform? That’s the question I asked myself after seeing news this morning that yet another drawing and painting program has been released for the device. Autodesk’s Sketchbook Mobile is available now in the App Store.

Those of you who’ve done professional illustration work on a Mac will probably recognize the heritage of this latest addition to the field. Autodesk is the company that acquired Alias, the makers of Sketchbook Pro. Sketchbook Pro has long been one of the very best digital painting programs available for the Mac platform.

I’ve tried both Layers and Brushes, and while I’m generally pretty useless with both, I do see my ability slowly growing, and more capable artists than myself have been able to generate pretty stunning images using only the limited toolset these apps and your finger provide. Recently introduced features, like the ability to export to .PSD in Layers, have elevated the game from idle play to a serious outlet for digital art on the go.

Sketchbook Mobile doesn’t export to .PSD (it uses the .PNG static image format), unfortunately, but it does bring a UI tailored for a touchscreen interface that’s been developed and refined for many years in the desktop version of the app. The result is an uncluttered working space that still allows quick access to all of your tools in a unique, radial menu design.

Like Layers, and more recently, Brushes, Sketchbook Mobile offers standard painting tools like layers, different types of brushes, color and media pickers, and so on. That said, Sketchbook Mobile still manages to feel like the most underpowered of the bunch despite its pedigree. The full version (iTunes link) is $2.99, but you can get a free Express version (iTunes link) to try it out first.

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  1. as I am not an iPhone owner, then I am probably not the best to comment on this…but…how in the world does a person even start drawing on such a tiny screen?

    However, I am an Alias Sketchbook 2010 owner (PC) and I love it to death…sometimes even moreso than PS for illustration purposes since it works wonders with the Wacom tablet.

    But yeah…tiny screen = tiny sketch?

  2. Trying this out right now; my first impressions are that it has a lot of great features but it’s not as responsive (sketching-wise) as I’d like. Granted I’m trying this on a 3G, but other apps I’ve used like Brushes and Layers are much quicker.

  3. After using brushes to prove my inability to draw,
    it was somehow comforting to have sketchbook pro
    prove the same thing, only with more style.
    Personally I like the versatility of having the device in my
    pocket be a sketchpad also. Size is relative
    and getting used to drawing on an iPhone
    is not that hard.

    I’m looking forward to getting the same
    resolution in sketches that brushes offers me
    when I export to my Mac.

  4. Anyone know of a decent tutorial for sketching on the iPhone? I know it’s maybe a weird thing to ask, but at $2.99, this app is so reasonably priced, and face it… you carry the iPhone at all times. So, something that sort of walks you through the process of creating a layered image, while demonstrating a use for each of the brush styles… and maybe effective use of the various adjustments to them (thickness, opacity, etc).

    I’m not a newb to doodling on paper and drawing in general… but using the digital medium… need guidance.

    Thanks

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