Adding Photo Texture to Your Artwork with Blending Modes

adding texture to drawings and artwork like canvas and rough paper

In this SketchBook tutorial, we’ll use a photographed texture to enhance my finished artwork. Why would you want to add texture to your artwork? Well, why wouldn’t you?

Texture from an imported or scanned image can help break up the “too clean” look of digital art. Adding some roughness can hide small imperfections in your artwork. It can even make your image feel more like a painting — as if you did it on canvas, watercolor paper, or rough wood.

Where do we find our texture? My favorite place to go is Creative Market. You can buy creative assets to enhance your work like textures, photographs, illustrations, and fonts. Everything is stylish and reasonably priced, and you know you’re purchasing from another artist so it feels good to give back to the community.

1. Draw something totally sweet

Texture is like dessert — best saved for last. You want your artwork basically finished and only then should you add it. Also, keep it simple. In my example illustration, I kept the shading and detail really light on purpose. If I had spent too much time on small details on this character, they could get lost when I add the  texture.

I used Wood Textures Vol. 1 by Gabor Monori for this tutorial:

wood texture on art drawing


2. Prep those layers

order layers carefully

I want to add texture to the background but not the character. I had to order my layers carefully to make sure it would work. Decide which element you want to have the texture, and isolate that element on a separate layer. Or, add the texture on top of your art for the effect to cover everything.

3. Bring on the texture

Click on this icon to bring in an image:

how to add an image to your drawing in sketchbook

Navigate to the image you want to use and select it. The image will be imported on a brand-new layer. Transform the image to fit the whole background using the move puck. Hovering over the different parts of the move puck changes the action from scale, skew, rotate, or move.

putting texture layer on top of some layers but under others

4. Blending modes are the key

A blending mode changes the way a layer behaves in relation to layers below it. Each blending mode does something different, depending on the algorithm. (It’s crazy math biz!)

Try out different blending modes to see which one causes the effect you like best. Use the opacity slider of the new layer to make the effect more subtle or more intense.using blending modes in sketchbook pro

examples of different types of textures in sketchbook drawing

Download a PDF version

Like this idea of adding stylized looks? Download this tutorial as a PDF to take on the go!

Drawing with Chalk: a Free Brush Set

photoshop chalk brush set free download

Not too long ago, a SketchBook Pro user shouted out to us on Twitter. She was looking for a particular type of brush that wasn’t in the app: chalk. SketchBook has a lot of different brushes that mimic real-world tools, but @BryannaDraws was spot on. We didn’t have it. We needed some chalk brushes in there — and pronto.

Our community manager, Renée set to work immediately, adjusting the details of a few different types of brushes to create a brand-new set of Chalks. This pack has a range of different types of chalk: Brand New Chalk, Sideways Chalk, Build Up Chalk, Grainy Chalk (two kinds), Streaky Chalk, Melted Chalk, and Waxy Chalk. While we were making those, our team of brush-making brainstormers decided that a chalks set needed something to be considered truly complete: an eraser. We all fondly remembered pounding chalky erasers together in grade school to produce clouds of white smoke. We also remember smearing the chalk by using the face or the edge of those dirty erasers. Thinking about that reminded us that chalk erasers weren’t always smudgy and dirty. Sometimes — rarely — the eraser was brand new or newly cleaned. Those squeaky clean erasers added a totally different type of look. You could lay down tons of sideways chalk on a chalkboard as a big spot of color and then use the clean eraser to add negative space. So, we made sure to include both types of erasers in the set. You’ll find both a Clean Eraser and Dirty Eraser to round out it.

Ready to take your own trip down memory lane? Download the Chalks brush set and start getting your proverbial fingers dirty. Once you’ve downloaded it, double click the .skbrushes file to install it in the desktop app.

Pro tip: an even chalkier look

For some inspiration, check out the cappuccino drawing video Renée made as part of the process of creating this pack. Notice how at the end of the video she adds a textured image as a separate layer. That’s a real pro tip right there. It will make your chalk drawing even chalkier. It’s a great technique if you want to make a chalk drawing look like it’s not drawn on a chalkboard but instead drawn on asphalt. Look for a special tutorial all about adding texture with layers and blending modes tomorrow right here on the blog.

