Sketch to Polish: Drawing with Wacom Intuos Pro

drawing with intuos devices

Do you draw on a tablet or draw on a screen? We get a lot of questions from users at events, on our regular Twitch broadcasts, and on our Facebook Page from people who are trying to figure out which type of device they should be drawing on. Many people start drawing digitally with whatever they have at hand — an iPhone, an iPad, a computer mouse —  but they gradually try new options until they find the right combination of digital “pen and paper” that works best for them. If you’re still trying to decide between drawing on a desktop tablet or a glass screen, you’ll be happy to know that both work great.

Lately, we’ve been giving the Wacom Intuos Pro a test run, and we’ve been recording what we make. It’s our way of showing some of the differences between the two types of drawing environments. We just finished our third video in the series, Wacom and SketchBook: Sketch to Polish. If you haven’t seen any of the other two and are considering buying this kind of device, take a look and see how they work with SketchBook:

  • Part 1: Under Pressure explores your pressure sensitivity options using an Intuos Pro. Some brushes in SketchBook are built to be pressure sensitive when a device like the Intuos Pro is connected, but some default brushes — like the ballpoint pen — don’t show any pressure sensitivity. They’re made to mimic real-life drawing tools that may not really have pressure sensitivity in real life. But if you use an Intuos Pro and want to add pressure sensitivity to any brush it’s easy to do. This video shows you how we changed a few brushes to take advantage of that sensitivity everywhere.
  • Part 2: Press the Button shows you how you can customize the Express Keys — the buttons on the sides of your tablet and pen — to be a shortcut for anything you prefer. We also show you how we like to do it. These keys are unbelievably handy. You should definitely try out a few different options if you’ve never used one of these before. You’re going to save yourself tons of time.

And today we have the last video in our three-part series. In Sketch to Polish we take you from the beginning of a sketch, to laying down our line art, all the way through to coloring.

Want to try it out yourself?

Download a copy of the high res line drawing, pop it into SketchBook, and work your way through your own version of this lovely lady. Here’s how we did it, sped up:

GIF drawing sketchbook

 

#WIPWednesday: Live Featured on Twitch

wipwednesday community sketchingWe hope you enjoyed our first episode of WIPWednesday over on Twitch. We loved having you! It’s Wednesday again, so we’re back on air at 9 a.m. PDT with a whole new group of half-finished featured art from the community.

If you didn’t know, WIPWednesday is a SketchBook tradition dating back to ancient times — nearly three years ago. We started off by asking our followers on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to share what they’re working on. Over at the DeviantArt SketchBook group we took it one step further by featuring a few entries from the group every week. And now, we’re doing it live on Twitch!

Last week I explained how your art can be featured on Work-In-Progress Wednesdays. There’s three simple steps:

1. Sign up for DeviantArt. Join our official group.

2. Submit your SketchBook-made WIPs, sketches, and in-progress shots to our SketchBook group.

3. Check out my mini video tutorial on how to do that here.

Watch live video from autodesksketchbook on twitch.tv
 

Here’s a teaser of our featured art for this week:

Zhoucra - Front View by Androsanity
Ringlets wip by AdxnnaWIP - Redhead Myth by adrilexmhWIP - Immortan Joe by adrilexmhNarlanii - hair by Miafka
Drawing WIP by Nina55555

 

Did you already miss the live stream? Bummer. You can find the recording here. Look in the Past Broadcasts tab.

Be sure to follow us on Twitch and click the little checkbox for notifications. Then you’ll always know when we’re live!

 

Gluten Free FAQ

 

How do I get featured in WIPWednesday?

First, sign up for DeviantArt and join our group! It’s free and super fun. Second, upload your sketches, WIPs, and progress shots made with Autodesk SketchBook to the main gallery! (Autodesk SketchBook art only — and keep it clean for all ages, kids!)

Why do I have to use SketchBook?

Our DeviantArt group’s purpose is to collect and celebrate SketchBook art. I hope you can understand it wouldn’t make sense to add other artwork. But maybe you use a combination of tools that include SketchBook. If so, you’re welcome to upload!

I submitted something but I don’t see it.  😭

Our selections for WIP art is picked in advance, so you might turn up in the future way after your original post. Also choices are picked at random, and not everyone will be chosen. Keep submitting different art all the time, and you might get lucky!

I want to marry SketchBook!

That’s not a question and you can’t marry an application. I’m very sorry. 😭💔

 

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Free Brush Set of the Week: Skullz

skull brush free set

Do you have trouble drawing skulls? We might have something just for you. It’s time for another free brush set for SketchBook Pro users (There’s a new one every week).

