Join David Lee for an in-depth discussion in this video Using a pen tablet, part of SketchBook Pro 2010 Essential Training.
In this lesson I'll show you how to create a sketch using a pen tablet in SketchBook Pro. To begin let's learn about the basics of pen tablet sketching. Pen tablets are one of the most traditional input device and feature pressure sensitive pens and programmable hotkeys. Some even offer a mouse for use on the tablet surface. Pen tablets are available in both traditional and widescreen formats to match a range of display monitors. Follow the install procedure carefully before using your pen tablet. Once installed you may also need to calibrate it to your settings.
I'll begin my sketch using a background template available from SketchBook Pro's Help menu. As a registered user you will be able to download a folder of useful guides. I use a grid template with height and width units defined by heavier weight lines. At this point it's only a concept. However using a grid will help you visualize their relationships between different or related features. Let's get sketching. What I am going to do first is I am going to move my cursor over to the main menu. I am going to press my Stylus down and select Open and select the GridPlus template.
What I am going to do now is also open my Brush tools. I am going to take my stylus and press down and tap once. And I'll pick the pencil. So I'll just go ahead and tap my Stylus down once to select the pencil. And what I'm going to do first is I am going to go ahead and create two points on the grid. I'll create a point here. I'll go down about four units and create a mark there. And if you like you can go ahead and put in a third point there. The trick to doing successful pen tablet sketching is to trust your eye on the cursor and also to have a point of origin and a destination.
So what we are going to do is we are going to begin from the top and we are going to press down on our pen stylus on the tablet surface. And we are going to drag a line down and keep your eye on the cursor and also keep your eye on the target, which is your destination. Let's do that again. Let's start from that second point of origin and go down to the third point down here. Press down on your tablet and drag a line down. Now if your line should go a little off course you can always go back to your interface lagoon and hit Undo and draw it again.
Let's go ahead and draw that one once again, press down on your point of origin and down to your destination. Now you are going to have two lines that are connected at the middle. So what we are going to do is we are going to go to our Brush tools, select an Eraser tool, and we'll go ahead and just erase out some of that marking. Because what we are going to do is we are going to take that line and we are going to show you how you are going to create a cellular phone using one line. Let's go back to the main menu. Select Marquee Select. Anchor your line at the left corner of that line, press down on the stylus, move it to the right.
You see how you have like some dashed lines? Go ahead and drag down while it's still selected. Again still hold down your stylus on the tablet and lift your stylus pen up. And what that's going to do, it's going to select that line and show you a few options. Now you can scale it, you can rotate it, you can move it, you can even distort it. But we are not going to do any of those. We are going to go over to the main interface and we are going to copy that line. Okay, we are going to drag down to the Copy logo, lift up, press your pen down again on the interface, and press down on space and lift up.
And you see you are going to have a second line. Now what we are going to do is we are going to place our cursor right on the Move ring that's highlighted, press down on the stylus on to the tablet surface, and move that line over to the right. Let's go ahead and paste down another line. Returning to the interface lagoon, drag down to Paste. And this time we are going to do something little different. We are going to go ahead and drag that line over to the middle and we are going to go ahead and move up to the next ring, which says Rotate. Now I want you to keep your eye on the upper part of that screen and you are going to see a little gauge that's going to come up.
And we are going to rotate that 90 degrees. And if you skip it, just go ahead and grab hold of those handles again and get as close as you can, and then what you are going to do is go to Move key and move that line up. We are going to go ahead and do that once again. So let's go ahead and while that line is still selected, Copy, Paste, grab hold of the Move ring you're going to press down and lift up then you are going to deselect. And what we are going to do is we are going to double check to see if we are in the Marquee Selection mode. We're going to go ahead and remove these lines by selecting them and going to your keyboard, hit the Delete key.
We'll go again press down on your tablet. Still in Marquee Select mode, select those end lines and we are going to remove those lines. What we are next going to do is we are going to modify the corners by taking an Eraser tool from our Brush tools and remove the corners. And you go and grab your pencil tool, and remember what we talked about earlier having a point of origin and a destination. We are going to mark those two points and create a curve. We are going to do it again, starting point and destination, starting point, destination and the last one.
We are going to go ahead and take our Marquee Selection tool. We like this profile but what we are going to do is repeat that pattern a couple of more times to create some details on our cell phone. Once selected, drag down to Copy and then drag down to Paste, you are going to superimpose the second one over the first one, then you'll go to the Scale button and move down. And you see how that pattern changes shape. Next we are going to do is divide the display area from the keypad by marking a line on the left side and the right side.
And again like last time having a starting point and a destination, press down on your tablet and drag a line all the way over to the destination. Next we are going to do is create some buttons. We are going to press down on the tablet, draw an oval shape, lift up. And we are going to repeat that button by marquee selecting it, lift up, Copy, Paste, move into position, and go ahead and Copy and Paste one more, while it's selected we are going to tap out, we are going to Marquee Select those three buttons, we're going to scale them down a little bit so that they fit a little more comfortably in that housing.
And while they are still selected we are going to go ahead and copy all three, paste them down, and paste down one more set, and one at the bottom. And if the buttons are all in the positions that you want, just go ahead and tap the X to deselect and you have a cell phone. Pen tablet sketching in SketchBook Pro requires some practice. Learning to trust your eye on the cursor and coordinating the movements of your pen on the tablet surface. I recommend using a downloadable background template found within the Autodesk design community under Help menu tab.
- Exploring the user interface lagoon
- Customizing brush settings
- Creating a texture brush
- Refining a sketch with blur, smear and sharpen tools
- Creating illustrations with layers
- Using the Symmetry tool to mirror drawings across the X or Y axis
- Using the ruler tool to draw and position precise straight lines
- Using the Ellipse tool to draw and position precise circles, ellipses, and curves.
- Saving projects
Skill Level Beginner
Q: The grid files the author uses in the course aren't included in the exercise files. Where can I find them?
A: The grid files are background template files that are provided with an Autodesk subscription, which comes with purchase of any Autodesk product, including Sketchbook Pro. To sign up for a subscription, visit http://subscription.autodesk.com and click Create an Account. You'll be prompted to enter your software license number, so make sure to have that handy.