Go Pro

Not a SketchBook Pro member? You’ll need a Pro subscription to customize and share brush sets. Take advantage of a free 15-day trial that doesn’t require a credit card by signing in directly in the desktop app. If you give it a try, you should definitely dig in and install some of the other free brush sets we’ve released lately.

Bobby Chiu Reviews the iPad Pro + Pencil

Did you get an iPad Pro? Did you get an Apple Pencil? Are you thinking about it? No doubt many of you who are reading this have at least thought about that lovely one-two art combination. Is it the ultimate tool for artists? Apple always makes the best of the best in hardware (according to some people), but of course like any stylus the software you use has to support the device. Otherwise, it’s just a pencil that doesn’t even write.

Our dear friend Bobby Chiu reviews the iPad Pro/Pencil combination, and he’s a pretty fair reviewer. As a character designer best known for his lovable designs in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, he uses a lot of different devices. We can’t wait to see his new designs in the upcoming sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass. It’s the final appearance by Alan Rickman as Absolem the hookah-smoking Blue Caterpillar, with the film being dedicated to the beloved late actor. Bobby’s talents range far further than even that, from designing Disney, Warner Bros, and Star Wars toys to spearheading the Amazon animated series Niko and the Sword of Light.

We thought it would be great to share his review on the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil combo. Should you get it? Here’s what Bobby says:

Bobby makes great videos like this on a regular basis. Follow him on YouTube or learn more about him at

Hudson Rio: Industrial Designer

hudson rio card design

We love hearing how artists found their way to what they do. We’re immense fans of Hudson Rio’s art and wanted to understand his own journey, so we prompted him with a few questions and present them here. Hudson is known for his sleek industrial design, most notably of beautiful cars and even more beautiful shoes. 

What are some of the first things you drew?

As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved drawing. My dad is a painter, and I was always fascinated with his ability to draw. When I was young, I would primarily draw Batman and cars — over and over and over… I never took many art classes, maybe one or two in high school, but I was always drawing during school. My notebooks were filled with doodles. Most nights after school, I would add a few pages to my sketchbook. I still have piles of sketchbooks from those years. It’s fun to look back at them now and see how far I’ve come.  

car concept design: beautiful drawings

Hudson’s sleek concept car designs stretch out. Even when they’re not moving they look like they’re proudly posing.

From doodling as a kid to industrial design

Eventually I stopped drawing Batman, but the cars have always stayed with me. In high school, I decided I wanted to be a car designer. When I started looking into this more, I found the larger field of Industrial Design. This seemed like a great way to combine my love of drawing with fun problem solving that could make a real impact on peoples’ lives. 

I went to the University of Illinois at Chicago, where I got a BFA in Industrial Design. I had a couple of professors who really influenced me and helped me develop my skills. I was fortunate enough to be asked back a few years later to teach one of the drawing classes. This was a great experience for me, as I was able to give back and help develop the skills of people with less experience than myself. It also reinforced some of the fundamentals of drawing like perspective, value, and line quality — things that everyone should continue to practice.

industrial design sketching

Hudson’s sleek style doesn’t just work for cars. Here are a few of our favorite concept designs from his sketch blog.

I’m now a professional industrial designer working at Volume Studios in Chicago. We are a small studio, and I get to do a great variety of work. We do toy design projects where we focus a lot on telling a story of how the child is interacting with the toy, along with developing a form that will engage the child and create an emotional connection. We also make a lot of housewares products where we really get to refine the design and make sure we are delivering the best possible solution. 

Outside of work, I like to keep practicing my sketching, rendering, and design skills by doing small personal projects. Right now I’m doing a year-long Sketch-a-Day challenge that I started at the beginning of 2016. It has been challenging to keep up with it, but I can already see how much it is helping me improve. Most of the sketches and designs I do for this take me around an hour, so they are an exercise in speed as well as design. Sometimes I’ll have an idea for a design before I start drawing, but typically it just comes out of me as I begin to sketch. I love the process of discovering a solution to problem or finding an interesting aesthetic by putting (digital) pen to (digital) paper. It is a fascinating process of trial and error that happens quickly and organically.

high heel concept drawings

OMG shoes. Hudson has a special sensibility when it comes to shoe concepts — not just high heels, but oh boy, these heel concepts are slick.

