The global NFT market was estimated at $22 billion at the end of 2021, with the most expensive NFT lots being sold for millions of dollars. Given such tremendous success, has digital art become a new pot of gold for the creative industry?
I have talked to Andrey Adno Drobitko, founder and CEO of Sketchar, who developed an AI-powered app that helps visual artists to produce art and turn their work into NFT. The Sketchar app provides creators with tools to produce art, master their skills, connect with their audience and make profits off of their artworks.
It started out as an AR drawing app, and now it's a blooming ecosystem for digital art creators. We discussed the issues of art monetization, new types of creative ecosystems, as well as the сutting-edge tracking technology at the app’s core.
Your technology helps people produce and monetize their art. How exactly does it work?
My core belief is that an artist should start earning as soon as possible to be able to follow their passion and nurture creativity. Sketchar is targeted at artists of virtually any level, from novices to professionals. It provides functionality enabling people to create art, share it on social media platforms, engage with the community and sell NFTs in a dedicated marketplace.
The app’s design suite features an AR-enabled drawing editor, AI tools, a public feed, as well as digital courses for creators to learn and improve their skills. Thus, Sketchar is more than just a set of easy-to-use art tools—it is a full-fledged creative environment where the creative community can collaborate.
The members of our community use various art tools, share their artworks on our platform, turn their art into NFTs, and sell them using our marketplace. The perfect example of the full cycle from creating to earning is the Martians NFT Collection created by 127 artists using the Sketchar app. This is basically how the Sketchar ecosystem works.
Where did the idea for Sketchar come from? What inspired you to create a tool that helps both amateur and professional artists?
The initial idea of Sketchar came about in June 2012 based on my background as a mural artist. I thought AR technology might help me spend less time tracing a virtual sketch onto walls instead of projectors. However, it wasn’t the right time to launch an augmented reality product for mobile devices yet.
Only five years later, in April 2017, the application hit the market. It has made quite an impact on the AR industry since it showed a successful use case of AR for boosting creativity and enabling people to create something meaningful and earn money from that.
Basically, we aim for 90% of digital artists who are waiting for a "magic pill for success”. The uncovered potential of the $55 billion creative market, including NFT, is tremendous. You can be an experienced artist, but know nothing about how to jump into web3 and all this geek stuff like blockchain. We make these things more accessible to a broader audience.
Besides, the app also provides guidance and tutorials for first-time artists. Five years ago, we started as a learning tool with 1000+ drawing lessons. This educational content is still available on the app and is free to use.
For those who want to turn their art into NFTs, we have simplified the process, too. All you need to do is to download Sketchar, tap on the “Get NFT” icon in the Creative Hub, and turn any of your images into NFT. Your artwork will be published on the web with the Purchase NFT buttons.
What makes Sketchar Tracking technology different from the other popular solutions in the AR industry?
Well, it’s easy to demonstrate. There was no ARKit or ARCore in 2016 when we started. Even now, these technologies cannot make virtual objects on real surfaces (e.g. white paper) appear as stable as we need them to be.
Our Tracking technology just works differently based on the exact purpose—drawing an AR guide. So it’s different from the case when a smartphone camera is targeted at a white piece of paper which is being obscured by a hand during the drawing process.
Another example, if you put a virtual object on a table using ARKit or any other tracking system, and then move a table, the virtual object will float in the air instead of moving along with the table.
So, we invented a way to “glue” a virtual object to flat surfaces (such as a totally white piece of paper) and it remains stable even when the surface is moving, so you can move them both simultaneously. Moreover, the virtual object remains “glued” to the entire surface even at extreme zooms when the camera can’t see any environment. What’s important is that it works without any markers (QR codes or whatever).
What are the next goals for Sketchar? Are you planning to add new features?
Sure, we plan to add more art tools, upscale blockchain to enable sharing artworks right from the app, and develop tokenomics as a crucial part of the product. The core message we would like to convey through our product is: Every digital artist can live off their art, and our mission is to help with that.
Web3 for creators is going to be bright!