Get to Know Your SketchBook Lagoon: Using and Customizing

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what is the lagoon

These tips are ideal for intermediate or advanced users that spend a lot of time in SketchBook Pro 6 (Mac/Win).  A few customizations to quickly access commonly used tools or brushes can go a long way to improve productivity.

The Lagoon is the round UI element found in the bottom left of your SketchBook Pro application window, by default. It is the original hub for a lot of the useful tools found in SBP. Like the Layer editor, the Lagoon is driven by gestural movements. To view the tools in a Lagoon ‘Marking Menu,’ tap on the desired icon. This will expose the tools in that category. Keeping the stylus down, drag to the tool you want to select until it’s highlighted and lift the pen. Before jumping into customization, let’s run through the default settings for each Category.

Interface Controls

Starting at the top and moving clockwise, we see a half circle button with the Marking Menu icon. this is where you’ll find all the options for different Window UI layouts.

Starting at the top and going counter-clockwise…


1. Full UI – Default SketchBook Layout.
2. Title Bar Off – Hides the standard Windows/Mac UI Bar.
3. Lagoon Right – Mirrors the Lagoon.
4. UI Off – Full Screen Mode. (The half button will always be there to bring UI back.
5. Title Bar Only – Hides the Lagoon.

Tools & Views

lagoon tools

Next Up is Tools and Views. I use this one all the time. Mainly for the View Snap tools, Fit to View and Actual size. You’ll notice a lot of these tools can be found in the Toolbar, and that you might not need to use the Lagoon as much as a result. That’s why Customization can be so useful.

  1. Zoom/Rotate/Move Canvas (Spacebar)
  2. Fit to View (Ctrl+0/Command+0)
  3. Ruler (R)
  4. Ellipse (E)
  5. Layers
  6. Symmetry X (X)
  7. Symmetry Y (Y)
  8. Actual Size (Ctrl+Alt+0/Command+Option+0)


brushes in lagoon

Brushes is the first Category that I customize, typically. I tend not to use many of the standard brushes, so loading up the Lagoon with custom brushes makes more sense for me.

1. Pencil
2. Airbrush
3. Paintbrush
4. Hard Eraser
5. Brush Palette – Opens/Closes Brush Window
6. Ballpoint Pen
7. Switch Between 2 Brushes (S)
8. Marker


colors in SketchBook Lagoon

The default colors are useful when you get started and are good for quick mark-up or annotation.

At this point, you probably get it. When customizing, you have the freedom to can change these to different colors, or entirely replace it with more brushes or tools that suite your workflow.   I would like to highlight the south-most color (it looks like a checker board): This is an ‘alpha’ color that lets you make any brush into an eraser.



The Edit category has some very useful tools. The Clear function is my most used Lagoon tool. I leave this section untouched, as these are all functions I use occasionally and I’ve adapted to this layout over the years/versions.

1. Select (M)
2. Lasso Select (L)
3. Clear Canvas (Del)
4. Copy (Ctrl+C/Command+C)
5. Paste (Ctrl+V/Command+V)
6. Cut (Ctrl+X/Command+X)
7. Crop To Selection
8. Move/Rotate/Scale Layer (V)


SketchBook Lagoon: Lag-k-files

Last is the Files category. This is where you find Basic functions like Save, Open, New and Page flipping.

  1. Previous Image – Opens pervious sequentially named image listed in your directly (not available on Mac App Store Edition) file in your directory.
  2. Open (Ctrl+O/Command+O)
  3. Save (Ctrl+S/Command+S)
  4. New (Ctrl+N/Command+N)
  5. Next Image – Opens next sequentially named image listed in your directory, if available (not available on Mac App Store Edition)

Customizing the Lagoon

To get started, go to the Preference menu. (Edit > Preferences or SketchBook Pro > Preferences) In the Preference window, select the Lagoon Tab. There are some critical points that you need to get this job done, and once you know how, its a matter of repetition until you’re happy with the configuration.

The upper portion of the editor manipulates the Lagoon itself. Here you can change or rearrange the icons that appear on the lagoon. You can choose to rearrange the existing icons, or select new one from the Custom Icons – Hotkey Assignments list on the right side.

On the bottom half, you can see the contents of the Marking Menu associated with the icon selected in the above section. Below, you can see that the Tools Category is selected, which exposes the Tools Marking Menu below. By default, the top item is selected. In this case, Zoom/Rotate/Move Canvas.

In the ‘Default SketchBook tools’List on the lower left side, you’ll see that that tool is selected. To change the tool allocated to this location in the marking menu, simply scroll through the list to find the new tool and click it.

It’s pretty straightforward once you’re familiar with the workflow.

You can always revert back to the Default Lagoon by hitting the RESET button in the bottom Left.

SketchBook Lagoon: Lag-k-prefs

Changing Lagoon Icons

You can manually swap out or rearrange the existing icons with any of the choices to the right. Simply click on the icon you want to change. Once highlighted, select the Icon from the list on the right. It will update the Lagoon in the Editor.

  • The actual Lagoon will not update until you confirm the changes and close the Preference Window.
  • You cannot change the Interface Controls icon


Customizing the Marking Menus

From here, it’s a simple repetetive workflow of selecting the item you want changed, and choosing it’s replacement from the list. But again, you aren’t limited to only colors here. You can use any tools, including any Custom Brushes you’ve created. I’ve included the colors I chose, just as a reference.

Importance of Naming your Custom Brushes

When creating Custom Brushes, it is important to name them for a few reasons. Lagoon customization is one of those reasons. If you don’t name your custom brushes, you’ll have a difficult time choosing the correct brush from a list of Do-It-Youself-Brush and Do-It-Yourself-Brush-copies. I learned this lesson the hard way, and back-tracked to name all the brushes required for the Brushes Marking Menu, as seen Below.



Marking Menu Hotkeys

Before I wrap up, I should note that the Marking Menus associated with the Hotkeys 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 will change based on your customized lagoon. The new Custom Marking Menus will always be pinned to those hotkeys. The defaults (below) will be wiped out unless you reset to Default Settings.

Want to always be ready to customize? Download a PDF Lagoon Tutorial.