If you’re a professional artist — or an aspiring one — you probably look to SketchBook because it’s specifically designed for drawing and painting. Sure, you can draw in Photoshop or Illustrator, but there’s something to be said for using the right tools for the job at hand. If you’ve jumped in and embraced SketchBook with a Pro subscription (or if you’re trying it out with a free trial), we insist that you examine these five tools first (if you haven’t already). We think every one of these tools will help make you a better artist; or at least make you look like a better artist. They’re all tools that can make your drawing process more efficient, more fluid, and more confident.
We think every one of these tools will help make you a better artist; or at least make you look like a better artist.
1. Perspective Guides
How do you solve a problem like perspective? On paper, you draw guidelines in pencil that you’ll later erase because you know that if you get your perspective wrong, it will be embarrassingly obvious. But if you get it right, your drawing looks infinitely better. From now on, get it right with perhaps the handiest tool in the app, Perspective Guides. You can draw guidelines easily in one-point, two-point, three-point, and even fisheye perspective. But this tool is about much more than just drawing temporary guidelines. It will actually draw your strokes on invisible guidelines that perfectly match the perspective you’re going for. Your lines snap to an invisible line and follow your established vanishing points. It makes the process of drawing buildings, in particular, practically foolproof. Instead of focusing all your time on drawing the skeleton of a building, you can spend that time adding cool, stylized details.
Not sure where to start with perspective? Check out Perspective Guides: How to Draw Architectural Street Scenes, Perspective Guides: Using Two-Point Perspective For Drawing Interiors, or Creating Balanced Landscape Compositions with Jonathan Aucomte.
2. Symmetry Tools
The Symmetry Tool is one of our most intuitive tools but also one of the most useful. Tap the Symmetry Tool, and you can mirror every stroke you draw on the other side of the line of symmetry. It’s a huge help for drawing figures, particularly faces. Just as with Perspective Guides, it will help you balance your drawings so your people don’t look weird. We all instinctively know that lopsided faces aren’t as attractive as symmetrical ones, so unless your goal is to deliberately draw ghoulish looking humans, the Symmetry Tool is going to be your new best friend. Bonus: Did you know you can use the horizontal and vertical Symmetry Tools at the same time? Use these tools in tandem to add details to circular objects like tires or flowers. Or, if you’re a pattern maker, tattoo designer, or mandala junky, use this tool to get intricate with your detail.
3. Copic Color Library
Copic is the industry standard for markers. Part of their appeal is their thoughtfully conceived Copic Color Wheel. It’s a spectrum of colors with unique visual characteristics that will always be the same. Think of it as the Pantone system for drawing, created to ensure that colors will always have the right saturation, brightness, and color values flowing through those markers and onto the page. We appreciate the standards of Copic so much that we teamed up with them to create the *Digital* Copic Library. It’s exclusive to SketchBook Pro members, with colors that will perfectly match the real-world markers. All 358 of them.
The Copic Color library is simple to navigate. All of the colors are labeled and categorized by their color family to mirror the Copic Color Chart. Choosing the right colors for your artwork becomes that much easier when you have the Copic Color Library at your disposal. Better yet, use the built-in Copic Brush Set to replicate the traditional effect of Copic markers.
4. Lock Transparency
Lock transparency is SketchBook’s version of clipping masks. We know the value of clipping masks when drawing on the fly, but we wanted clipping masks to work a little differently in our app and be a bit more streamlined than in some other design apps. If you’ve ever used clipping masks, you essentially already know how lock transparency works. Turn on lock transparency when you want to only draw on chosen contents of a layer. Never used a tool like this when drawing before? Watch our tutorial on Lock Transparency to learn how to add it into your workflow.
5. Predictive Stroke
Perfect, smooth line work takes practice to achieve, whether you’re drawing on paper or digitally. Most people are familiar with paper and pen, so they learn relatively quickly how to apply and remove pressure to make lines smoother. You get to know how to start a line strong and swish your way to a clean, tapered endpoint. It’s a little different when drawing digitally, partly because it’s a new process for people who originally learned on paper.
Not a problem. Our Predictive Stroke tool smooth your strokes to improve the line quality. This tool also corrects basic shapes into perfect circles, rectangles, and triangles. You can increase or decrease the tolerance to change how much the tool stabilizes your stroke. If you don’t need any help in this department, great. But if you need to create confident line art or want your cursive script to look drop-dead gorgeous, this is a tool you’ll want to turn on. Watch our short demo that shows the difference when drawing with the Predictive Stroke tool.
Not Pro? Download a free trial
Those are the tools that we absolutely must insist you try first if you’ve taken the leap and purchased a SketchBook Pro subscription. If you haven’t gone Pro yet, these five tools might change your mind. Download a free trial and unlock Pro for 15 days (no credit card required).