Best of Inktober Week 3: Our Community Favorites

the best of inktober from the community

They say that time passes quicker when you’re having a good time. Seems to be true as we’re absolutely enjoying all of the Inktober posts from the community, and the month is flying past. Hard to believe it’s already the third week of the drawing challenge known as Inktober. Scouring the Internet for tags of #inktober and #sketchbook posts, each Friday we’re rounding up our favorite for you. Here’s what caught the team’s eye in the past week.

This entry by Quimbandart from DeviantArt is a little late. That’s on us. It was for Day 9: Rock, but we couldn’t resist sharing this piece. Can you blame us? Dwayne Johnson (and his eyebrow) is always a crowd pleaser.

best of inktober drawings

Bumbleanddee’s tropical vision of Day 14: Tree has us wishing summer could last forever. The top down view is a great composition. All the cute characters featured in Bumbleadndee’s Instagram posts make every scene instantly charming.

inktober cuteness

Instagrammer udnis gives us a vision of where we’d like to be right now: relaxing! Not that we don’t love writing blog posts. We just don’t have a lovely view like this one in our office. We’re a bit jealous.


Instagram art sharer ochunsita8246 made this abstract underwater vision for Day 16: Wet. We love the careful use of one color on her eyes and lips. And those bubbles! We’re curious: Were they made with our Dots Brush Set?


This battle from DeviantArt’s Skydraw looks deadly serious. You might want to stand back. Love the repeating woods texture on the fence. It’s simple but effective in making the characters stand out from the background.


Logo and typography work in done SketchBook always catches our eye right away. There are a few tools that can help make perfectly crisp lines like the Ruler and Perspective Guides. We’re pretty sure Dletica from DeviantArt used one of these methods for the pin-straight line art on this clean sign for Day 18: Escape.


Instagrammer rdepass knows what Day 20: Squeeze is all about — giving a hug to your best friend. Be sure to check out her other Inktober work too. It has a Calvin and Hobbes feel to it. Amazing!


How to be featured here

Follow us on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter to see the daily Inktober prompts. Or, simply check back in on our Inktober Prompt Page every day. Once you’ve finished your drawing, tag it with two hashtags — #sketchbook and #inktober. Those are the ones we’re keeping an eye on, so draw your heart out. Fingers crossed that you’ll see your art here next week!


Drawing Creepy Environments with Jonathan Aucomte

drawing creepy

Landscapes aren’t always about prettiness and awe-inspiring views. It really depends on the mood you’re going for, and sometimes you want to go for dark and ominous over light and angelic. Such is the case around this time of year. As Halloween approaches, you might find yourself drawing something specifically designed to be spooky, creepy, or a wee bit haunted. To give you some ideas of how to add some creep factor to a Halloween drawing, we asked the artist Jonathan Aucomte to show us how he does it. Just as he did in his recent post, Creating Balanced Landscapes, he tackles his landscape in layers and stages, carefully constructing a well-composed picture with details and highlights added at the end. His is a great process to learn from if you want to practice making balanced compositions.

Starting from sketch

I like to start a sketch with paper and pencil. I enjoy digital drawing, but I prefer traditional tools to begin my drawings. It helps me to focus on composition and making the scene dynamic instead of focusing on details and effects.


This is a scene I started drawing some time ago but never pursued. I was told by someone that the milepost in the foreground looked like a gravestone. I thought that’s a cool idea for some Halloween art. With that idea in mind, I quickly sketched a rough colored version of this picture, just to focus on tints. I created a simple set of colors to work with. I try to stick to my palette as much as possible. A few colors in a palette always works fine for a picture. For this drawing, I use a kind of orange which remind me of Autumn, to give this scene a warm ambiance in the back — the safe part of the landscape. In the foreground, there will be danger. I choose shades of black and violet to create a creepy, night-time atmosphere.

Don’t care about details. Just focus on colors and contrast. Keep it rough.

Don’t care about all the details at first. Just focus on colors and contrast. Keep it rough.

Custom brushes

There are a lot of cool brushes available for SketchBook Pro, and you may find everything you need by digging into their free brush sets. But this time I need custom brushes, so I’ll show you how to create a set by yourself. Click on the ring of any brush set and select New Brush Set. Select a tool you like as a reference. For me, it’s the Pen tool. In your newly created set, click on the ring and select New Brush.


