Any “Sketchbook Pro” Users Out There?

I’m slowly working on a post (or series of posts) about digital inking. In my research and in talking to other artists I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about a drawing program called Sketchbook Pro. Apparently it’s super fantastically awesome, rivaling Photoshop and Painter at a significantly lower price. When it comes to inking with a Cintiq, Sketchbook Pro (I’m told) blows Photoshop out of the water.

So, to any of you Sketchbook Pro users out there….Fill us in! Share your knowledge! Enlighten the rest of us with your wisdom! Leave a comment below and tell us what you like (or don’t like) about Sketchbook Pro.

[EDIT: If you’ve drawn or painted anything in Sketchbook Pro, feel free to share a link to the artwork as well.]


13 thoughts on “Any “Sketchbook Pro” Users Out There?

  1. i just got the program yesterday.
    the pencil and the ballpoint brush seem to be pretty good, the paint brush not so much.
    it would be awesome if the paintbrush from opencanvas and the pencil from sketchbook pro would be combined into one cheap but effective program.

    great blog =)

  2. As you know Cedric, I’m a big fan of Sketchbook. I’ve used it for years although not in any kind of finished art way. Mostly it is my digital sketchbook for ideas and visual thinking.

    What I like is it’s simplicity. The tool set is small but focused on those things needed to sketch. The interface is fast and minimal. It’s ancestry is from the industrial design tool Alias which is used by the majority of car designers.

    But I think the best thing about SBP is the line quality. The pencil tool makes a line that renders like a pencil and not just a line with no antialiasing like in Photoshop. You can set the min line weight which is something PS doesn’t do. Another thing I really like is the ability to rotate the canvas as I draw. Like I would with a sheet of paper. I tend to have problems drawing horizontals on the Wacom so I simply rotate to an angle. However it’s not as well implemented as in Painter.

    My only complaint is the need for more ways to save brushes and pencil settings. SBP hasn’t been updated in several years which at first seems bad but honestly I don’t really need it to do much more then it does. Not broken, don’t fix it.

    Here is an example of a SBP sketch I did. I’d love to see other’s works in SBP.

  3. i own Sketchbook Pro 2, which i bought at the end of last year. after hearing the duo of CreatureBox rave about it ( i took a chance and bought it. it is indeed the wonder i was hearing about. it has the best implemented pencil tool i have found. silky smooth and very very fast. all tools are very customizable, and Creature Box does all the layout, and final inks in this program on a Cintiq. apparently they ink with a customized pencil tool as the base. they have lots outstanding artwork as examples. all coloring is done in Photoshop. i was desperate for a sketch tool that i could easily and quickly produce an accurate base drawing to build on top of in Adobe Illustrator. Sketchbook pro whips up on Photoshop, Painter and Artrage something fierce. i have them all and have been very frustrated with them as sketching tools. if you are a professional, needing a professional tool, used and marketed to the Industrial design community, then you should get it. period. $200.00 is small change for this awesome program – and the interface is smart – though it does not have a lot of bells and whistles.

    here’s the problem: Sketchbook seems to have been dropped as a stand-alone product and is now only available in Autodesk’s suite which has 2d and 3d capability, which is really their core business. i think it starts about $5000.00. Also, Sketchbook Pro 2 does not run on Intel Macs and is not supported. i know it doesn’t run on mine, and the forums are full of people with the same problem. it does seem to do all right on my PPC mac mini running Leopard – though i don’t think it runs as well as it did before Leopard.

    the only program i have found that runs even close to Sketchbook Pro 2 is TVPaint. ( which does support Intel Macs. though, expensive, i have found TVPaint to be very fast and accurate and i have been working with the demo very successfully. go to this blog – ( to see. scroll down to the Hamster art Tutorial where David T. Nethery explains his use of the program. he sketches and inks in TVPaint and then autotraces in Delineate to bring it into Illustrator. check his ink line quality. excellent in my opinion. though TVPaint is really an Animation program, it’s concepting and inking tools are excellent and though not as elegant as Sketchbook Pro2, the interface makes good sense when you get used to it, and you can get rid of stuff you don’t want to look at, clever hot buttons, rotating artsapce – aka animation table- etc. smart program in my opinion. still – it’s not cheap. the base program is about 700- 800 US dollars. but – if it is a main tool in a professionals toolbox, that is not much money. readers might want to check it out as a very viable alternative to Sketchbook.