How he uses SketchBook

I first found SketchBook late in high school. I bought myself a $30 tablet (which broke a few months later) and started experimenting with the program. These days, I use a Wacom Cintiq 22HD both at work and at home paired with SketchBook. SketchBook is my program of choice for drawing as it is affordable, has an intuitive interface designed for use with a pen and tablet, and has a great set of brushes that are similar to drawing with analog tools. And they are easily customized to personal preferences.  

I mainly use a slightly customized pencil brush, and the default airbrush and eraser. I will usually do a very fast and rough sketch to figure out perspective, composition, and the design. Then I use that as an underlay do a refined sketch on a new layer. Once I’ve got a nicer line drawing finished, I start adding color and value with the airbrush. I block in large areas to start to define color and material breaks. Then on new layers I start to add shadows, highlights, and reflections. I continue to build up the value until it has enough contrast and conveys the design to my satisfaction. My goal is always for the viewer to have an emotional reaction to the design.  

I’m not the best at what I do, and probably never will be, but I think that’s a good thing. I think it is important to have other designers and artists to look up to and to learn from. My advice to aspiring artists and designers is to keep discovering new work and to try to identify the things that really grab you in the work you like. Take these things and make them your own. Continue to practice and you will start to figure out your own style and what makes your work unique. Repetition is the most important thing. I believe that anyone can do what I do and what many other artists do, but not everyone has the drive to work at it every day. There will be many times when you are unsatisfied with your work, and you will feel like you are not progressing, but you have to keep practicing to move past this. Only recently am I starting to feel satisfied with my work, and I still see a lot of room for improvement. But the process is so exciting to me that it is easy for me to do it every day.  

Car Design GIF

The benefits of years of practice: Quick work that doesn’t looked worked over.

Follow Hudson

Hudson Rio is an an industrial designer with a passion for sketching, problem solving, and cool design. He’s engaged in a 365-day drawing challenge, which you can follow along on his sketch blog. Or, follow him on Instagram to see what he’s creating on a day-to-day basis.

Monday’s Free Set: Watercolor Brushes

free photoshop style brushes for sketchbook

Another week, another free brush set. Each week we let our SketchBook Pro members know how much we love them by curating a special set of brushes just for them. Last week we handed out a crazy freaky GalaXafreaks set courtesy of Andrew Pawley. (Thank you!) This week we thought we’d go a little more traditional. This time around we’ve got a really excellent Watercolor Brush Set that will help you both lay down transparent color and blend it effectively to create watercolor paintings. If you’ve done watercolor before, you’ll appreciate that this brush set has a few unique blending brushes. In addition to Fine Tip, Broad Stroke, Medium Tip Rough, Fine Tip Light, Round Tip, Fan Tip Broad, and Square Tip brushes, it has three great blending brushes: Fine Tip Blender, Broad Stroke Blender, and Bristle Blender. All told, that’s 10 great watercolor brushes to get you going. And, of course, you can customize these even further. Want to try something radical with your brushes? Just duplicate them and go crazy with things like blending modes. If you end up not liking your experiments, you can always delete them. Whatever you do, don’t settle for just the basics — make all the tools in the app work for you.

Ready to get started? Download the Watercolor Brush Set and double click the .skbrushes file to install it.

Free watercolor brushes set


Are you Pro?

SketchBook Pro members have a lot of extra options, including deep customization and sharing of things like brush sets. If you’re not a Pro member, you may be happy to know there is a free 15-day trial that doesn’t require a credit card. You can give this and all the other free brush sets a try and see if it helps you make better art.


You might also like…

If you like this brush set, you might also want to grab Mohammed’s Expressive Brush Set. It’s not specifically for watercolors, but it was designed to be used for plein-air (outdoor) painting. If you are a mixed media type of person who likes to lay down splashes of watercolor and then ink on top of it, you’ll probably like Mohammed’s brushes. They are perhaps the most downloaded free brush set we’ve offered… so far. Check back on our blog every Monday for a new brush set. Collect them all!