Select Current Brush option. Go into the Texture section and select Capture. Draw a shape you like. Double click on your new custom tool to show options. Set the spacing at 0,1 for smooth lines. In the Brush Radius, Opacity and Flow options, move the cursors to create various effects. Test it out to find the right brush for you.


Here’s a selection of tools I created to paint this picture. Smooth extremities is my favourite, but I also need hard brushes, 45 degrees, 180 degrees, etc. Create yours as you wish; what is good for me may not be good for you!



Painting with layers

Now I will paint over the sketchy picture and define the elements and add details. In the last tutorial, I didn’t use many layers. This time I will create a lot of them in order to make many adjustments. I start with the background. It’s supposed to be far away, so I need to keep it simple and sketchy. Don’t zoom in too much or you might add useless details.


I try to keep a kind of monochromatic atmosphere. That’s part of my concept, and it is an interesting constraint. It forces you to make creative choices you would have never done otherwise. I surprised myself with this and really enjoyed the unexpected result. Hope you enjoy it too!


Now to color the road with colder colors. I add some texture lines on it to increase the winding effect. It helps you to see how crooked the road actually is.


I want to give a sharp contrast between the background and the foreground and create a dark atmosphere, so I use black.


Note: I draw the trees without leaves first. Why? Just to get the logic of how the leaves will stick to the branches for a more realistic result.


I fill the trees with gray to make a difference with the black ones. The more you go, the clearer it becomes.


I draw the gravestones with a standard pencil on a new layer. Then fill it with black.


When I add the purple shade I want to prevent overflowing. Instead of selecting the shapes with the Magic Wand, I use the lock on the right side of the layer. It locks transparency so you can’t overfill. This works great for coloring line art too. Try if you haven’t before.


I add a linear gradient on top of the composition. I choose the same color for both ends of my spectrum, but one is set with 0% opacity. To mix the shade with the picture, I set the layer on Hard Light mode.


To create a carving effect on the tombstones, I use a simple but effective trick: Define the light source (for me, it’s on the left) and then use two colors, one dark and the other bright. Begin to draw the hollows with the dark color. Then add a bright line on the opposite side of the light source, just next to the dark one. It works similar to the kind of bevel/emboss effect you might get from a graphic design app like Photoshop.


I draw a kind of creepy smoke and set the layer in Soft Glow mode to make it more luminous. I smoothed the edges of the smoke with this tool from Mohammad’s Express Brush Set.


I draw the silhouette of a magician on single layer, set on Multiply mode. I use the Transform tool and distort the shadow to match the perspective of my picture. Move the dots around to find the right shape.


Feedback from friends

Once I felt comfortable with my work, I asked two friends to give me an opinion on the picture:

  • One said it lacked a third color.
  • The other said the houses in the back were too sketchy, too big and the trees too flat.
  • Both of them thought that the RIP gravestone was at the wrong place and that you cannot see the car at first sight because it’s too dark.

So, are they right? I find it very interesting to get an objective point of view after finishing a drawing. I know it can be painful to hear criticism, but as we all want to improve, criticism is necessary. Choose a few honest friends, skilled or not, to give you feedback. Even people who claim to have no art skills will notice things that can surprise you. Can you spot the changes I made based on their feedback?





Enjoy the tutorial? You can download a copy of this Drawing Creepy Environments PDF tutorial if you’d like to save a copy for later.

Creating Balanced Landscape Compositions with Jonathan Aucomte


Jonathan Aucompte is an accomplished graphic designer, illustrator, and instructor who hails from Toulon, France. He draws both digitally and on paper, and you can tell from looking at his illustrations that he’s especially good at creating balanced compositions. Many of his character studies have strong landscape elements with carefully constructed foreground and background elements. He’s particularly good at using the Fisheye Perspective tool in SketchBook Pro, as evident in the piece “Rain Is Coming” below (bottom right). We asked Jonathan to create one of these balanced landscape character studies for us in SketchBook Pro and walk us through how he does it. We wanted to see his workflow in action and see the order in which he tackles the work.

jonathan aucomte art

Some excellent examples of his balanced composition in practice from Jonathan’s online portfolio.

Setting the Perspective

At first, I draw a rough sketch in my physical sketchbook. I prefer using pencil and paper at the beginning of the creative process. I like to sketch directly on the Cintiq too, but the temptation is great to zoom in and add details, effects, and a ton of useless fancy stuff that can distract you from the essential: crafting the composition. I keep it simple and small and focus on the overall composition. If it works at this point, it will work whatever you do next.


You have already achieved the toughest part when you finish your initial composition.


