How Many Brushes in Sketchbook?

Autodesk Sketchbook

Dabs with Sketchbook brushes
Treasure Trove of Sketchbook Brushes.

Q: If you’ve got Sketchbook, what have you got?

A: One of the best mobile drawing and painting apps for Apple or Android, tablet, phablet or phone.

(Note that these varieties of Sketchbook were current at time of writing in 2013. For later versions and some great improvements see Which Version of Sketchbook?  April 2015.)

Sketchbook has four main varieties:

1. Sketchbook Mobile Express

2. Sketchbook Mobile

3. Sketchbook Express

4. Sketchbook Pro

1. Sketchbook Mobile Express

Sketchbook Mobile Express is the free version for phones and low resolution tablets, both Apple and Android.

This is a very basic, cut down variety of the app. Here there are only five brushes. For a first try with Sketchbook, it might be a good idea to have a go with it in this the simplest form. After all, it won’t cost you anything, and you do get a look at most of the tools.

You’ll be introduced to the ‘lagoon’, the central circle of tools which puzzled me at first. Here your five brushes are arranged around the circle, together with an eraser, a paint bucket and a button for entering text.

Here there is no fine tuning of brushes, but you do have a ‘puck’ for adjusting width and transparency.

There are also layers, together with a full colour wheel.

Apple painting
Apple Created in Sketchbook on iPhone

Pinch zoom allows you to add quite a bit of detail on small screens.

2. Sketchbook Mobile

Sketchbook Mobile is a paid-for version for phones or low-res tablets. It’s compatible with both Apple and Android devices. For a small price you land more advanced additions to the range of basic tools.

  • Three palettes of brushes (total 45).
  • (Though Boo Hoo no smudge tool.)
  • Fine brush adjustment: Min + Max width and transparency. Space, Noise, Angle, Jitter, Squish.
  • Beautiful Copic colour palettes with complementaries.
  • A central lagoon of brush icons for your current favourites.
Android Apple Painted in Sketchbook

 3. Sketchbook Express

Express, free for tablets,  can show you the basic selection of Sketchbook drawing and painting tools.

  • Layers
  • Colour wheel (RGB + HSV)
  • Layer transform. Slide your image about with two fingers to move, size and rotate it. Tap an icon to flip it.
  • Text entry
  • Geometric shapes
  • Mirroring
  • Central puck for quick brush width and transparency adjustment.
  • On the downside, you only get one palette of brushes (15) in Sketchbook Express to play with.

4. Sketchbook Pro

Pro unsurprisingly gives the most features. I may not have discovered all, but these are a few of the extras.

  • 7 further sets of 15 brush heads: Pencils 4H to 9B, pattern pens featuring Newsprint screens, Plants, Objects, Human figures, Insects, Shapes.
  • Sidebar of favourite colours.
  • Sidebar of favourite brushes.
  • Central wheel of favourite brush-colour combinations. At first I was puzzled by this central wheel of icons, but now find it an indispensable palette of brushes adapted for the current piece.
  • Text. An impressive range of fonts both sober and fancy.
Sketchbook for Galaxy

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the additional fully Pro version, Sketchbook for Galaxy, is only available for the Galaxy Note series.

Mountains - painting
Mountains Made in Sketchbook on iPad Mini

Hurrah! Sketchbook Pro has a Smudge tool. At first this was hidden as a cryptic icon on page three of the brush menus. Smudge (also known as Smear, Blend, Stump or Palette Knife) now has a new icon which you can place to hand on the sidebar.

Published by

Valerie Beeby

We used to say 'Seeing is believing'. Now it's more like 'Believing is seeing'. We see what we expect to see. Look again and who knows. Does it really match what's actually there? ...I've always been fascinated by how our minds work. As a writer and artist, I'm particularly interested in new research into how we perceive this extraordinary world we live in, where things are not always what they seem.

7 thoughts on “How Many Brushes in Sketchbook?”

  1. The Pro version is vastly different depending on what device you use it on. I tried the free version for a few days, and then decided to pay for Pro expecting to have the full arsenal of tools available on my iPad Air 2, but as it turns out — even though it’s the “Pro” version, the mobile (iOS, or Android) version of Pro is actually considerably cut down from the desktop version. While Pro, even on a mobile device, is improved over the free version, it’s not even 1/2 of the actual desktop version. For $5 bucks, it’s still not a bad deal, but I think Sketchbook marketing is very misleading regarding what you actually get in your upgrade. If you’re using it on a desktop, prepare to be blown away — on a mobile device… meh, not so much

  2. Very helpful ,Thank you so much. I did not know whether the mobile version or pro version were the same or not.

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