You can make a brush out of just about anything. You can tweak an existing brush until it has a stroke that you love. But brushes don’t just have to look like paintbrushes. You can take a piece of something you’ve drawn or upload an image and make that into something like a stamp. If you needed to add a zillion scales on a fish you certainly wouldn’t want to draw all of them by hand, so you make a brush and use that to paint on a pattern.

For this week’s brush set, we asked our fearless colleague Kyle Runciman to come up with something neat. And he got a little creepy on us. Skulls. Or, as we decided to call the set, “Skullz.” They’re pretty useful even if you’re not into the grotesque — and very easy to pop into SketchBook Pro and try out. Just download the Skullz Brush Set and double click on the .skbrushes file that ends up on your computer. The latest version of SketchBook Pro will open and install it. (If you use an older version of SketchBook, you’ll need to access a menu option.)

These are very nice skulls, and they work great as background elements for all kinds of images. They also work as a starting point for a naturalistic drawing, as Kyle so ably demonstrates in this video on the SketchBook Pro YouTube channel. Nice elephant, Kyle!

Tips for making your own brush icons

You can take things you’ve drawn and make them into brushes just like we did with these skulls. In fact, give it a try! Once you do, you may want to make custom icons. A few quick tips to consider when making your own icons:

  • Make your images or selections square. If you choose an aspect ratio that isn’t 1:1, your icon will stretch. Not good.
  • Have your image be transparent. While it’s not completely necessary to do it this way, it will look a lot better — and more uniform — in your toolset.
  • The higher the resolution, the better. Your image needs to be at least 80×80 pixels. Too small will be too blurry.

Twitch Livestream: Total Request Live

It’s Friday. So you know what that means?

Total request Live on Twitch! Tune in at 1 p.m. PDT to watch Renée draw for your pleasure. Last week one of our faithful viewers requested fan art from the Riot Games hit title League Of Legends.

Which Champion will she choose to draw? Nobody knows. You’ll have to watch and see!

Watch live video from autodesksketchbook on www.twitch.tv
 

Like what you see? Never miss a broadcast by subscribing to our channel. We’ll have tutorials, artist features, live drawing, and maybe even a little bit of video game playing.

FOLLOWUS-TWITCH
 

SketchBook Pro Update: Introducing Radial Symmetry

sketchbook draw with radial symmetry tool

We are pleased to announce the latest update for our desktop versions of Autodesk SketchBook. What’s in this update? A few major features: Radial Symmetry, Custom Brush Icons, and access to the System Color Editor on the Mac version.

Radial Symmetry

Pro members will see a new icon in the Symmetry menu. Radial Symmetry allows you to sketch and paint while mirroring your work in up to 16 sectors simultaneously. This is a powerful tool for sketching symmetrical patterned objects like flowers, wheels, propellers, or mandalas. The main image on this blog post (above) was quickly made using the Radial Symmetry tool. If you draw circular and symmetrical objects, this is going to save you a ton of time.

Custom Brush Icons

Making and sharing custom brushes and brush sets is incredibly handy. If you’re a Pro user and have already built up an extensive library of brushes, you may have found that you’ve been running out of unique brush icons to identify your brushes. We’ve added the ability for you to import images and label your brushes however you choose. The brush customization possibilities really are endless. We’ve been using this feature in the past few weeks (before it was live for everyone) to share Free Custom Brush Sets — and now you can, too. If you want to add a custom icon to represent a brush, in the Brush Properties menu click on the icon and look for the Import option (see image to the right). You can use the texture it creates to represent your brush, but we really love the professional look of a unique brush with custom icons for each brush.

how to add a custom brush icon

System Color Editor (Mac)

You asked, we listened! Some of our users weren’t happy with every improvement we made in our last release. In particular, some people just couldn’t let go of the old color editor. We know it can be hard to make a change so we’ve added an option in Preferences that lets you revert back to the System Color Editor. This allows you to use the color picker in the same way you were used to all along. This is available for all users (not just Pro).

Radial Symmetry in Action

Our own Kyle Runciman created this video to show how he uses Radial Symmetry to design wheels and create custom brushes. It’s a brand-new feature, so it’s always instructive to see how someone else does it. We hope you find this new tool as neat and useful as we do.

A Free Brush Set Made Using Radial Symmetry

We posted these custom wheel brushes a few weeks ago as sort of a teaser of what’s possible with Radial Symmetry. If you haven’t already grabbed this set, click here to download.  Getting these brushes into SketchBook couldn’t be any easier. Simply double click on the .skbrushes file and the brush set will be directly imported into your SketchBook Brush Library.

free wheel brush set

As always, we’re very excited to see what you come up with these tools. Have fun!