Then, I set the horizon line. It is the spine of the perspective. When you stand up, the line is approximatively at the height of the eyes. Note that the line is at the third part of the picture. That is a composition rule I follow. You don’t have to follow it, but it usually gives a better effect.


I create a new layer to keep the original sketch safe (you can lock it if you wish), then I activate the perspective tool using the Fisheye Perspective mode. I like it because it’s very dynamic. I put the center of the sphere on the horizon line and begin to draw some line to see if it matches the original perspective. Obviously, it doesn’t because my original quick sketch isn’t accurate. So I try to make it at close as I can and begin to draw the main lines.


I change the background opacity and work on details. I make the foreground transparent and work on the background with a different color so I can better see the depth. Finally, I draw some abstract lines for the landscape to give the idea of a far away city.


Time to draw the man. I create a new layer so I can move it or change the scale if I need to. I think a surfboard might be a good match for the picture. But it lacks something on the left, so I decide to add a girl in the foreground. It will give a nice depth effect when adding the colors and shadows.

Shadows and Values

Now that the basic sketch is finished, I duplicate the folder to keep a safe version. I switch off the original and merge the copy to get a single layer.


Then I go to Image > Adjust > Grayscale and get a monochromatic version of my picture. Then I create a new layer and set it to Multiply mode.


I paint the shadows to focus on light and values. Then I lock the layer and fill the shadows with a blue tone for a more natural color ambiance.


I paint basic colors under the shadows layer (which is in Multiply mode). The blue shadows merge with the colors which leads to nice but also unexpected shades. It doesn’t fit the picture, so I open the Settings menu and change the colors using Hue & Saturation» option. Now I have a nice color ambiance.


Now I just paint over my basic rendering. I use a brush from the Giuseppe’s Brush Set. I try to make it more organic by softening the shadows and adding brush strokes. I also want the line to disappear under the paint. I really enjoy the comic style line art, but in this case it doesn’t fit; it would kill the light effects.


I set a new layer on Glow mode and make it around 50% transparent and add some light textures on the floor using the knife tool from the Oil Paints Brush Set.


Then I add a new layer in Multiply mode and add more textures using the Fur1 brush from Giuseppe’s Brush Set


I select the background and start messing around with the knife brush with the perspective tool on. I try to get a rough texture for the sea.


Then I take the Fur brush to add somme details and draw the waves. I use a standard pencil to make the shiny reflections on the white parts.



I love the blender brush from the Mohammad’s Expressive Brush Set. You can mix the colors and get a nice painting effect. Perfect to finish the clouds in the background.


Using the same tool, I start brushing the city in the back. I try to get a blur effect to emphasize the foreground, which is more important. I try not to add too much detail in the background to create depth and make the front scene the area of focus. I even add a blue filter above the background to add atmospheric perspective. I set it between 10 and 15% of opacity.


I’m almost finished. I paint the smoke above the cups the same way I painted the clouds, using the blender tool. I also add some birds in the sky at the last minute because I felt there wasn’t enough life in the back.


I’m happy with the result, but I want more contrast to separate the foreground and the background. I go into Photoshop and set the colors and light using Curves. You can see there is a small but interesting difference between the two.


Now the picture is okay, but there’s a time when you have to stop!

Enjoy the tutorial? You can download a copy of this Balanced Composition PDF Tutorial if you’d like to save a copy for later.

Ken Lashley on Drawing

ken lashley on drawing video

Ken Lashley draws superheroes with a distinct style. You can spot his work from across the comic book store. We’ve been fans of Ken’s for a long time, and he joins us regularly at events like New York Comic Con to draw at the SketchBook booth. He’s a crowd pleaser, for sure. In fact, there is always a dedicated group of fans who show up with home-made cookies for Ken — or something else equally delicious. At the last Comic Con event we attended, someone brought a big, beautiful cake!

ken lashley comic book art covers

Ken is a master of the hero comic book cover. These are just a few of our favorites. Follow him on Tumblr or on Instagram for more great work. 

A visit with Ken

It’s easy to see why people like to be around Ken so much when you hear him talk. He’s a nice guy with a lot of enthusiasm and good cheer to share. We tried to capture some of that in the first take of our ongoing SketchBook hero video series. Come along with us as we visit Ken in his drawing space and learn more about what inspires him to create art for such revered DC and Marvel comics as Superman, Superboy, Suicide Squad, Team Seven, X-Men, and Black Panther.

