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SketchBook Ink Tips

Lena Le is a multi-media designer/artist from the SketchBook team. Here, she shares a walkthrough of some of her techniques in SketchBook Ink.

Ever since I started using SketchBook Ink, I’ve fallen in love with its sophisticated pen tool and its amazing ability to export up to a whopping 101.5 MP image file. Below, I’ve shown examples of the unique qualities each pen has. In the first image, I’ve demonstrated starting each line slowly then transitioning into a quick flick. In the second image, there are strokes of varying speed and curvature.

I recommend experimenting with different brush sizes, speeds of pen strokes and curves. In addition to adjusting brush size, depending on the execution, you can manipulate the pen strokes for a variety of different effects and styles.


My two favorite pens to use for inking sketches are the third and fourth brushes from the top. They both taper. The third brush has a nice fade at the beginning and end of each stroke, an effect I like taking advantage of in both inking and painting. Both pens make it very easy sketch loosely, as well as get in close and produce some very fine lines. I like to do a rough sketch and then lower the opacity of the layer. Afterwards, I create a layer on top of the sketch and begin to ink before zooming in closely to refine and sharpen them. After that, I create layers under the inked layer, hide the sketch, and then shade the shirt with solid colors. I also use the handy background fill in the Layer menu.

While SketchBook Ink is excellent for inking, I also like to create fully painted illustrations in the app.

For this piece I start off again with a rough sketch and then adjust it to a lowered opacity.   

Next, I fill in the background with a light beige and create new layers on top of the sketch. I work on several layers simultaneously, striving for a unified look, while keeping each element separate. On the top layer, I ink parts of the image where I’d like some separation and contrast in black.

On another layer, I block out the hair solidly using the third and sixth brush. I decided to keep my color palette limited. Most of my coloring is done with a pen size of medium to large, done in large sweeping stroke, later zooming in to add small details to the eyelid, nose and lips. The fifth pen tool is great for covering large areas with a solid color, due to the large and opaque line width.

When it comes to hair, I have a lot of fun using the sixth brush tool in the panel. The ink starts and ends off thick with a consistently thin line quality in between. This is especially great for zooming in and creating strands of wispy hair.



Lastly, I add the highlights of the hair, eyes, and lips with the third pen tool due to its taper and translucent fade. This is to blend and soften the image, as well as to contrast against the opaque and solid shapes.


The ability to be able to achieve crisp inking and line work on the go with SketchBook Ink is invaluable to me. I hope this gives you some ideas on ways you can experiment and grasp the different pens in SketchBook Ink! 


Reader Comments (7)

I'm quite new to digital art. I, regretfully, normally stick to one type of line, because I'm not so familiar with how to play with different brush strokes. Learning from the examples of a great artist is helping me with my understanding.
This amazing tutorial brings me comfort and insight on how to approach drawing digitally.
I would love more tutorials from Lena!

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJell

Stunning work, such beauty and understanding of the app. Oh and I should mention, Inspiring too. ^Up^

May 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzi54241

Interesting to read which brushes of the app you like to use in each stage of your work and seeing the properties of each brush in a drawing. Wish I was able to try out the app at this moment. Can't wait to see another tutorial of yours Lena!

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFerdi

Good tutorial and a beautiful demonstration. You've made me want to add Sketchbook Ink on my Kindle HD. Thank you!

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteveRB511

This is a wonderful app that only looks minimalist in features, at first glance, because it's so easy to use. Exploring pen types, transparency in layers, the image layer, and setting the background color shows its true power. Being able to export very large bitmaps is wonderful as well. I look forward to more artists discovering this app and sharing great tutorials like this one.

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGraphicDragon

Well, i am not an artist, but just a guy who loves to sketch. I have a lot of fun with these apps on my tablet and like to experiment with all of it's features when i find the time. I used to draw in school, but when i grew up, i kind of forgot how to draw... But this app is learning and teaching me to do it again! Greetings and lots of fun to all of you who love 2 draw!

June 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkunskii

Hy guys,

Does you any claim to update Autodesk Ink to works with WICS2 (Intros Creative Stylus 2)? I really love this app and would like to continue using forever... Tks!

November 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJey Castro

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