Use Google AI to turn your sketches into brilliant drawings

No artistic talent? No problem! Use Google’s AI sketchpad to draw

Drawing with a mouse or your finger is challenging for an artist, but when you are a dummy like me, it is impossible. Yet Google’s AI is able to turn the worst sketches into brilliant art!

Google AutoDraw brings artificial intelligence and image recognition to drawing. It cleverly replaces your poor sketches with professional artwork

Google has an AI experiment that is fascinating and also very useful for the artistically challenged. It enables anyone to draw on the screen and produce artwork that they can download.

What differentiates this drawing tool from everything else that you can draw with is the AI, which can guess what you intended to draw. It then replaces your awful artwork with a perfectly drawn image.

You can then colour the drawing, add text, shapes and so on, and then download it to disk and use it wherever you want. It is brilliant and you must try it to see how amazing it is.

1 AutoDraw on the web

Go to the AutoDraw website in a browser and click the button to start drawing. There is a tutorial, but really it is so simple you won’t need it.

The Google AutoDraw website

2 Begin drawing

Click and drag with the mouse to draw on the screen. With every line you draw, AutoDraw tries to guess the object. At the top you can see the suggestions after drawing a circle - 'Did you mean:'

Draw in the browser with Google AutoDraw

3 Continue drawing

Keep on drawing and AutoDraw keeps on guessing. Look how the suggestions have changed. It thinks I am drawing a smiley face, among other things.

Draw with Google AutoDraw

4 A correct guess!

The addition of whiskers changes everything and now the first five suggestions are cats! When AutoDraw correctly guesses what you are drawing, click the image you want from the suggestions bar.

Google AutoDraw tries to guess what you are drawing

5 Finished drawing? There’s more...

Now that AutoDraw has replaced your image with a superbly drawn one, click the button in the bottom left corner to access the tools. There is Select, Draw, Type, Fill and Shape.

Google AutoDraw drawing tools

In the bottom right corner is another button and this one is for selecting the pen, text or fill colour.

6 Customise the image

Use the tools to modify the image and colour it, add text and draw some more. An artist could probably do a better cat in no time at all, but for an artistic dummy like me, this is brilliant.

Use the drawing tools in Google AutoDraw

7 Save and share

Click the menu button in the top left corner to open the sidebar. There are options to download the finished artwork to disk or to share it on social media sites.

Save or share your drawing from Google AutoDraw

The AI that this this AutoDraw website using is very clever. You can draw something really badly, yet it can often correctly guess what you intended to draw.

Unless you are a programmer, you probably don’t appreciate how hard it is to recognise shapes and objects.

Of course, it seems obvious to any real person that my drawing is of a cat, but getting a computer to recognise wonky lines that should be straight, circles that are nowhere near circular, and other badly drawn objects is very difficult.

My bad drawing of a horse

I tried to draw a horse!

Google AutoDraw horse

AutoDraw replaced it with a proper horse

This isn’t going to replace clip art anytime soon, but it is a fascinating experiment in machine learning and recognition.

Where will it lead? Who knows, maybe one day we won’t type the image we are searching for into Google search and instead we will draw it.

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