Free Brush Set: Blood Splatters

blood splatter brush set free download

Each week, we offer up a free brush set for our SketchBook Pro members, and since we’re heading straight toward Halloween in the next two weeks, we thought we’d give our users something that was appropriate for the Season of the Witch: Blood. Download the Blood Splatter Brush Set, upload it to SketchBook, and start adding murder and mayhem to your drawings today.

What’s in the Blood Brush Set

This set is full of stamps and smears that are perfect for adding a bit of horror to your drawings, including bloody handprint stamps (both hands), drips of blood, slashes of color, drips and droplets and stabs and chops of chunks of don’t even ask what that is. These brushes have appropriate names like Desperate Smear, Sad Puddle, and “Oh, God It’s All Over.” Mix and match them for maximum mayhem. If you’re a fan of grotesque art, you’ll probably be happy with this set, but even if you don’t like that sort of thing these brushes are good at adding subtle background effects. It works great with the Skullz Brush Set from earlier this year, especially if you like to create one-color art that is just red (with white or black).

blood splatter brushes art

Installing the brush set

Being able to share and install these weekly free brush sets in the desktop app is one of the features for SketchBook Pro members. If you’re using the latest desktop version of SketchBook (version 8), simply double click on the .skbrushes file, and it will automatically install. Check out this article for all the details about brushes and legacy versions. If you haven’t tried SketchBook Pro, you can download a free trial and unlock Pro membership for 15 days (no credit card required).

Inktober Art from Week 2: Team Favorites

inktober wrap up art from community
Banner art by Tony Helm / Cartoonstudies.

Inktober is well into its second week now. Our community has been tirelessly creating art and sharing it with two hashtags — #sketchbook #inktober. It’s all in the name of self improvement, and we’re excited to feature some of our favorite art created by talented folks from all over the Internet. There’s intense feels going on with these daily prompts in the past week  — lost, broken, worried, and scared are a few of the emotional prompts given out by the official Inktober site.

Thebrokenmasterpiece from DeviantArt reminds us of lost little Red Riding hood. Her basket is suspiciously empty!


@msaninm on Instagram makes us wish for a simpler time with this classic Nokia phone for Day 8: Rock. We’re old so we miss those bar phones. Who needs apps when you have that Snake game?


Next up, the use of typography for this broken piece by @mbeero on Instagram is ace. Second only to the striking white on solid black.


S0ulk1ller, don’t do it! You’ve go so much to live for! We love the use of perspective to give a dizzying feeling. SketchBook Pro makes it easy with Perspective Guides


The Transport prompt resulted in so many favorites we had to make a collage. Yeah, you guys are that good.


On the top left, Valentina imagines a dystopian world where adorable cats rule over the mice. At least, that’s what we’re picking up on it! Top right, Carmela is sending a whole truckload of Inktober your way. In the middle, Deomacius pops up with this space age bubble car. Bottom left, Shauna72 takes us back with this sweet penny farthing. And last but not least Mali2013 created this bullet train and added that they had never drawn a train before. That’s exactly the kind of spirit we want to encourage with Inktober!

This worried little bear by GeoffOsborne might harken back to the 80’s cartoons of our youth, but check out that belly. This Care Bear is hip to the new school ways with an adorable Apple emoji.



This Day 13: Scared contribution by victomon caught our eye for the clean composition. We love the way the fox is surrounded by his den. Everything in his expression and stance sells the fear he must be feeling from being interrupted.


How to be seen

You can follow us on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter for prompt announcements. Or, simply check back in on our Inktober Prompt Page every day to see what the community is drawing that day. Tag your drawings with two hashtags — #sketchbook and #inktober. Those are the ones we’re looking for, so draw your heart out.

How to Draw Big Cats: Lions, Tigers, Cheetahs, and More


In my recent tutorial I showed you how to draw our furry friends, domestic cats. But did you know that you can use this knowledge to also create their bigger cousins? Lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, snow leopards, cougars, and cheetahs—I will show you how to draw them all! Of course, if you want to draw them 100% accurately, it’s best that you use photos or observe the animals in a zoo. But if you want to draw them from your imagination, or to use some features of big cats for your creature design, this is the place for you! I will show you that a leopard isn’t just a spotted lion—or a tiger a striped one. Even without the characteristic colors and patterns big cats differ a lot from each other. Once you learn these differences, you’ll be able to recreate any species—and even create a new one.

