Today’s designers have copious options for sketching beyond the traditional tools of sketchbook and pencil. The layers of bionics that augment the design process and the depth of technology available to the average creative professional are astonishing. However, despite access to such N'th degree of computing, that fundamental classic transaction still reigns: the act of drawing and just 'putting shit on paper.'
These days you can pack a lot of digital horsepower in a bookbag and still have room for peripherals... not to mention what you pack in your pocket (seriously, can you even remember what is was like when they were just normal telephones?)! For all these devices, there is no shortage of affordable sketching apps to choose from, each taking a different approach on technology and a distinct interpretation on UX and functionality. With so many to choose from, which ones are the best? The apps that are right for you depend on, well, you.
Sketch by Chris Cheung using Mischief
We suggest thinking about your needs first. What do you expect from a sketching app? Are you looking for something lightweight that emulates the simplicity of a traditional tool? Are you keen on particular digital enhancements that make you sketch better or faster? Do you prefer all-in-one apps that are like mini-photoshops? And what are you looking to do with your digital sketch afterwards?
Then there are the crucial criteria: ease of use (it's sketching after all!), sketching quality (how it looks and feels), performance (does it keep up with your every move?), functionality (does it do what it claims to do?), and value (is it worth it?).
There is endless promise for digital sketching. Luckily, these days, it is easy to experiment with new apps and to mix and match the ones that fit your needs without having to spend a fortune. You can also expect this space to continue to evolve rapidly—the battle for sketch superiority is not over!
We talked with some seasoned sketchers about their app-inions and how and what works for them. Let us know what you use... Have you discovered your killer sketch app?
• Spencer Nugent, Founder of IDSketching
• Michael DiTullo, Chief Design Officer of Sound United
• Rachael Stefanussen, Lead Insights Designer at Astro Studios
• Craighton Berman, Founder of Manual
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This article is part of the Core77 Tech-tacular, an editorial series exploring the myriad ways that technologies are shaping the future of design.