Use brushes to add colour with app Sketchbook Mobile


Sometimes you need to just add a little colour quickly to a photograph to illustrate a simple point as I have here. This is a quick tutorial which will show you how to choose different colours and brushes using Sketchbook Mobile.

This is a picture (below, left) which I took last year, with Hipstamatic, on the blackeys supergrain setting but you can use any black and white photo and add a vignette if it doesn’t already have one. (See how to create a quick vignette here). The man with his camouflage trousers and bold, upright stance was what I had been interested in capturing. However, when I looked at this picture today (about a year from when it was taken) what struck me was the string of lights across the top of this image; the old Weymouth lights that have now been removed from the seafront . I really miss those lights so decided to put them back in. (for old times sake)

Step 1 Below, left is the original picture. I am now going to start adding some colour blobs of uniform size as shown below right. First of all I opened the photo in the app Sketchbook Mobile.


Choose a brush 

Step 2 Click on the little circle of circles to bring up your tool & paint options. Choose the bottom icon (pencil & paintbrush) and adjust the sliders until you get the brush you like. At this point you can click on the "brushes" button in the top right corner to select another great selection of brushes and tools. Experiment with these until you find something suitable.

Choose a colour

From the brushes menu or main menu click on the little "colour wheel" icon to bring up the colour wheel screen shown below left. Here, you can change the opacity of the colour if you wish. Once you have chosen a colour, select "back" to begin painting. You can pinch and zoom in very close with two fingers to precisely place your colour blobs. Use two fingers and drag to move the canvas from side to side. 


Don’t worry if you make a mistake, simply double tap in the bottom left-hand corner (or in the right-hand bottom corner to re-do) and you can undo any mistakes very easily.

The final result. 

Nicki Fitz-Gerald

Co-author of The Art of iPhoneographyCentral. Founder of



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