Disclaimer: I will be heavily referencing the previous tutorial How to Draw Cats, so please read it first.

how to draw big cats

General Anatomy: Big Cat vs. Small Cat

Cats are cats, so you can use almost exactly the same simplified skeleton as a base for your big cat. On the left you can see a leopard with its face manipulated into the proportions of a small cat. Can you see anything wrong with its body? The elements that give the illusion away are be the elements you need to change.

The answer? Big cats have bigger paws and a bigger torso.


Big cats still have a very loose, pajama-like skin, but because they’re so big the muscle outline can be often clearly visible. A fur pattern can partially conceal it, but adding a subtle outline of the muscles still makes the cat look strong and powerful.


You can print this image and use it as a reference anytime you want to add details to your big cats

You don’t need to memorize all the muscles. Not all of them are the same visible, and we should care more about the structures they create. You can simplify the muscle structure to lines like these…


… and then turn these lines into outlines in the fur. Again, not all the lines are necessary. The structure of the feet is the most important, because they’re often skinny. Lack of muscle outline in the rest of the body can be justified with thick fur of the creature.


Let’s take a look at the facial proportions now. Big cats have the same skull shape as domestic ones, just bigger and more elongated. The bigger the species, the smaller and higher placed the eyes. The ears are much simpler to draw—you can imagine them as half-domes.



The size of the muzzle indicates the size of the prey the animal hunts

Aside from the construction, the details are also different. Big cats often have quite prominent beard and cheek-mane, both contributing to the final shape of the head. The eyelids have a clear dark edge, and the pupils are round (they get smaller in strong light instead of turning into a slit). The eyes are protected by eyelashes, and there’s an area of short hair right above them which makes the eyes look slightly bigger from distance.


Big cats are also colored in a specific way:

  • The lips often have a dark outline—when the mouth is closed, it creates a “drooping lip corner” effect.
  • The muzzle has a bright front, usually white or a brighter version of the rest of the coat.
  • The nose is usually brick red that gets spotted with brown/black dots as the animals gets older.
  • The lines of whiskers can sometimes be darker at the ends, mostly in species with fur patterns.
  • From behind the ears are dark towards the top, with a contrasting mark in the middle of the dark area. This occurs even in the plain colored species.
  • The eyes have a bright area around which is supposed to reflect more light into them. This is true especially for nocturnal species.



Mountain Lion (puma concolor)

Let’s start with the big cat that isn’t actually a big cat—it’s actually more closely related to domestic cats than to, say, a lion.  That’s why it can be drawn easily if you can draw small cats. The muzzle is short, and the eyes are quite big for a big cat. And even the ears are quite pointed! Notice the characteristic elegant look of the eyes.

how to draw mountain lion head

To draw a mountain lion draw a muscular cat with thick, coarse fur. Make the head small—it can even look unproportionally small. The hind legs may look slightly longer than the forelegs. The tail is long and fluffy, with a round tip.


To color your mountain lion, start with light brown. It should be a cold shade of brown, more similar to violet than to orange. Then add a creamy white to its underside.


The tip of the tail can be black or dark brown. The face is grayish, with a black band coming from the nose to the lips. The lips don’t have any outline. The eyes can be dark yellow, green, or even pale blue.



Let’s see how it looks in practice! You can exaggerate the features to make sure the viewers recognize the animal immediately.


Notice how small the head looks in the first step

Leopard (panthera pardus)

Leopard is another cat with body very similar to a domestic cat, even though it’s a true big cat—a panther. The ears are round, but with a sharp look, and the eyes are rather big. The main difference lies in the large muzzle.


The body of a leopard is slender—that’s exactly how we often imagine panthers. Everything is very harmonious, from slim legs to the long tail (the longest of all panthers). Nothing should stand out too much—that’s the recipe for a leopard.


To color a leopard, start with a sand color, more yellowish than reddish. Then you can add warmer tones in the places where skin bends, and a bright underside. Take a darker shade for the spots, and draw them all over the body—the bigger the area, the bigger the spots. The should be placed quite tightly and regularly. Next, color the bottom spots with black.


Each remaining spot should be surrounded with irregular black dots, creating rosettes. Finish the leopard by adding black outline around the lips and at the ends of the whisker lines. The eyes can be yellow or green. Remember that the spots lie on a 3D surface of the animal body, so they can’t look like a 2D pattern—wrap them around the imaginary forms for a more realistic look.


Let’s draw a leopard step by step:


Harmonious proportions are the key to a leopard look

But that’s not all! This was the African leopard (Panthera pardus pardus), but there’s also a less known, very rare subspecies, the Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis). You can think of it as a “winter” version of a leopard. It’s smaller than its African cousin, but it appears larger because of longer fur. In winter its coat can get very pale, making it similar to a snow leopard.



