Common Sense Review
Updated July 2014

Sketchbook Express

Creation tools hook kids, connect them with global community of artists
Common Sense Rating 4
  • Kids can add up to three layers to each sketch.
  • Multiple brush and color options are available.
  • Pinch to Zoom allows kids to work closely on fine details in their sketches.
Image gallery inspires students to create and share original art.
Sign-up is text-heavy and would benefit from illustrated instructions.
Bottom Line
Solid resource encourages students to get creative in the classroom.
Megan Leppla
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

Sophisticated and fun tools keep kids engaged and inspired.

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

The image gallery provides inspiration, and the creation tools respond in ways that allow students to learn technical drawing skills. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

Information on using the tools is available, but video tutorials would be more helpful.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

SketchBook Express is an excellent resource to get kids started brainstorming ideas. Although it's designed to be an art app, teachers should consider utilizing some of its features as a productivity tool. Kids can take notes, create lists, and visualize school projects through sketches. Of course, the illustration tools shouldn’t be overlooked as a resource to teach lessons on line, shading, color, and texture. The deviantART gallery creates an opportunity for kids to share their work or get inspired by creations from a global community. Teachers should be aware that deviantART is open to a variety of projects in addition to the SketchBook Express projects.

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What's It Like?

SketchBook Express is a creative resource that gives students the tools to brainstorm ideas and create original works of art. At first, some students may be put off by the age disclaimer and heavy explanatory text, but once they’re past that, they’re sure to be hooked by the creation tools. To get started sketching, students choose from a variety of brushes, colors, drawing styles, and techniques. They can create a drawing, save the sketch, and then create many more. Each sketch is saved in a personal gallery with the option to share works on a variety of platforms. SketchBook Express shares a portal to deviantART, an online art community and portfolio site. Students can be inspired by other artists on deviantART or contribute to the community by posting their own work.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Students can access a variety of tools, each of which responds differently to touch. Sketching with various brushes gives students a chance to practice drafting skills while using digital techniques not unlike many professional illustrators and graphic designers. Kids can add layers to their sketches with drawings, textures, and even with photos from their own library. The many interesting features make this an efficient tool for compiling a sketchbook to log work and demonstrate progress for any class.

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See how teachers are using Sketchbook Express

Lesson Plans