  4. I cannot say enough good things about Sketchbook Pro, its one of the best digital drawing programs out there in terms of feeling like a real pencil, chisel pen,etc,,..even the digital marker has a nice feel and reads well. Also, the fact you can save it out to PSD format for photoshop makes it even more worthwhile. Its unfortunate to hear that the company discontinued the program w/the merger w/Autodesk. However, it wont stop me from using it. Since being a story artist @Disney Feature Animation I have had to acclamate(sp?) myself to drawing directly in photoshop, I feel I dont have as much control but b/c PS is the only program that works w/Disney’s Story Sketch program I have had to make do. Over time I have gotten pretty comfortable w/it and now that I have china marker tools I can get a good wax pencil look to my boards and story sketches. All in all though, when I can or have freelance to do I open that Sketchbook program and love jumping back into what has to be one of my favorite drawing programs. Furthermore, its so darn cheap!! It would be such a loss not to go out and get it today….. Happy Drawing…. For those of you who have my book (The Art of Animal Character Design…red and yellow color and the one w/the giraffe on the cover) the title page illustration of the running tiger was done in Sketchbook……check it out and see how much it looks like a traditional ink drawing.

  5. I use to love Sketchbook pro because it works great for sketching. It is such a light application so it s perfect for 3 to 5 years old Tablet PC compared to the heavy Photoshp or Painter but I find myself using TV Paint more and more.

    Sketchbook pro has a great pencil that you can customise but TV paint is just as good and you can tweak your brushes even further. You can also paint and animate in TV Paint.

    Really nice stuff.

  6. As Clay mentioned, Greg and I really do sing the praises of Sketchbook…because it’s awesome! While there are several features I’m longing for, Sketchbook is the ideal tool for penciling and inking. Photoshop, illustrator, painter, art rage all fall short in the drawing realm.

    And for all you Sketchbook fans out there, a new stand alone version is on the way…very very soon! Happy drawing!


  7. Yeah, I couldn’t agree more with the previous comments. I use this beauty for pretty much all my digital work. Silky smooth is just the word for it too! ( )

    I had an invitation to test for the Beta of Sketchbook Pro 3 before xmas, and I hear that it [the beta] was shown on display at the Macworld 08 expo on a modbook…. there y’go. Hopefully it’ll make it and see the light of day, with all those wish-list tweaks in there too – staying just as nimble and easy to use as before. Just have to wait and see I guess.


  8. I’ve been playing around with Sketchbook Pro for a while now and use it with the Cintiq 12wx. It’s awesome with importing photos and drawing right onto them. Great layers ability and color wheel. Pencil tool is very fast and fine point. It’s fun to start a drawing in Corel Painter or Photoshop and import it into Sketchbook for more layering and drawing. I really love the Airbrush tool, it can be so subtle and I like how easy it is to change brush sizes. Great program!

  9. Just been playing around with Sketchbook Pro 2 today and it rocks! Great for pencilling and I managed to customise a brush that simulates brush and ink pretty well. I love the zoom/move function!

    I think this will become my primary inking/digital sketching tool. Beats Photoshop and Painter!

  10. I recently have switched from Manga Studio Debut 4 to Sketchbook Pro after hearing the guys from Creature Box as well. I love it. I guess what I need in order to get used to inking my stuff to look crispier and less shaky is a cintiq. Right now I have a wacom tablet…okay, but not great because of the disconnect from stylus to screen. But the Cintiq starts at $1000, a bit over my budget right now. I currently use the felt brush, my favorite… and I vary the sizes. I keep it round. Right now I’ve just been experimenting but I love the program so far. I also noticed that Illustrator’s CS4 version’s trace tool seems to do a better job than the last one in tracing. The only thing you have to do is make sure your drawing has no smudge marks, so cleaning it up in photoshop tends to lend for a cleaner trace. But, it’s a bit tedious.

    If anyone has any tips on techniques for sketchbook pro, please contact me. Thanks a bunch. By the way, love this blog… One of my favorites.

  11. Love it, love it, love it…. I’ve been playing with it for about 2 weeks now. I’m a print designer and this has been a great app for doing development and just jotting down ideas. I have to say there are things I wish I had coming from the Adobe family of tricks, but for now this has been a great change of pace.. I also enjoy Typedrawing and Omnisketch…

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