But we can’t forget about famous black panther! It’s nothing more than a melanistic version of a leopard—it’s not a subspecies, just a rare color variation. All leopards can be born black, even the Amur ones! The blackness is not complete—the coat is actually just darker, with the spots still visible in a strong light.


Jaguar (panthera onca)

Jaguars are often confused with leopards, but they’re actually pretty different. A face of a jaguar is very characteristic—it has very powerful jaws, designed to break both shells of turtles and animal skulls. Strong muscles are needed for such a bite, so jaguars seem to have very round cheeks. Because of these proportions the muzzle may look relatively short.



Jaguars are big—they can weight even twice as much as leopards. They’re heavily built, with broad forequarters and a short tail. The head may look quite big.


You can color a jaguar in a similar way to a leopard, except the spots should be larger. They also often have a more contrasting coat—darker yellow/orange with a pure white underside.



A very important detail: jaguar rosettes have small dots in the middle. The lip outline is very wide and dark, and the darkened whisker lines are very prominent. The “tear paths” behind the eyes is very long, ending with a darkened area beneath. The eyes can be yellow, green, pale blue, or even dark red.


Let’s see how to draw a jaguar:


A stocky body with a large head and a short tail is a good sign it’s a jaguar.

Jaguars have their melanistic form as well:


Lion (panthera leo)

Time for the most popular big cat! Lions are considered the largest cats, although this is controversial—they’re the tallest at shoulders, but tigers (especially the Amur ones) can weight much more. Being twice as big as a common jaguar their eye seem very small in their huge heads. They also have a characteristic long muzzle with as prominent beard, especially in males. The ears are 100% round (which, as you’ll learn soon, is typical for a cat of this size).


The head is the most important for a lion look, but there are two other things you need to pay attention to: large paws and a tufted tail. The fur on the body is quite short, hence the tail is not very thick, but it suddenly becomes so on the tip. To draw the tuft correctly you can imagine the tail of a leopard that has been shaved in a fancy way. The front of the chest (“breasts”) is fluffy.


how to draw lion

As for the colors, lions can have a range of shades for their fur: from pale yellow to tawny. Male lions’ coat is usually colder in hue (with a tint of desaturated red). The underside is brighter, although is rarely white. The lower part of the body is often covered with faded spots, more visible in younger specimens. The tail tuft is brown or black. The ear is brown behind in the upper half. The lip outline is often more brown than black and not very prominent in females. The eyes are usually yellow or brown.



Males are bigger than females, they can also be more heavily built. Adult males have a mane that’s nothing more than longer fur on the cheeks, neck, and scruff (so these are the parts you need to make slightly longer for a juvenile lion to make it different from a juvenile lioness). Longer fur may also appear on the elbows and on the lower part of the belly. The mane is usually darker on the back—dark brown or even black.


Let’s draw a lioness!


A lion can be recognized by its elongated face, big paws, and a tufted tail

Tiger (panthera tigris)

If a lion can be seen as a large version of a leopard, tiger can be a big version of a jaguar. It has small eyes in a large, round face. The “tear paths” are quite long, and the cheek-mane and beard are very prominent.


Tigers have a huge chest and large shoulders that make the forequarters look unproportionally big. The head look big as well, but the eyes must stay small. The paws are big, and tail is medium long, “tapering” (with a “sharp” tip).


Tigers have a beautiful, orange coat with a creamy or pure white underside. The stripes pattern is unique for every specimen, but they usually look like in the image below: going from the top and from the bottom, all around the body, sometimes merging. The lip outline is dark and prominent, as well as the whisker lines. The eyes are usually yellow or amber.



Let’s see how to draw a tiger in practice:


Make the forequarters unproportionally big. Large paws and tapered tail will make the tiger look complete.

But that was the more popular subspecies—the Bengal tiger (panthera tigris tigris). There’s also the Amur tiger (panthera tigris altaica): a larger subspecies with a characteristic long fur.


Just like some leopards or jaguars are born black, some Bengal tigers are born white. This is not a subspecies—it’s a mutation that is proven to be harmful in wild, breaking the natural camouflage of the animal. Still, they’re very pretty, and that’s why zoos like to breed them. White tigers are not completely white—they still have a lighter underside, although it’s very subtle. Their eyes are blue, and the nose is bright pink (they tend to get darker with age, as the nose is getting covered with the dark spots).


