Today's Free App of the Day is SketchBook Mobile
Originally $4.99

This is a powerful drawing app. I have it on my iPad, too. It was previously offered as the Free App on the Day on November 18, 2011.

This is a very powerful drawing app, but the interface is a little, er, quirky. There is a minimal tutorial when you first open the app. Basically, you are presented with a blank canvas with a little dot at the bottom of the screen (the app runs in portrait mode, though there is nothing to stop you from drawing in landscape mode).

Tapping on the little dot brings up a top menu (more later) and a circle with the available tools (clockwise from top): pencil, airbrush, artist's pen, brush, text, eraser and fill. Select a tool by tapping on it. The menu disappears, sadly. Tap the dot again to bring the menu back up. You can adjust the opacity and size of the current tool by pressing and holding in the center of the circle and by dragging up or down (opacity) or left and right (size). A little popup at the top of the screen shows what the setting is changing to as you drag.

The top menu that appears varies by tool chosen. The menu that appears for the pen, pencil, brush, and eraser tools allows you to save your art, change the canvas, mirror the lines you make, choose freeform or defined shapes and change color (the pen icon). The four headed arrow allows you to move the infinite canvas, rotate it or zoom in or out. Zoom in or out by pressing and holding and dragging your finger up and down. The thing that looks like a reverse b changes when you tap it to a butterfly looking icon, indicating that anything you draw will be mirrored top to bottom. The last icon lets you add layers; when you add a layer, you can choose between adding a layer, adding a duplicate layer, importing a photo or importing from camera. You can also delete layers from this menu option.

That being said, I think the easiest way to work with the tools is to bring up the menus by tapping on the bottom dot, and then tapping on the pen icon in the top menu. This brings up the color picker AND if you tap on the pen icon now in the top right, you can choose your tool and the effect for that tool with the current settings will be shown in the window. Tap on the rainbow circle to return to the color picker. Drag the little circles to reflect the hue and shade you want, and then tap the circle in the upper right corner to set the new color. Oh, and on the color picker screen, tapping on the little circle with the eyedropper across it on the right side, just below the color circle, will return you to your drawing and let you choose a color from the current art by tapping on the color (or tap and drag until you are on the color you want). That color is automatically set and you are good to draw!

Like other reviewers, I wish there was a built in help section; I wish there was a tool bar that stayed up; I wish that when one chose a tool, the options for that tool would stay up. I wish the mirror mode would allow you to choose between vertical and horizontal symmetry (if it does, I haven't found it yet). And yet, it is attractive and powerful, a good addition to the toolbox.

I'd give it four stars; five if it were a bit more intuitive or came with a tutorial.

A PDF user's guide may be found at

3.8 of 321 reviews are four stars and above.

These apps are compatible with the original Fire and with my Fire HD 8.9" 4G. To tell if an app works for your Fire HD or other Android device registered to your Amazon account, click on the above link and look on the right side of the web page. Amazon will tell you if it will work with your registered device.

Have fun!

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