Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2013
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Sketch Guru - Handy Sketch Pad

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Ignore the ads to easily create and share sketches

Common Sense says
Teachers say (1 Review)
$avg_user_learning_rating
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Grades
3-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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5 images

Pros: Wide selection of brushes allows kids to create amazing detail.

Cons: No way to disable the ads that appear on every screen.

Bottom Line: Easy tools and technology make a good artistic learning tool, despite the ads.

Use Sketch Guru's movie feature to demonstrate techniques step by step for students. Or have students use it to sketch, and then observe and evaluate their process via the movie to give feedback on technique. As students grow their practice, have them record their own "live draw" videos to share with classmates. Students could also use Sketch Guru to practice visual note-taking during class lectures and discussion, or while watching videos, to turn what they're hearing into visual concepts and explainer drawings.

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With Sketch Guru - Handy Sketch Pad, students create original sketches by starting from a blank canvas or by altering photos or existing works accessed through the gallery. Students or teachers can save their sketches and share them via email or social media, and use the movie function to play back their drawing process, step by step. Choose from 17 or more brushes (depending on the platform), a full color spectrum, and a color picker, and then work in layers and undo or redo strokes. The brushes include interesting artistic options like watercolor, single stroke, fur, long fur, circle, and square. Adjust brush width and opacity, too. If users can tune out the ads, they can use Sketch Guru - Handy Sketch Pad to create, assess, and share their sketches.

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Sketch Guru - Handy Sketch Pad has the quality sketch tools you'd pay to use, so it's too bad the ads can be so distracting. The black and neon art screen looks more like an '80s video game than a serious sketching app -- but that is quite misleading! Within the app, the brushes work beautifully, and users can create sketches with the quality of a paper sketch pad. For teachers, the movie option is especially helpful. Create a sketch to demonstrate a technique and then play the movie for the class. Students will see step by step, in movie format, how the teacher created the work. You can easily share sketches via email or social media, or save them to the device. Sketch Guru - Handy Sketch Pad does not have the professional-level features of Autodesk Sketchbook, but for a free option (with the annoyance of ads), it enables users to explore and create easily.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

Students are empowered to express themselves creatively. The tools are fun to explore and easy to use to create sketches.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Reviewing the movie of their strokes, step by step, can help students reflect on how they created a sketch, but there's no instruction here.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
2

There's no help or tutorial available. Students can save their work and retrieve photos from their device's gallery.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

3
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Featured review by
Elisabeth A. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
Cosumnes River Elementary School
Sloughhouse, CA
3
Easy to Create Photo Effects

The app does what it promises, which is to help users create some nifty photo effects. Ads appear at the bottom of the app as users scroll through their finished images, but it's not that distracting. I prefer ads-free apps for students since you can't control or predict the kind of advertisements shown. SketchGuru is an easy to use app, accessible to many kinds of learners after a simple teacher demonstration. Kids enjoy tweeking their images, allowing them to make artistic decisions.

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