Metro has some fairly good apps for being just a beta, though I really hope this number increases quite a bit by the official commercial release. One thing that did bother me is that certain apps that could have easily gotten the Metro treatment right away, still haven’t.

The two biggest of these are MS Calculator, which surely can’t be that difficult to remake for Metro, and MS Paint, which might take a bit more work but I think could be truly brilliant in Metro.

Luckily, Autodesk gives us Sketchbook Express as a ‘fix’ (and if) we get an MS Paint that works natively within Metro.


As you can see in the above screenshot, I  am not an artist in any way, shape or form. Beyond that observation though, this is the first and only screen you’ll be presented with once this app launches.

It is laid out quite simply, though that’s really to be expected in a paint app, I mean, how complicated can they really get? This isn’t the perfect MS Paint-like experience, but for the most part Autodesk gets it right.

This shot shows that there are multiple different brushes and tools you can use, and in many ways this is similar to MS Paint, though obviously laid out a little differently.

Then there is the button in the top left corner that shows your current color, clicking it will let you expand the palette and bring out the color of your choice.

Finally, right clicking reveals a hidden menu that lets you open a file, start a new picture, or “Export”. This might be nit-picking (okay, it IS nit-picking), but they should simply have called it “Save”, at least in my opinion.

Saving is pretty straightforward, but I liked that you can choose two different files – JPEG or PNG. More options like BMP would have been nice, but some choice is better than none.

Overall, there isn’t too much to get excited about when it comes to paint apps, but I really think Autodesk did a good job here. It is simple and easy, nothing too over the top and for the most part new users to Metro shouldn’t find it that difficult to navigate.

Not everyone will find this app that useful, but for someone with a two-and-a-half year-old, I find it VERY nice to have a Metro painting app she can mess around with.

Have you tried Autodesk Sketchbook Express? Do you like it? If not, where would you like to see it improve? Share your thoughts below.

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  • billiken1

    That start screen for the app, the way it has a few buttons in out of the way places that then open up additional options, that’s what the Metro UI should have looked like instead of all those ugly tiles.