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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

First attempt & mini-review of Autodesk Sketchbook Copic Edition

Okay!  If I had a stylus, instead of a mouse that wrecks havoc with my wrist, I just might be tempted to give up my pens, markers & paints.  (Well, probably not.  Digital still hasn't captured that visceral 'something' that you get when you scrawl ink across the page or smell the paint, fresh from the tube,lol!)

But.  I've fallen in love with both Scribbler Too-a funky little drawing program, and this latest edition of Autodesk Sketchbook Copic Edition.  (I didn't review Scribbler Too--you have to try it.  There's just no explaining what it is or how it works.  You're up and running with it immediately though.  No real learning curve.)

But on to Sketchbook.

This new version of Sketchbook is easier to explain.  It's a free limited edition of Sketchbook Pro with 72 of the new Copic colors that have been added to the Pro version.  It's a digital program that allows you to draw or color using brushes that simulate (very nicely) Copic markers with tips of varying sizes.  It also has pen tips, a pencil tip and an eraser.

Even though this is version with limited capabilities, it's got the all the basic bells and whistles.  You can select portions, crop, rotate, and scale.  You can set your pen to draw circles and lines, connected lines, squares or free draw.  You can undo several times (I didn't hit the limit), aND you have layers!  You can keep your original pristine and create up to 5 additional layers.  The level of transparency can be adjusted within each layer so that your color can be anything from fully opaque to the merest whisper of color.   This is wonderful because you can have a layer for that flaming red firetruck, and one for the wisp of color across a child's cheek.  I love being able to dial down the color until it blends perfectly with the other colors.
You can move your toolbars around to place them where they are out of the way, and are able to hide the ones you don't want at the moment.

I have played with digital programs before and was up and running with the program in about 5 minutes.  A newbie to these sort of programs would probably have to hit the manual and possibly ask questions.  In the lower left portion of the screen there are images for each toolbar.  If you click and hold the mouse button down, pop-ups will appear.  You can move the mouse to each one to get the name of tool.  This will be enough explanation for many.


The colors are gorgeous!

Drawbacks?  Well, it is a limited edition.  I could only find 1 line width for the eraser and it was too wide for most of what I'd have done with it.  Like any program of this type, it's really meant to be used with a stylus.  Drawing is laborious with a mouse.  Coloring is easier, but still requires rigid control, which means my wrist aches after a few minutes.   I'd like more than 5 layers.

But that's all nitpicking, and at least half because I don't have the best tools, and possibly just haven't found the solution, so not the program's fault.  I've bought full-scale programs that didn't work half as well.

If you are new to such programs this would be an excellent one to learn with. And it has more than enough features -- the more advanced user can easily raise hell and paint the town red!  You can download it here.

I colored in one of the phantasm's that I drew in Scribbler Too.

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