Trying to Learn Sketchbook Pro

Hey everyone,

I’ve been working hard trying to learn Alias Sketchbook over the past month. I’ve made a lot of progress, but would love some feedback if you have the time. Please be brutally honest, as I’m really trying to improve. The attached images were completed on a cintiq 12wx with no underlays. They are from various projects that I’m working on this summer. I’ve had the tablet for a little over a month now and am starting to get the hang of it. Thanks for your time and feedback, it’s much appreciated.

Here are a few more:

Good start.

First I would say perspective. Make your perspective just a little more dramatic. It looks a little isometric.

Second, as a better man than me said “darker darks, lighter lights”. It will help to add more volume to the sketches.

Third, make a clean definition between shadow and product.

Fourth, make sure you erase “over spray” on your layers.

Also, have you looked at my breakdown of a sketchbook pro sketch?

Keep going!


Thanks for the feedback, Jeff. Anyone else? Please please tear my stuff apart. …

It seems like all of your lighting is from the viewing angle… at leats that’s what your highlights indicate. I would recommend another source of light (top left usually does the trick)

Cleaning up your sketches (even if they’re sketches, you’re on the computer so cleaning up should be cake), especially your linework. If you’re going for the speedy sort of sketching where the lines extend, at least make it flow. Some of the extensions are awkward and seems like you missed it while erasing.

Also I have no idea what any of those things are.

But I agree with cleaning up the black stuff… it just takes a lot away from an otherwise clean sketch

The first thing that popped up to me, which is already mentioned above…

darker darks, lighter lights

learned that from my intro to drawing professor. she said it each and everytime after nearly any student ‘finished’ an assignment. lighting is drama, pop, creates perspective, interest.

find the highlights and make them scream.

you can also try the ‘white-out pen method’. add two or three opaque dots at the corners of the object that are closest to the viewer. smallish dots, think the size of a white push-thumb-tac in relation to a 30x40" sheet of paper, about that big. play around with it. it doesn’t make too much sense. but it’s all about tricking the eye, and it works.

looking good for just learning sketchbookpro.


His name was not “Bob”, was it? Teacher that is.


one of my favorite things about SBPro sketches is how the linework fades like a good pencil really can, but in a more perfect (digital) way. I don’t see any of that nicely thrown line-work in here. Look for that in other’s work too - look at some of blaster and add’s sbpro sketches for what im talking about. it’s all about using the pressure sensitivity and getting some tension in the linework

yep, Bob Fee.

nominated for IDSA educator of the year this year, and I’d imagine he’ll get it too

Thanks to everyone else who replied. I have problems sometimes with getting good line quality. When I let it “fade out” as you mentioned, my lines get all squiggly towards the end. The only way I’ve found to get around that is to press a little harder, but that of course makes bolder lines. I toyed around with the pressure sensitivity in sketchbook pro but I didn’t notice a whole world of difference. I also find myself zooming in and out a lot to make smaller lines, I don’t know if that is part of the problem or not. I’ve considered using sweeps and curves for some of those harder lines, have yet to try it out though. I’ll post more in the next week or so for further critique feedback. Thanks again, it’s helped a lot.

are these the “wiggles” you’re talking about?
If so, this may be due to drawing with your wrist rather than your arm…
others can comment on how to get a nice tight line too… there are some kids on these boards who produce awesome - effortless looking lines. also the ever-aweseom CTRL-Z and redo method will force you to get it right eventually. You May be just pressing really hard too, and letting you wrist flip side to side a little at the end of the stroke… not really sure, i’d have to see you draw.

Yeah, those are the ones. I suppose I should have spent more time tightening up the lines I draw from my shoulder for the longer lines, but for stuff like that I kind of just ghost it in with my wrist. I’m not sure what you mean by flipping the wrist. Do you mean like rotating or turning it? I guess it’s something I do without noticing it. Thanks.

thats the thing, you shouldn’t have to spend the time cleaning up the lines, they should be fresh out of your hand… keep working at it see if you can get better results… still not sure why those wiggles happen… anyone?

I met that “Bob” at a Southern District conference the other year. I was talking about a different Bob. Bob Hieshman, he teaches drawing at RIT.


I’ve noticed that with sketchbook pro and painter using a wacom tablet, certain areas of the tabled give off the wiggle effect no matter what I do -i.e. drawing with my shoulder and not wrist. so It may be a hardware defect and not so much your technique my friend.

snugja:I’ve noticed that with sketchbook pro and painter using a wacom tablet, certain areas of the tabled give off the wiggle effect

which type of tablet do you use - Intuos/ cintiq /tabletPC ?

kwilson7: It is always difficult when you start using sketchbook & wacom combination for your designs.

Concentrate just on sketching ….First
Then rendering …afterwards designing using SB

I will suggest select a product that you are fond of…. (Flowing form…)
Use your natural strokes ….go for quick lines …
Try to sketch with only objective of sketching it right. …(not designing at the same time)
Use different pencil types of SB for different purpose… same as that of paper sketches…
Hard pencil for initial work…& soft for final
Refine the sketch……
Train yourself for sketching…

I use Sketchbook Pro on a Tablet PC. Never had the cursor jump. As mentioned, might be a hardware issue.

Another point, make sure you calibrate the machine to you (and the hand you draw with).

It’s worst towards the lower edges of the screen, I try to stay away from them for the most part.

Do a search on some of the tablet pc or wacom forums, it’s a known issue and some posters have figured out ways to fix it. Something about the default driver settings and how to override them I think. The last I heard Wacom wasn’t acknowledging the problem but plenty of people have that same issue, the lines will even come out squiggly when they use a ruler.

I knew I wasn’t crazy or had parkinsons! knock on wood :slight_smile: