My wife encouraged me to take up a hobby. I chose painting. The cost of materials is daunting. Easel. Canvas. Paints. Brushes.
Worse, painting is messy. I decided to cheat and go digital. That worked out well until my wife figured out I was just using a Mac app to enhance our photos so they looked like paintings. Now I’m into sketching using free apps.
Sketching For Fun, Not Profit
The number of artists sketching apps for the Mac took me by surprise. There are many available, they’re more advanced than me, and they’re inexpensive. Even a professional sketch app costs less than easel, canvas, paints, and brushes. Far less.
I started with the SketchBook Copic Edition for a number of reasons. I like the Copic style. I like free. It’s Mac App Store.
What you get with this remarkable app is a number of floating palettes, preset Copic brushes and markets.
There’s also a Copic color library, with dozens of colors, as well as a pencil and eraser. If you sketch, go digital. Erase is a wonderful tool.
Basically, the Copic edition gives you six layers to try your talents. Sketch and enjoy, my friend. This is far more fun than using real tools. No mess.
What if you’re not into the Copic look?
SketchBook Express is also free, still has limited layers, but a different set of tools. From pencil markers and airbrushes, to fill, sharpen, and blur tools. Even add circles, lines, and rectangles.
Even with SketchBook Pro, we’re not talking real money.
The tool set is enhanced substantially.
Basic tools are similar to the other versions, but you can create your own custom brushes, change fonts, snap brush strokes, flip from horizontal and vertical mirroring, add more layers, and adjust images.
You get full control over visibility, including transparency and you can blend layers.
There’s even built-in support for Photoshop PSD files (import and export). Unless you’re already a digitally inclined artist with real talent and a Mac, I suggest you start at the beginning with the Copic edition. The first two are free, and even the pro version is nominally priced.
Copic and Express are Mac App Store only, but free. The Pro version has a try-before-you-buy option for an older version.