Painting with Sketchbook Express

I was introduced to Autodesk Sketchbook Express the other day by David Hendry from Lex Learn. David has an interest in all things to do with computing and education but is also a local artist specialising in iPad painting. David uses the Dorset landscape as his inspiration and his excellent work can be viewed at

I’ve played with a few iPad sketching apps but what I really like about Sketchbook is its ability to use layers. Children can create different objects in their own layer and then resize, rotate, move and re-order layers (or delete them) without ruining the rest of their painting. This is where the iPad can be more powerful than the humble paintbrush.

Sketchbook comes in two flavours – ‘express’ and ‘pro’. The express version is free and probably has enough basic features for most people. Indeed, it’s the version which David uses. The pro version is inexpensive though.

Year 1 children had a play with it this morning and coped well with it compared to other similar apps. I intend to introduce it to older children soon and suspect the layering feature will be incredibly powerful – watch this space.


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