#WIPWednesday Live on Twitch: Showing Off Work in Progress

wipwednesdayWIPWednesday is a SketchBook tradition dating back to ancient times — nearly three years ago. We started off by asking our followers on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to share what they’re working on. Over at the DeviantArt SketchBook group we took it one step further by featuring a few entries from the group every week. It’s been a success, but now we’re ready to take it one step further. Let’s do this live with you on Twitch!

Watch live video from autodesksketchbook on twitch.tv
 

At 9 a.m. PST on April 20th this player will be live! As your faithful Community Manager, I’ll be talking about this week’s picks for WIPWednesday. After I’m done I’ll move on to sketching something for your entertainment. Here’s a teaser, below:

#wipwednesday
#wipwednesday#wipwednesday
#wipwednesday#wipwednesday#wipwednesday
#wipwednesday GIF

 

Did you already miss the live stream? Bummer. You can find the recording here. Look in the Past Broadcasts tab.

Be sure to follow us on Twitch and click the little checkbox for notifications. Then you’ll always know when we’re live!

 

Super Fun High Fiber FAQ

 

How do I get featured in WIPWednesday?

First, sign up for DeviantArt and join our group! It’s free and super fun. Second, upload your sketches, WIPs, and progress shots made with Autodesk SketchBook to the main gallery! (Autodesk SketchBook art only — and keep it clean for all ages, kids!)

Why do I have to use SketchBook?

Our DeviantArt group’s purpose is to collect and celebrate SketchBook art. I hope you can understand it wouldn’t make sense to add other artwork. But maybe you use a combination of tools that include SketchBook. If so, you’re welcome to upload!

I submitted something but I don’t see it.  😭

Our selections for WIP art is picked in advance, so you might turn up in the future way after your original post. Also choices are picked at random, and not everyone will be chosen. Keep submitting different art all the time, and you might get lucky!

I love SketchBook!

That’s not a question but SKETCHBOOK LOVES YOU TOOOOOOO 💕

 

FOLLOWUS-TWITCH

Tutorial: Traditional Watercolor Painting Done Digitally

painting GIF

Are you a watercolor painter who has always wanted to paint digitally but haven’t been able to make the leap? If so, we have a great tutorial for you.

Our intern Mohammad is a talented artist who has been hunkered down in SketchBook Pro making things. He’s been learning every tiny detail of the app (of course), but he’s also been creating a lot of great art. We asked him to share some of his expertise by making tutorials that focus on his particular strengths. These tutorials are great examples of how a traditional artist approaches creating in our app. Whether you create art like Mohammad does or something wildly different, we think you’ll learn a few things about his process that might just change how you set up your own workflow.

You can download the Expressive Digital Painting PDF tutorial and check it out how he created this Expressive River Painting your leisure, but we wanted to provide a few extra details on what we really like about Mohammad’s process.

The big takeaway: Use a textured background 

If you’re shooting for the look of traditional watercolor start with a background that looks like textured paper. Mohammad had a great idea — go grab an image specifically made to be a canvas background. We found one on Creative Market, but you can find tons of images online like this for free. However, keep in mind that you want your background image to be at least as large as the image you’re creating. Mohammad started with a 3300 x 2550 size canvas with 300 pixels/inch resolution, which will allow him to publish or print this just about anywhere. Three important details that Mohammad points out that are worth considering adding to your workflow:

  1. Multiply mode: He used the Multiply blending mode so that his drawing would look as if it was being applied to watercolor paper.
  2. Texture on top: He made sure this texture layer was always the first layer.
  3. Start strong, lower opacity later: Start with your textured paper fairly strong in its opacity. You can always tone down the effect of your textured paper later by lowering the opacity.

Of course, keep in mind that using blending modes like this and messing with the opacity of a “paper layer” will affect your colors. To compensate for that, Mohammad toggled off the texture at certain points like when he was laying down paint to establish his background. This helped him get the proper tones. At the end of his painting, after he had added all of his highlights, he used a Color Dodge blending mode on some details. This really made the highlights on the rocks and river pop out. The final result is lovely and has a traditional look but also a bit of a digital feel. Nicely done, Mohammad! It’s a great introduction to traditional watercolor style painting in SketchBook.

Lucky for us, Mohammad recorded his work so you can see exactly how he does it. Watch him in action on the SketchBook Pro YouTube channel.

