An update to an existing art app that allows artists to access NFT marketplaces directly could have the potential to democratize access to the NFT world for artists not currently in crypto. SketchAR is an existing mobile app that allows artists to turn photos into illustrations using its AI-based computer vision. It is now launching a new feature that allows users to turn their art into NFTs directly inside the app, and then sell it. Content produced on the app can also include a public community feed and digital learning courses.
The app, which boasts it has almost a million users already, will start off selecting a single "Creator of the Week" from its community for their art to be NFT’d on the OpenSea marketplace. But a new feature will shortly enable any artist using the platform to create and auction an NFT on-demand.
However, there is a catch. The artwork will have to be created directly in the SketchAR app in order to prove the artist is the legitimate rights holder, says the startup. This is, however, an advantage, says the startup, since very few marketplaces monitor the derivation and authenticity of artworks uploaded proactively.
And for now, it looks like there is no real equivalent app on the market, although there are of course plenty of ways to create artwork and then upload it to an NFT marketplace in a separate process.
Andrey Drobitko, CEO and founder, told me: “It’s a unique offer since it allows even amateur designers to create an art piece and turn it into an NFT without diving deep into the ecosystem, connecting their wallet to their OpenSea account and paying significant gas fees to minting.”
He said: “Since the art piece comes from the app SketchAR, it also ensures it’s authentic and wasn’t stolen -- something that happened quite a few times with NFTs."
SketchAR said it also built its own infrastructure that allows it to use Ethereum and other two-layer solutions like Flow, Immutable or Binance Smart Chain, to reduce costs.
“Basically it competes with artists and designers learning a lot about blockchain, how to work with it and working directly with marketplaces like OpenSea or Rarible,” added Drobitko.
"Fifteen years ago I realized I couldn’t make much money as an artist and only continued to make art for pleasure. It’s different now and we’re excited to support artists, help them develop creative skills and successfully monetize their artworks,” he said.
It’s estimated there are roughly 50 million artists globally, but fewer than 10% are able to make it their primary source of income.
According to NonFungible.com more than $2 billion was spent on NFTs during the first quarter of 2021, representing an increase of about 2,100% from Q4 2020.