Getting More from Your iPad: 5 Tips for Artists

iPad artist tips drawing and painting

Over the years, I’ve tried a number of different styli. After discovering the Wacom Bamboo Fineline 2 stylus, I can say it’s one of the best I’ve used to date for my iPad Mini with Retina. It’s lightweight and durable, holds a charge for a long time, and has a fine precise nib that feels comfortable to use on the iPad screen. I like to paint details, and the Fineline 2 allows me to do that well. Once you have the right stylus you need the right software, too. Autodesk SketchBook is a robust and well-designed app that not only allows for limitless creativity, but they were clearly thinking like artists when they put it together. From being able to hide the controls to allow for more canvas space, to sliders and adjustments in all the right places, it’s intuitive. The features are right where you need them when you need them.

#1: Set your Writing Style

To get the most of out of the marriage of the stylus and software, there is a handy feature that you might overlook in the Preferences. Look under Pen Connection, and you’ll find Writing Style. This offers you six different options to tell SketchBook how you hold your hand when you draw. Experiment with each of them to find the right one for you, and it will aid in the precision of the stylus on the digital canvas.


#2: Use layers temporarily & strategically

The layers panel with SketchBook works exactly as you’d expect on a full-sized desktop application. The fact that it works so well in an app is impressive. Drawing and painting on white can be hard on the eyes, so even if you just choose a pale shade of color for your background, it will make the whole experience that much more enjoyable and might even enable you to create longer.

I’ve always created a background layer and then put the subject of my painting on another layer. This allows me more versatility for making changes, especially when it comes to composition and shading.

One technique I use is to paint a while on a layer, and then when I have something I like I’ll add another layer on top of that to paint on, locking the layer beneath it. When I’m happy with how things are going, I’ll merge the two layers, add another, lock the one I don’t want to ruin, and continue on. This keeps me from accidentally damaging the portion of the painting I’m happy with. I’m rarely working on more than two or three layers at a time.

how to draw a giraffe

#3: Use Opacity & Blending Modes

If I want to texture an image, I like to make it subtle. Less is more when it comes to texture. I’ll create a new layer, choose a texture brush (SketchBook comes with a lot of great brushes), paint on a new layer, and then adjust the opacity slider until I get the look I want. In the same manner, I’ll often choose a blend mode on a layer to achieve a desired effect or look. One of my favorites is Soft Light. By setting the layer to Soft Light, and painting with black and white, I can lighten or darken parts of the image without touching the painting itself. Then by adjusting the opacity slider, I can be subtle or harsh with the result. When I like what I see, I merge the layers and carry on. There are so many Blending Modes to choose from that my advice is to experiment with each one to see what it offers. Try Multiply for adding shadows.



#4: Know the Brush/Color Puck

All of the panels in SketchBook are useful, but they can be overwhelming if they’re sitting on top of your drawing or painting the whole time. Luckily, you have a great option in the Brush/Color Puck. On the top Menu panel there is a symbol that looks like the number 8. If you press on it, you enable the Brush/Color Puck (or Double Puck). Tap on the symbol to the right of it, and everything else disappears.

There are a lot of options in those two small circles. Tap on the top one and you can choose a different brush. By touching and holding that circle, you can drag up and down to adjust the brush opacity. By dragging your finger or stylus right and left, you adjust the size of the brush.

The bottom circle is all about color options. Tapping the circle brings up the color selector. Tap and hold the circle and drag to the left or right to adjust the saturation of the color. Dragging up or down adjusts the brightness.

And finally, you can move the Double Puck around your screen wherever you want it. Just tap and hold on the frame of those two circles and move it.

sketchbook giraffe

#5: Transform options help you scale

Once again, if you look at the menu at the top of the screen, you’ll see a little symbol with a compass and ruler. Tapping on it reveals another menu. All of these options are worth exploring, but I’m going to talk about the Transform feature, located in the middle at the bottom of this menu. Touching it reveals yet another menu (so many features!), and these give you the option to move portions of your image. This is also why I work on layers.