Snow Leopard (panthera uncia)

This rare cat has been recently considered a part of panthera family, even though it differs a lot the other panthers—for example, it cannot roar. Its head is quite similar to a jaguar, except the eyes are bigger, and the ears rounder. The eyes are deeply set in fur, which gives them a characteristic elegant look. The furry forehead is very prominent.


Snow leopards have a very characteristic body with a few unique features. The tail is very thick and long—the animal can curl it around its body for warmth. The body look stocky because of the large amount of fur. The paws are grotesquely big, acting like snowshoes. The head may look quite small in comparison to the body. The hind legs are longer than the front ones, but it’s not always visible.


Snow leopard can be a bit tricky to color. First use a warm shade of gray (tinted with yellow). Then cover the upper part of the body with a cooler shade (tinted with blue), and the lower part with white. Paint the spots with dark gray first (the bigger the part of the body they’re on, the bigger the spots), then blacken the lower area.


Finally, surround the remaining spots with black spots, creating big rosettes—much bigger than in other cats. The lip outline is dark. The eyes can be yellow, green, or pale blue.

Let’s draw a snow leopard, shall we?


Big body, huge paws, extremely long tail—that’s a recipe for a snow leopard


Cheetah (acinonyx jubatus)

Cheetahs aren’t closely related to any other cats—they’re a part of family of their own. In many aspects (including personality), they’re actually more similar to dogs than to cats! When it comes to the facial features, the head is small, round, with a short muzzle. The ears are round, and the eyes are very big. The forehead is fluffy, creating a characteristic ridge above the eyes.


Cheetah has a characteristic silhouette, streamlined for running. The legs are very long, with elongated feet and “hands.” The torso is large, but there’s a thin waist right behind it. The tail is very long and quite thick (it’s used for steering). The head looks very small in comparison to the body. Last, but not least: the claws are not completely sheathed!


As for the colors, start with a sand yellow, then add a brighter underside.


The spots are black, small, and quite regular. There can be tiny dots between them. There’s a characteristic mark on the face—a black “tear path” going from the corner of the eye to the lips. Dark lip outline is present. The eyes can be dark amber or even red. Curiously, the nose is black.


Cheetahs are so characteristic that it’s hard to draw them wrong:


Make the legs long and thin, the head small, and the waist clear, and you won’t leave any doubts about what this animal is!

A rare genetic mutation can lead to a special pattern on the cheetah’s coat. The spots are merged together to create “blobs.” King cheetahs, because that’s how they’re called, are also often slightly fluffier, with a thicker tail, longer fur on the belly, and a dark mane on the scruff.


There’s also a very rare subspecies of cheetah—Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus). It’s slightly smaller and slimmer than its cousin, but it can look larger because of longer fur in the same areas as the king cheetah.



That’s All!

You have learned how to draw all the big cats, but not only this—now you are familiar with big cat anatomy and features, so you can bend the rules to create your own realistic species, like my “cave tiger” and the “jumping panther”.


About Monika

Monika Zagrobelna is a Polish artist with a specialty in drawing animals and conceiving of animals that haven’t yet been invented. You can check out more of her work and follow along with her latest tutorials on her Facebook Page.


NYCC 2016: Our Favorite Art & Artists


If you’re reading this, chances are you didn’t go to New York Comic Con. But I bet many of you wish you could have! The SketchBook team is fortunate to be able to go to a number of fan conventions every year, and NYCC is definitely a highlight for us. We love meeting SketchBook users and introducing new folks to our drawing software, but what we love the most is having talented artists stop by our booth and draw for hours at a time. It’s a real pleasure for us to chat with them and watch them in action on our Twitch stream (which we also record for posterity).

So, what did they draw? We collected a few of our favorite drawings from the weekend to share. If you like these artists’ work, dig in further and find out more about them. Follow them on Twitter or Instagram. Tell them you love their art. Purchase something they make. In short, show the people who make art you enjoy that you appreciate their time, effort, and creativity. They’ll love you for it.

Tony Fleecs

my little pony art

It’s really quite amazing to watch Tony at work. He can create a full My Little Pony drawing in an hour that looks ready for publication. Follow him on Twitter and enjoy a stream of great images that include — but also go way beyond — ponies.


Ken Lashley

ken ashley art

Ken surprised us with electric Darth Vader and Phoenix drawings that look way cool. He’s @ledkilla on Instagram, and he’s got a lot of great things to share.


