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atebits Scribbles 1.1 review

A deceptively simple drawing tool for the rest of us

Don’t laugh – we worked long and hard to create this masterwork in Scribbles.

Our Verdict

A unique, user-friendly, innovative drawing tool that’s well worth a tenner.


  • Usable, fun interface
  • Great for kids, adults and pros!
  • Strong scaling and export capabilities
  • Tablet and scroll-wheel support
  • See-through window option or tracing


  • No Eye-dropper or Fill tool

Although Photoshop is largely used by professionals, its influence has crept in elsewhere, and even consumer graphics applications often have interfaces based on that of Adobe's giant. Scribbles, in common with the likes of Acorn and Apple's iPhoto, offers a truly unique, innovative approach, this time for sketching and drawing.

It's safe to say that the Scribbles interface isn't like that of other applications. Devoid of text, it instead uses large, friendly icons to select a brush type, zoom level and colour. Three tools are on offer (Brush, Move and Zoom), permanently housed at the top-right of the Scribbles window.

Confusing at first

Initially, users might feel nonplussed, but within a couple of minutes we were happily fashioning a masterpiece - and discovering that our drawing skills aren't quite what they used to be. Usefully, though, the application offers a semi-transparent (Tracing Paper) window option, making it a cinch to trace an image from the likes of iPhoto.

The fact that the interface is intuitive is most evidenced in the way layers are handled. Instead of the abstract layers palette almost every other application uses, Scribbles offers a Layers button that provides access to a 3D view of your layers (each of which shows a preview of the layer's contents), and these can be dragged and reordered at will.

Occasionally, the interface's simplicity trips Scribbles up - for example, the function of the Transparency slider isn't obvious until you use it - but, by and large, Scribbles is suitable for all users: beginners will love sharing creations in the Scribbles Gallery; and pros should welcome the export options, support for graphics tablet pressure sensitivity, and option for speeding up interface animations.