SketchAR is a mobile app developed in 2017 which revolutionised the way we learn how to draw. It projects AR stencils on the user’s drawing paper, and all the user has to do is to follow the stencils and draw accordingly. I like this app because it is very beginner-friendly. Users with no background in drawing can pick up a pencil and paper and draw right away. It removes the technicality of drawing and allows beginners to quickly immerse themselves into drawing. While this app is targeted to novices, experienced artists can also use the app and try a new method of drawing with AR technology.
The main feature of this app are the drawing lessons, which are broken down into smaller steps – each consisting of an AR stencil. Upon completing the stencil for the current step, the user presses ‘Next’ and the stencil changes into the one in the next step. There are many lessons offered on the app, such as animals, food, vehicles, anime, and architecture, to suit the different interests of its users. Users are also given the option to disable the AR stencils and follow the steps from their phone instead. Here is a video review of the app by an artist:
However, a major drawback of using the app is that users are recommended to attach their phones to a tripod while drawing. Otherwise, it will be tiring for the user to hold up his phone with one hand and draw with the other. Perhaps the use of goggles could be used to solve this problem. The user will wear goggles to view the stencils and free both of his hands, which could help him to concentrate on his drawing better.
Furthermore, the AR stencils restricts the area on the paper which the user’s hand can occupy. If the user places too much of his hand on the paper, the AR stencils will become distorted. A possible solution is for the app to continue projecting parts of the stencil that is covered by the user’s hands. In that way, the user can continue to follow the stencil without having to worry about touching the paper.
Another concern expressed by artists with regards to using AR stencils to learn drawing is that it hinders one’s creativity. Budding artists may become used to strictly following instructions such that they do not engage their own imagination. They will also lack drawing fundamentals which is crucial in developing and refining their drawing skills.
However, for the average user who wishes to draw for their own entertainment, this app is great for helping them to dive right in. When users sign up for an account, they can choose categories which they are interested in, and their drawing lessons will be personalised according to their interests.
Besides the AR stencils, this app boasts other cool secondary features as well, such as sketching from stencils designed by other users, sketching photographs from the phone’s gallery, and even a colour-matching game that trains users to recognise colours of different shades.
All in all, I would say that SketchAR is a great app which allows anyone to start drawing almost immediately, without any prior experience in drawing. Although it does have some setbacks, I believe that they can be rectified quickly since the technology is already there (goggles etc). SketchAR utilises AR technology in a fun and innovative manner that can transform anyone into an artist!