Download Mohammad’s brush set

As an added bonus, Mohammad created a special brush set for this tutorial. He started with a set that he admired on DeviantArt (made by SirCassie), altered many of the details to fit his own style of drawing, and added some extra brushes for smudging and other details. After he was done with this tutorial, he exported his customized set as a .skbrushes file. We thought it was so good we made it the Free Brush Set of the Week. Go download it and install it in SketchBook Pro to use in your own watercolor adventures. Of course, you can always alter it to your liking and even export your set and share it yourself. Sometimes sharing your brush set can be a great complement to sharing your art.

Free Brush Set of the Week: Mohammad’s Expressive Brushes

free brush set photoshop sketchbook

Each Monday, we post a free brush set for SketchBook users here on the SketchBook blog. We know from talking to people in person and online that the artists who use our app are always interested in free brush sets. You can, of course, make your own brushes, but sometimes it’s nice to have a whole set that’s focused on one particular style of drawing that you can just install and start using.

Traditional Painting Brush Strokes

This week, we’re focused on traditional painting brush strokes. Our intern Mohammad Qureshi has been working on some great tutorials around topics like Plein Air Painting in SketchBook. We love this focus on traditional forms of drawing and painting. It made us want to get outdoors and paint with some sunshine. This week, Mohammad has a whole new tutorial for us about expressive digital painting, and for that tutorial he created a new brush set that contains 14 brushes (including some great smudge brushes). We thought it was such a good set — especially for painters who focus on traditional work — that we should give it away as a free weekly set.

expressive free brush set photoshop

Ready to start drawing with these? Download Mohammad’s Expressive Brush Set and install it in SketchBook.

Installing these free brush sets in SketchBook Pro

If you’re a SketchBook Pro user and are using the most recent version of SketchBook (version 8), just double click the .skbrushes file. It will automatically install. If you use an older version of SketchBook, you’ll just need to access a menu option. Check out Kyle’s Guide to Custom Brushes to see how it’s done.

New Free Brush of the Week: Kyle’s Custom Wheels

sketchbook free brush set

Each Monday, we’re releasing a free brush set in SketchBook. Some of these brushes will be from professional artists whose work we admire, but we also have a few folks here in house who make some pretty great art of their own. So this week, let’s share one of those.

Our own Kyle Runciman created a set of custom brushes that help him with something he does nearly every day: drawing cars. One of the more difficult parts of drawing cars is replicating wheel sets again and again. With this brush set, Kyle can lay down the basics of a wheel and make it his own.

Download the Kyle’s Custom Wheel Set brush set and install it in SketchBook.

How to install a free brush 

It’s surprisingly easy. If you’re a SketchBook Pro user and are using the most recent version of SketchBook (version 8), double click the .skbrushes file, and the set will automatically install. If you use an older version of SketchBook, it’s as easy as using a menu option. Check out Kyle’s instructions if you need help.

 

SketchBook 3.6 Update for iOS and Android: A Smart Way to Scan in Your Sketches

Scan Sketch

We just launched a new update for Autodesk SketchBook on iOS and Android, and it has something new and pretty cool in it: Scan Sketch.

This version of SketchBook — version 3.6 — includes an excellent new way to bring your traditional sketches directly into a digital workflow. When creating a new file from the Gallery, there is a new option called Scan Sketch. This tool uses your device’s built-in camera to import a physical sketch as a base layer. But this isn’t just a standard image import. The Scan Sketch tool actually recognizes the perspective and distortion of the image in frame. Scanned sketches will be imported as transparent line work with color data. Perhaps most important: It automatically removes the background if you want it to. Check it out in this video:

The three modes for Scan Sketch

Once you’ve taken your photo, you have three options:

  • Black & White: Import your sketch as a black and white image while automatically removing the background.
  • Color: Import original colors from your sketch while automatically removing the background.
  • Original: Import your original image including the background.

Note that you can choose any of these after you take your photo, so you can keep the flexibility open if you’re not sure which one will work best with your photo. Here’s an example of some physical sketches we captured and brought in as color while also removing the background:

Scan Sketch feature

Scan Sketch feature

Tips for scanning your images

The Scan Sketch tool works quite well, but of course the quality of the physical sketch you begin with matters. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your sketch transfers:

  • Lighting matters (a little bit): An intense spot of light could potentially create breaks in a line drawing. Likewise, a poorly lit room won’t help you create strong contrasted lines. A desk with a table lamp that’s not too bright is probably perfect.
  • Watch your shadow: If you are taking a photo by perching above your paper-based sketch, you might find yourself casting a shadow on the paper. Doh!
  • Too much background? Did your camera capture background space you don’t need? Once you’ve scanned in your image, use the selection tools to draw around the area you want, and then copy and paste this “cropped” portion of your your scanned image into a new layer.