Skitch is the well-known image annotation and editing app that has long since been a staple on the Mac platform. What makes Skitch so awesome to me is its simplicity: when it comes down to it, all Skitch really does is let you write or draw (optionally on top of an existing image) and then share it. No big deal, right?
Presented in a simple and intuitive interface, Skitch lets you do everything from drawing a stupid mustache on a friend’s photo to quickly doing a mockup of a website. I always wondered when Skitch would be available on platforms besides Mac, but I never dreamed it would show up on Android.
Evernote and Skitch
Skitch was recently acquired by Evernote and, shortly thereafter, became available for Android users. Evernote combined with Skitch makes for an awesome way to stay organized and productive. Rather than relying solely on text, you can grab a snapshot, add some arrows, text, and other annotations, and post it to Evernote for later review. You can even use Skitch to create a new note if you don’t feel like typing or need to express yourself graphically.
Using Skitch on Android
Once you install the Skitch app, you have easy access to it from the Share menu in just about any other Android app. This share menu is one of the powers of the Android platform and it really shines when using Skitch. It means you can easily grab a snapshot of a scene with your camera, instantly edit a screenshot, annotate a file from your SD card, or basically Skitch up any image that appears on your device’s screen.
Once in Skitch, you have a number of primary controls available across the top of your device:
Home – Return to Skitch home screen.
Crop – Cut your image down to size.
Trash - Select and delete individual elements you’ve added to your image, or just erase everything and start over.
Undo/Redo - You will be using this one a lot. Undo your last change, including your last undo, which allows you to undo your undo.
Share - This is basically your Save button. Your bread and butter in the Skitch app. Share your completed image with the world using whichever apps will support images on your device (PicPlz, Flickr, Gmail, etc).
Evernote - Instantly create and save your annotated image to Evernote in one click.
Your editing controls are across the bottom, underneath your image:
Color/Pen Size - Change the color and thickness/size of your drawing tools. Everything from your drawing pen to your font size is affected by this setting.
Pen - This allows you to draw and sketch random lines in your Skitch. What is awesome about this tool is that, once you draw a line and raise your finger, it smooths out the line for you. This is extremely helpful if you don’t have the steady hands of a surgeon and/or are using a very fine pen size in your image. The Pen tool can draw both opaque lines and translucent lines like a highlighter in case you want to see through your pen strokes.
Arrows - This is probably the most well-known feature of Skitch. This allows you to point things out within your image for emphasis, provide direction, create diagrams, and more. You can also just have fun with excessive use of arrows all over your image.
The Finger – It’s not what you think. This selection tool gives you the power to move things around in case you weren’t able to place something exactly where you wanted it. Not only can you move stuff around, but this same tool allows you to select one or more objects by drawing a line around them. Once selected, you can go back and modify color and size of objects as well as delete them entirely.
Text - You guessed it! Use this tool to type random text on your image. This tool obviously helps with mock-ups, diagrams, annotation, and helps when creating lolcats.
Shapes - This final tool allows you to draw rectangles, circles/ellipses, and straight lines. If you truly want a perfect circle or square, just get as close as you can and Skitch will fix it for you automatically.
A Skitch of Skitch
Settings of Note
Skitch doesn’t have many settings, but the few available are extremely important in order for you to get the most out of your Skitching. Remember that neat feature that smooths your pencil lines out for you? Well, if you do happen to have the steady hands of a surgeon or just want to go totally freestyle, you can turn this setting off. The default is for all tools to use the same color and brush settings, but you can make things more flexible (or complicated) by turning on the Per-tool settings option. Finally, the Screen-relative tool sizes option will make sure that, no matter what your zoom is, all your tools draw lines with consistent sizes.
Having never drawn on a tablet or even a smartphone before, I have really taking a liking to Skitch. You would think that it would be pretty useless trying to draw on your Android screen, but the Skitch interface makes it a breeze. They also do a good job of leveraging the touch screen user-interface. For instance, you can pinch-zoom your image as well as pan around within the image by swiping with two fingers.
Android Ice Cream Sandwich
One could suggest allowing for a more diversified color palette (there are currently only eight colors), or maybe more editing tools, but I think changes like that might just clutter things up and spoil the simplicity of Skitch.
However, there is one glaring omission in the Skitch app that I found surprising early on. There is no way to save your Skitch. You can only post it to Evernote or share it with other apps on your device. You can’t simply save to internal or external storage. I did find a workaround for this by sharing to a Dropbox folder (which, incidentally, is how I was able to pull images into this post), but this isn’t ideal for all situations.