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Review: Sketches II iPad app

Drawing app Sketches ups its game with Apple Pencil compatibility and improved features.

Our Verdict

Slick revised drawing app is a delight to use with the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, and the Pro version is good value with worthwhile upgrades.


  • iPad Pro/Apple Pencil integration
  • Near-instant response
  • Drawing medium options aplenty


  • Er…

Everyone has their favourite drawing apps for iPad (opens in new tab) and it can be very difficult to elbow into a space taken up by big players and established software. But the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil (opens in new tab) added a different dimension to art on the iPad, and as sketching apps update to factor in the new hardware's capabilities, there is an opportunity for less well-known apps to shine.

I had not heard of Sketches, and now that it has become Sketches II – with full iPad Pro and Apple Pencil optimization – I was keen to try it out. I was not disappointed – it is, quite frankly, a joy to use.

Review: Sketches II

You can paint watercolour on the new version of Sketches

The first thing you notice about Sketches II is how user-friendly it is. Open up the app and you get the option of continuing a previous canvas or starting from scratch, and in an instant you can get started drawing. And thanks to the new tools available (some only on the Pro version), you can pencil draw, sketch with a pen, paint watercolours, and more.

Review: Sketches II

Create colourful characters with a few strokes!

If you're used to the original version of Sketches, the latest iteration comes with four new tools. The Smudge brush allows artists to brush over existing colors and blend them together, while the cutter tool allows to cut, paste and duplicate part of the drawing.The smart ruler tool simplifies horizontal and vertical line drawings, and the new India Ink pen boasts incredibly realistic renderings.

Review: Sketches II

Sketches II allows you to invent your own style

Pressure sensitivity is very good when using Sketches II on the iPad Pro and there's barely any lag. Although it is available on iPhone and iPad Air, Sketches II really comes alive when paired with the Apple Pencil and an iPad Pro – and also when you upgrade to the Pro version which comes in at a very reasonable $4.99/£3.99.

Sketches II

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The Verdict

out of 10

Sketches II

Slick revised drawing app is a delight to use with the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, and the Pro version is good value with worthwhile upgrades.


Craig Stewart is a writer, SEO strategist and content marketer, and is a former editor of Creative Bloq. Craig has written about design, typography, tech and football for publications including Creative Bloq, T3, FourFourTwo and DSG, and he has written a book on motoring for Haynes. When he's not writing, you'll usually find Craig under his old car learning about DIY repairs the hard way.