App review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2013
Autodesk Sketchbook
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Autodesk Sketchbook

Impressive creation tool for teens serious about art

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Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 3 reviews
Privacy rating
59%| Warning Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Subjects & Skills
Arts, Creativity

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5 images

Pros: Impressive brush selections, professional tools on an easily accessible tablet screen.

Cons: There’s a learning curve for kids not already familiar with professional-level digital art tools.

Bottom Line: Gives students easy access to professional tools for creating digital art.

There are lots of ways to add this quality drawing app into your curriculum of choice. It may make the most sense for art teachers, giving kids a head start as many college art programs feature digital creation -- but anywhere there's an opportunity to insert some creativity into an otherwise dry subject, Autodesk Sketchbook could be a fun option. Since teens can save their works-in-progress to the gallery, multiple students in different classes can use the same device if necessary.

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Autodesk Sketchbook is a full-featured design and creation app with an arsenal of tools for creating digital art, offering tools available in the desktop version with the ease of a sketchbook on an iPad or other tablet. Teens can choose brushes and colors, draw using mirror image, move and rotate and arrange objects, and work with layers. They can choose the resolution size to save creations. It's possible to store works-in-progress and complete them later, as well as export works (including PSD export) or share them over email or social media. There are some differences in features across platforms; for example, the iOS version of the app has a smudge tool, while the Android version does not (at the time of this review).

The app does offer an option for pen only, which lets artists use the stylus without hand pressure registering on the screen, so they can draw with precision. Additionally, students can pin their most-used tools to their canvas and reset them easily in the settings.

Students familiar with the desktop version of Autodesk Sketchbook will pick up the tablet version with no problems, but others will require some instruction and exploration to get comfortable. The controls are exhaustive and intuitive, and the ability to maneuver with both fingers and a stylus offers some ease in creation.

The options for tools, pens, and stamps are outstanding. It would be nice to see a few improvements (such as a select tool and, for the Android version, a smudge tool), but all in all, it's excellent. It includes more tools than Procreate, another professional-level creation tool, though not as many options for canvas-size and resolution. Autodesk Sketchbook is a serious digital art tool not to be mistaken for the many simple drawing apps available for kids. It's a professional-caliber tool designed by Autodesk, developers with a history of well-regarded apps for designers, engineers, and architects.

Overall Rating


The tools are fun to play around with, but serious artists will be drawn to their versatility and quality when it comes to making digital art.


Teens can learn through exploration in this user-driven experience. The vast array of tools allows artists to delve deep into digital creation.


A basic written tutorial introduces teens to the tools available. The site includes a great blog with news and tips about the app, as well as topics like storyboarding and drawing tutorials.

Common Sense reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Community Rating

(See all 3 reviews) (3 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Jim P. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Melvindale High School
Melvindale, United States
Great product for alternative was to get students to create (draw) digitally!
I have to say that SketchBook Pro would be my digital sketchbook app of choice for my classes. The user experience is awesome, and with little time dedicated to app demonstration and overview, students are drawing in no time. The only downfall, for ANY digital drawing program that is, that can the absence of a phyiscal writing tool can somewhat alter the drawing experience. While there is no substitution for the "old school" methods, a stylus can only improve the users experience with this app.
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Users can interact with trusted users and/or students.
Personal information is displayed publicly.
Unclear whether user-created content is filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Users can create or upload content.
Processes to access and review user data are available.
Processes to modify inaccurate data are available.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Unclear whether this product displays traditional or contextual advertisements.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is displayed.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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