From here you can move, rotate, and scale everything on that layer. This is incredibly helpful with composition. One of the best features allows you to flip the image both horizontally and vertically. I’ve been doing this for years while I paint. Sometimes if an image doesn’t look quite right, simply flipping it will shift your perspective and you’ll almost instantly see whatever is wrong in the image. Could be that an eye is too low or an ear isn’t proportional. Try it. You’ll see what I mean.

giraffe drawing

These are just five tips for getting more from your iPad with Autodesk SketchBook and the Wacom Bamboo Fineline 2 stylus. Explore the features, practice using them, and enjoy the experience. Good luck and happy sketching!


About Patrick: Patrick LaMontagne is a nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist and illustrator. He’s especially adept at wildlife and whimsy. Follow along with what he makes on his Twitter artwork account.

Andrew Pawley’s Dark Vibes: Get the GalaXafreaks Brush Set

galaxafreaks free brush set download

GalaXafreaks: Dark Vibes is a five issue miniseries from the fevered mind of Andrew Pawley. Initially conceived as a Kickstarter campaign, the series has been rebooted for a second round. Dark Vibes is a 32-page, full-color, psychedelic, science-fiction freakout extravaganza that features characters who transcend reality and travel through and across multidimensional spacetime. It follows the adventures of Meeko the Darkling, an unsuspecting heroine who is thrust into an intergalactic stellar story that’s beyond her comprehension. What is Meeko’s connection to the origins of her planet? What is her relationship with the cosmic giant Captain Yeah!? What evil plans are Fuzz Muff and the Dark Vibe Underlords hatching? You can grab copies at and find out how it all unfolds. Or, sign up for Andrew’s mailing list and he’ll send you two free PDF comics. 

Download the GalaXafreaks Brush Set

What really stands out about this project is how each issue has a laminated cover and is printed on high-quality paper stock. It really shows off the extremely colorful artwork and shows a commitment to quality that is all-too-rare. Like many Kickstarter-backed art campaigns, it’s clearly a labor of love. We’re fortunate to be able to share some of Andrew’s creative doodles in this GalaXafreaks Brush Set. You can use it to lay down giant iconic doodles, but you can also create interesting patterns with crazy eyeballs. Or litter the background by brushing on the neat shapes that he’s created. If you like comic art with lots of weirdness — or have always wanted to give drawing something like this a shot — download the brushes and start doodling. Pro tip: One of the tools that Andrew uses incredibly well to create this kind of art is the symmetry tool. Try that in conjunction with these brushes when making your own trippindicular creatures.  

galaxafreaks saturn face


Are you a SketchBook Pro member?

Being able to share and install detailed custom brush sets is one of the features for SketchBook Pro members. Once you’ve downloaded the set, just double click on the .skbrushes file and it will automatically install. If you’re not a Pro member, download a free trial and unlock Pro membership for 15 days from directly within the desktop app. No credit card required so you can try things out without any pressure.

More about Andrew Pawley

Andrew Pawley fell into this dimension somewhere on the south coast of England and has since disguised himself as a comics creator. A childhood and adolescent education from 2000 AD and R.Crumb informs his fantastical and anarchic approach toward his creative endeavors. He has previously drawn and written four issues of the original GalaXafreaks series. Issues #1 and #2 of this series are available to download for free as hi-res PDFs when you sign up to the GalaXafreaks mailing list. Check out this video he made using SketchBook Pro for some tips on how he uses these brushes to create mind-bending illustrations:

Free Comic Book Day: Why It Matters & Why You Should Go

free comic book day

Free Comic Book Day. Record Store Day. Apple Store camp-out sessions. Harry Potter book release parties. What do all of these things have in common?

First and foremost… it’s about fandom

These are all events that cater to the truest of the true fans. If you care deeply about music, Record Store Day might as well be your national holiday. I showed up at Record Store Day to find a giant line snaking around the corner. Normally, I would turn tail and run at the sight of any line longer than four people, but I happily slid into the queue and started chatting up the people in front of me. (And I don’t like people.) I ended up spending four hours inside the store and went home with a huge stack of vinyl. It was a spectacular day, and it felt like everyone I saw inside the store was just as high on their own music fandom. (Of course, this was at Amoeba Records in the Upper Haight in San Francisco, so it could have been more than just fandom.)

