By Todd Bernhard on Thu, 05/13/2010
One of the traditional computer programs my kids love is Disney's Magic Sketch Artist application. An ever-changing palette of tools, colors, and stickers are available for foolproof custom works of art. Drawing Pad for the iPad, from Darren Murtha Design, reminds me of that program, without the Disney branded images of course. The palette slides away at will, leaving almost the entire screen for your canvas. But drag the handle and an impressive array of tools are available, including brushes, colored pencils, crayons, markets, stamps, paper stock, stickers, eraser, and a USB drive symbolizing the different ways to share the drawing, such as email, twitter, Facebook and more.
I only have two usability requests, which I hope will be addressed in future updates. When you select a tool, there should be a visible way to notify the user what tool or color is active. Also, when in sticker mode, you should be able to point to a spot on the canvas and have the current sticker appear there. The current method requires touching the sticker on the palette which places the sticker in the center of the screen, and then you drag and rotate the sticker if desired. For children, I think they will expect to be able to touch the canvas and just have a sticker appear at that spot. Instead, if you touch the canvas, while in sticker mode, it will draw or paint lines using the most recently selected drawing tool.
The images are beautiful, especially many of the stickers, and Drawing Pad can appeal to adults as well as children. At $1.99, Drawing Pad is a bargain compared to traditional Windows and Mac programs, which don't benefit from the iPad's touchscreen interface. A few tweaks and it will be ideal for kids of all ages.