Natali Koromoto

natali koromoto

Natali was in full-on Halloween mood for us, with some adolescent trixs that were as delicious as a big bowl of candy. Follow her on Instagram where she’ll surely be going even deeper into Halloween this month.


Paul Shipper

paul shipper poster art

Paul worked on an epic World of Warcraft movie poster. This poster has a lot of detail in it. Gigantic. Get his work in your stream with a quick follow on Twitter.


Ken Taya

enfu sticker art

We were thrilled to meet Ken and have him join us for the first time at NYCC. His sticker illustrations are colorful, fun, and very kewl. Just like Ken. Enjoy every scrumptious illustration on his website and consider buying his book. We got a copy, and it’s going to be a hot property in our office. It’s that good.


Kyle Runciman

Our own Kyle Runciman did what he does oh-so-well. Beautiful Turtle, Kyle. And those buildings. Nice.

Our own Kyle Runciman did what he does oh-so-well. Beautiful turtle, Kyle. Love those buildings, too. Don’t bother following Kyle on Twitter. He’s a virtual ghost online.

Free Brush Set: Skin Textures

skin texture and color how to draw it

Drawing skin presents a few challenges. Your first thought might be about race and color, but it’s not really color that makes skin skin. You can make skin any color you want — even completely abnormal colors like blue — but if you want any semblance of reality you will want to add some kind of texture, however slight. You could use an airbrush to create that texture in a uniform way, but many people have imperfections like freckles and natural details like pores that can really make a face (for example) come alive. To help out with that need, we created a go-to brush set for SketchBook Pro members to make drawing skin easier.

skin texture examples

Many of the prettiest faces have patterns or bands of imperfections. Call it character.


What’s in the Skin Texture Set

In the Skin Texture Brush Set you’ll find Two Fine Pores brushes, Two Rough Pores brushes, a Mixed Pores brush, brushes for making Dense Freckles and Mixed Freckles, and a Textured Blending Brush for blending all of your skin textures together. Finally, there’s a nice Skin Highlight brush for adding finishing touches.

skin texture demo

Smooth, rough, mottled, patchy, blotchy, or flat-out blemished and burnt out — skin is almost never as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

How to Install Brush Sets

Being able to share and install these weekly free brush sets in the desktop app is one of the features for SketchBook Pro members. If you’re using the latest desktop version of SketchBook (version 8), simply double click on the .skbrushes file, and it will automatically install. Check out this article for all the details about brushes and legacy versions. If you haven’t tried SketchBook Pro, you can download a free trial and unlock Pro membership for 15 days (no credit card required).

Inktober Wrap Up: Week One


The beauty of Inktober is in its simplicity. A new drawing every day, so there’s not a lot of time to fuss over or revise your work. And the medium itself is traditionally analog — pen on paper. But in another way, ink drawings are almost digital. It’s either on as black space or off as white space. In any event, we’ve already seen some lovely drawings in the first week of Inktober. We collected a few of our favorites that we thought everyone wouldn’t want to miss.


Carlos Díaz (@skydrawdesign, top) drew the whimsically dangerous top image using our special Inktober Brush Set for Day 3: Collect. Someone’s definitely going to collect at the end of this sequence. @ivan_lugovoy on Instagram, middle right) says it ain’t not Inktober if it’s not real ink. Tony Helms (@tonycartoonish on Instagram, middle right) got appropriately cartoonish, and Nkem Abia (@lagosketcher on Instagram, bottom) gets noisy with his gasoline generator for the Noisy prompt.



Day 5 was Sad, and @rigs3d on Instagram (top left) made a very sad monster with a weeping umbrella. Cheer up, buddy! Day 6 gets better. Victor J. Rodriguez (@victomon on Twitter, top middle) drew these leaf raiders for Day 3: Collect with some pretty detailed work. We’re in love with this bird who’s in love with an origami swan for the Hidden prompt (top right) by @gingmaliwan on Instagram. Spectacular! Sam Teskey (@sam_teskey on Instagram) says he “decided to try Inktober this year.” (bottom) We’re glad you did, Sam!

Thats it for week one. We still have the rest of the month, so please keep the Inktober momentum up. We’ll be featuring more SketchBook staff favorites every Friday throughout October.

How to be seen

You can follow us on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter for prompt announcements. Or, simply check back in on this page every day to see what the community is drawing that day. Tag your drawings with two hashtags — #sketchbook and #inktober. Those are the ones we’re looking for, so draw your heart out.