It’s also about *new* fans

These events aren’t just for I-knew-them-before-they-were-famous fans. The rising popularity of these events (just like Comic Cons and cosplay) signal a new breed of fan. People who got hooked on TV’s The Walking Dead finally find out that it was a comic book all along. This day is for them. Middle-school-aged kids whose teachers assigned them to read Art Spiegelman’s Maus (to teach them about the Holocaust) are probably itching to uncover similar graphic novel gems. Free Comic Book Day is perfect for them. Hey, sullen teenager who is inexorably drawn to Anonymous masks — did you know that V for Vendetta was a graphic novel? There’s more to that revolutionary story — come on in and check it out.

It’s about economic choices

You aren’t necessarily going to Free Comic Book Day for the free comic book; you’re going as a show of solidarity to the people who sell them. If you examine the origins of Free Comic Book Day, it’s easy to see that it’s an idea in service to retailers. More to the point, it’s become a way to combat our increasingly direct-to-door Internet purchases that we all know are slowly killing local businesses. Events like Free Comic Book Day let us think globally and actually shop locally (at least for one day). We feel a little more noble when we support these mom-and-pop stores that do more more than just sell comic books. They’re a gathering place for people of all ages to play games, share stories, and make friends. We should all support that.

It’s about (non)judgement

It’s also a way to physically participate in real-world community. Safely. Are you a hardcore Brony but afraid to demonstrate your love of Applejack at the office? Are you unable to stop recommending The Watchmen whenever someone talks about the most recent Great American Novel-to-movie adaptation? Do you find yourself having to defend the copious amount of art on your walls that contain images of anime sword wielders? There is next-to-zero judgment going on at your local comic book store, so spread your wings like Warren Worthington III and fly.

Most of all: It’s about art

All of these one-day novel cultural events like Free Comic Book Day are ultimately about art and design. Harry Potter fans don’t just love the books for the words on the page. They love them for the fantabulous images those words conjure up in their minds. And, yes, Apple fanbois genuinely swoon for the artistry that went into making those undeniably beautiful phones. In that same spirit, comic book fans love nothing more than being surrounded by a roomful of meticulously crafted works of art that tell amazing stories and fire their imaginations.

So think of Free Comic Book Day — this Saturday, May 7th — as not just a way to get something for nothing. It’s a way for you to support real artists who pour their passion for drawing into their art every single day. Think of it as an art gallery opening for fans of pop culture. It’s the largest art gallery in the world that’s closest to your home where you’re encouraged to purchase and take home the art they’re displaying. Sometimes for just a few bucks.

A few of our favorite comic book artists

No self-respecting comic book fan would point you to a comic book store without recommending a few of their favorites. If you do attend Free Comic Book Day, please consider looking up art by some of our favorite artists. These are people we’ve worked with on commissions, people we admire, and people who deserve all the accolades given to them.

Phil Noto Disney Marvel

Phil Noto (@philnoto) draws some of the most amazing comics, including the just released Star Wars: Poe Dameron #2, which comes out today. We strongly suggest picking that one up this Saturday. Seriously. You’re going to want that.


skottie young drawing

Skottie Young (@skottieyoung) draws amazing and fun and sometimes demented things like Rocket Raccoon. Check out his latest release, I Hate Fairyland #1, the story of a six year old girl who’s been stuck in the magical world of Fairyland for thirty years and will hack and slash her way through anything to find her way back home. It’s heartwarming.


matt fletcher

Matt Fletcher (@fletcher720) has drawn some amazing things for us at events, but he also works on paper in pen and ink and watercolor. You can buy some of these very cool prints at his online store.


ken lashley spiderman joker batman superman

A deservedly popular and influential DC and Marvel illustrator, Ken Lashley (@ledkilla) is currently working on the Uncanny X-Men.


ratchet and clank art

Greg Baldwin (@creaturebox) is a master at creating mind-boggling creatures, most notably for the Ratchet & Clank video game series. He and Dave Guertin also served as lead visual designers for the R&C movie. Just in time for the movie — a new Ratchet & Clank game for the PS4 that’s getting rave reviews.

