Common Sense Review
Updated April 2013

Sketch Guru - Handy Sketch Pad

Ignore the ads to easily create and share sketches
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 3
  • Though the start screen looks quite techno, the sketch tools available are classic.
  • Kids can choose from 17 brushes and customize size and opacity.
  • They can create black and white sketches with lines and shading.
  • They can create colorful sketches with the full color spectrum.
  • Sketch Guru - Handy Sketch Pad is as easy to manipulate as a pad and pencil.
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.
Amanda Bindel
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

Kids 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 kids 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. Kids can save their work and retrieve photos from their device's gallery.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

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.

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What's It Like?

Create original sketches starting from a blank canvas or alter photos or existing works accessed through the gallery on Sketch Guru - Handy Sketch Pad. Kids 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 color picker, 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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Is It Good For Learning?

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 SketchPad Pro, but for a free option (and the annoyance of ads), users can explore and create easily.

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