Sketch Rolls is a well-designed note taking, sketching, drawing, and sharing app that allows you to create and collaborate on thoughts and ideas.
Many note taking and sharing apps require you to sacrifice form for function, but that’s not the case with Sketch Rolls. Sketch Rolls is carefully designed to look professional while remaining simple to use so that it can be accessed in any setting, from home to school to the office.
Sketch Rolls opens with a tutorial, showing you the capabilities of the app and how to use them. Unlike a typical sketching app, Sketch Rolls is landscape oriented and scrolls from top to bottom with arrows, rather than left to right. This is less intuitive because most of us are used to flipping pages a certain way, but it’s a simple change to get used to, and the “roll” concept ends up making a lot more sense.
Sketching a note, drawing a picture, or whatever else you want to use this app for is done either with your finger or a stylus. The sketching button (it’s a circle) is used to turn on sketching mode, and tapping it also controls brush size. Once you fill a page, tapping the “+” button will add a new one, and you can even go back through your notes and add new pages wherever you need them.
As with other apps of this type, there’s an easily accessible eraser and undo button. The eraser functions differently than you may be used to, however. The faster you move your finger, the bigger the brush is. To erase small areas, you need to erase slowly. Holding down the eraser button clears the entire page, and all of these functions are nicely designed and intuitive to use.
There are three types of paper available: grid, line, and plain. There are other note taking apps that have far more paper choices, but those are the basics and should cover most of what you’ll need from a simple sketching app.
Sketch Rolls has a neat feature that allows you to extend sketches if you run out of room and don’t want to switch to a new blank page. You can slide the screen to the left with two fingers, giving you more space to work in. With the extend feature, you’re not limited in space like a regular sketch book, and instead, you can potentially make huge panoramic drawings.
This app claims to allow you to rest your hand on the screen while sketching, but in practice, that didn’t end up working out very well. Sketching with my hand on the screen often interrupted what I was drawing and made random marks on the screen where my hand rested. Honestly, very few apps actually do the whole hand resting thing well, so I wasn’t surprised. It’s best to use this app with a stylus, without your hand touching the screen.
Files can be exported as PDFs or “SRPs,” which is Sketch Rolls file format. Exporting a file in SRP format allows you to share a project with other Sketch Rolls users, who will be able to open and edit your shared sketches.
Sketch Rolls comes with several pre-designed sketches, suggesting different uses for this app, including sketch-heavy professions like architecture, fashion, and product design sketches, and then other innovative uses like scientific ideas, math problems, and website creation.
Generally, if you make sketches and notes and often share them with other people, such as colleagues or classmates this could potentially be a great tool. If adopted by everyone in a group, notes and designs can be easily shared and edited. Sketch Rolls is also a great tool for sketching and keeping track of different ideas, whether you’re redecorating the bathroom, redesigning your fall wardrobe, or building an entire house.
What I liked: The simple design of this app was appealing, and the app itself was easy to use. A lot of sketching and note taking apps are overly complicated and require an entire manual to learn, but Sketch Rolls is powerful while also being designed for ease of use.
What I didn’t like: While the eraser function sounds interesting in concept, I didn’t prefer it to a regular selectable brush eraser. It would be nice to see more paper choices and more sketching colors available, as the app is limited in this respect. I would like to be able to zoom out on extended sketches to see my entire line of work and select one particular spot without having to scroll. I’d also like to automatically be able to scroll with two or three finger gestures without having to tap the scroll button, and zoom in for more detailed sketches. It feels like there are several gestures that this app could be taking advantage of.
To buy or not to buy: Sketch Rolls is on sale now at $2.99. If you’re looking for simplicity without all the (unnecessary) bells and whistles of other sketching apps, and the ability to easily share work with others, then Sketch Rolls is definitely worth the price. If you want to quickly take notes for class or simply doodle, there are other apps better suited to that purpose.
- App Name: Sketch Rolls
- Version Reviewed: 1.1
- Category: Productivity
- Developer: Ordo Group
- Price: $2.99