Classic Movie Posters Featuring Captain America & Avengers

Avengers Art

Phew. Comic book fans can rejoice. Captain America: Civil War is getting a much better reception (92% on Rotten Tomatoes) than the recent Batman vs. Superman movie (a dismal 28%). Whether you’re on Team Marvel or Team DC, the continued success of superhero movies as their own colossal genre means they’ll just keep making them. As they make them, they need art for their movie posters.

If you’re a fan of movie poster art, you should probably check out Alternative Movie Posters, a site that collects all kinds of fan art created in worship of movies. As you might imagine, some of their strongest showings of art are around science fiction, fantasy, and movies that originally came out of comic books. There’s quite a nice collection of Avengers movie poster art on the site that includes one of our favorite artists, Paul Shipper. They feature the Avengers poster he made for Comic Con.

Paul is known for his photorealistic movie posters, and the release of the new Captain America movie made us nostalgic for the time he drew that poster. What was particularly great about the poster (aside from how lovely the art is) was that he made it on the first generation of our SketchBook mobile app.  That means he drew this on a first generation iPad without a pressure-sensitive stylus in SketchBook version 2.1. Impressive stuff.

Hulk Thor Ironman Captain America Black Widow Hawkeye

In celebration of the release of Captain America Civil War, we thought it’d be nice to rewind the clock and give it another look. Here’s some in-progress shots, along with Paul’s original thoughts on the piece:

Drawing the Avengers

“The illustration came together really well. Originally just for mock up purposes… I use the app to create comprehensives for my clients mostly, its a fast way of sketching and coloring and playing for me to get the look I am after for each project.”

How to Draw the Hulk

“In the case of the Avengers piece, the organizer loved the mock-up so much he decided to make it into posters for the show! He just fell in love with my iPad version, and it never made it to the drawing board… they ran with the SketchBook Pro artwork. Which just shows you how great the work can be straight from the app!”

drawing the avengers

“The Avengers piece has since proven to be very popular with fans of my work… which made me splash out and get a new iPad so I can work at higher res.”

Enjoy More Paul

Follow Paul to see more of his amazing movie posters (from Buckaroo Banzai to Star Wars) over on Twitter and Instagram. Or go check out his personal site. Or, watch this nice collection of some of his sketches:


Free Brush Set: Shaun Mullen’s Environmental Textures

Free brush set of the week

We’ve been giving away free brushes every week in the past month, and we’re going to keep on doing it. Don’t even think about trying to stop us. This time around, we wanted to showcase a custom brush set by one of our favorite artists, Shaun Mullen.

Shaun creates a lot of art on his iPad, and he’s a master at imagining massive landscapes on planets that look like they’re either crumbling into destruction or just emerging into creation. With strong color chops and a real painterly style, Shaun creates luscious environments with lone wanderers who seem like they’re just as enraptured by their surroundings as the viewer. It’s beautiful work, and we’re lucky to have him share a set of custom brushes that he uses to create artwork like this:

Shaun Mullen illustration

A collection of some our favorite epic environments from Shaun’s DeviantArt page.

Download the free set

These brushes are geared toward creating the details of these epic environments. Try the tufts of grass. You can scatter them around in different colors and shades. Build rock formations with brushes that change their orientation each time you click. Use other brushes to quickly draw mountains and the misty cloud formations that surround them. Add some painterly effects to your drawing with included smudge brushes. Or customize these brushes to fit your own style. Download Mullen Environmental Textures and install it by double clicking on the .skbrushes file. (Need help? Read this.)

Not a SketchBook Pro member?

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More from Shaun

As you can see, Shaun is good at creating hazy, misty skies. He’s just as good at creating smoke. Awhile back, we asked him to create a tutorial around his smoke skills. Check out his SketchBook Pro Smoke Tutorial if you need a primer on making dreamy smoke curls.