Which Adobe program is best for drawing

Draw and sketch on the go with Adobe Draw and Sketch

Many creative minds still consider pen and paper to be the fastest and most natural way to capture ideas. For many, the pencil sketch is an indispensable part of the first steps in design work. However, the classic tools have disadvantages: For example, errors cannot be erased indefinitely. There are often not different colors or drawing tools such as brushes available on the go and it is often necessary to start all over again later on the computer.

The digital world has more to offer here. Adobe took up this idea two years ago and introduced the two apps Photoshop Sketch and Illustrator Draw. Photoshop Sketch is the digital sketchpad for pixel-oriented drawings and sketches. Illustrator Draw is similar, only for scalable vector drawings.

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Which app for which purpose?

Should it be better to draw with vectors or with pixels, so with Illustrator Draw or Photoshop Sketch? It's not just a question of drawing itself, as the two techniques feel different. But above all a question of the desired look of the final work. Similar to deciding whether a design is better implemented in Photoshop or Illustrator.

In any case, vectors are smooth in the curve display and have many advantages, such as the later possibility of editing curves and fills in Illustrator. Pixels tend to give a photo-realistic look and are also better suited for pencil sketch-like works. If you are not sure: Check out some examples under "Discover" in both apps. Then decide which style you have in mind for your design.

Draw with pencils, pens, markers, erasers, thick acrylic pens, ink brushes, soft pastel pencils, and watercolor brushes to create graphics that can be sent as PSD files to Adobe Photoshop CC or Adobe Illustrator CC for further editing.

Draw with brushes, paints and layers

Whether you draw with vectors or pixels does not initially matter in terms of the operation of the two apps Sketch and Draw: Sketch and Draw are fundamentally very similar. After downloading it from the App Store, you'll need to sign in to both apps with an Adobe ID. Creative Cloud subscribers use the existing subscription to later be able to transfer the drawings to the desktop more easily. If you are new, you can create your Adobe ID free of charge.

After logging in, you land in Sketch and Draw in the project overview. A project can consist of several drawings. By tapping it, you can enlarge the drawings and then return to the overview. Use the plus sign in the lower right corner to start a new drawing (or open a project and then tap the plus sign to insert a drawing here).

When creating a new document, the apps show a list of templates with common document sizes - for example for popular screen sizes or print products such as comics or postcards.

There are six brush tips on the left. When you tap it, the active brush will be highlighted with a blue stroke. You can already deduce from the brush display what the subsequent line will look like. For example, at the very top of Sketch you can find a classic pencil. Try different pressure levels with it - and hatch shades of gray with the Apple Pencil held at an angle.

The right drawing hardware

How well you can draw on the iPhone and iPad also depends heavily on the hardware you use. Basically, Sketch and Draw run on the iPhone and iPad, but the iPad, with its larger screen, offers more space for sweeping brushstrokes. The large iPad Pro is definitely the best choice for drawing. You can theoretically draw with your finger on the touchscreen, but an input pen is more than recommended here - actually a must for all more demanding sketches and designs.

Adobe originally even presented drawing tools specially developed for the drawing apps. Ink & Slide are a digital pen and a ruler that not only make pressure-sensitive drawing possible on older iPad models, which, like the iPad Pro, cannot draw pressure-sensitive with the Apple Pencil. Ink can transmit 2048 pressure levels with Bluetooth and a special, pressure-sensitive tip and is currently available for around 30 euros. However, Ink & Slide is no longer compatible with the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Pro, so a topic for owners of an iPad Air or iPad 3 and 4, for example.

iPad Pro owners are best off investing in an Apple Pencil that allows drawing apps to show their full potential. Sensitive brushes or pencil strokes can be implemented. Holding the pen at an angle for hatching also works great.

Tap a brush to edit its settings. Here you can change the size, opacity, color and its behavior. At the top of the box you can try out the pen before scribbling in your drawing. With "Reset brush" you return to the basic setting.

In Sketch you will find a few brushes such as the watercolor brush, which initially reacts like wet paint after application, for example, can be mixed well or still flows on the paper. By tapping the wind wheel below, you can virtually dry the paint that has been applied to the whole picture so far.

The simulated acrylic paints are a highlight of the new version of Sketch. Until now, such functions were reserved for drawing programs. The colors are applied here with a structure and work very well covering (depending on the setting). With the new brush, complete oil paintings can be simulated - and mixed with other techniques.

The eraser, which you can find at the bottom as a brush, is very important and always in use. You can control its behavior just like other brushes and use it as a semi-opaque material to weaken instead of completely erasing it.

Use the icons on the right to manage layers in Sketch. Here you can use the plus sign to create new sketch layers (for drawing) or image layers (for inserting photos). With different blend modes and the opacity, many effects can be achieved - similar to what you know from Photoshop.

In between, in order to view your work without the tool palettes and to draw undisturbed on the entire screen, you can tap the two arrows in the top left for the full-screen view.

Send drawings to the Mac

It is particularly practical how easy it is to send drawings to the Photoshop and Illustrator desktop programs. There you can continue to edit the works with the complete range of functions, which means that there are many more options than just the mobile apps.

In Photoshop Sketch or Illustrator Draw, tap the Share button in the upper left corner. Select “Adobe Desktop Applications” in the menu and then the desired target program. By the way, you can also send Illustrator Draw drawings to Photoshop CC and Photoshop Sketch drawings to Illustrator CC - so it doesn't always have to be the equivalent. Use the following rule of thumb: Illustrator is the best choice for logos and illustrations, and Photoshop is better for designs with a photo look. Once sent, a confirmation will appear and the drawing will be sent to the desktop via Creative Cloud.

Then the corresponding target program opens automatically on a desktop Mac (or MacBook) on which you are logged in with the same Adobe ID and loads your drawing. In Illustrator, for example, the vectors can then be marked and edited with the path tools. That was another point of criticism in the first version of Draw, in which the drawings ended up as pixel graphics in Illustrator. Now you get fully editable vectors. You can also find the colors used in the Creative Cloud Library.

For drawings that you send to Photoshop, the larger pixel graphics take longer to transmit than for vectors. Layers and blend modes are preserved in Photoshop.

Use gesture control

Gesture control is one reason why Sketch and Draw can be used to draw so fluently and intuitively. Here are the most important gestures at a glance:

Zoom: You can zoom in and out on the drawing by pulling two fingers apart and together.

Move the work surface: To move the work surface further in a larger view, hold with two fingers and drag in the desired direction.

Undo / redo: Swipe left with two fingers to undo (the action is always confirmed by a briefly displayed icon in the top left). To the right, the last step is restored. Both are very useful when drawing. In this way, the last five to ten brushstrokes can be quickly removed without stress - or vice versa, conjured up again on the canvas.

Fill the form: In Draw, you can long tap a shape (for example a rectangle) to fill it with the currently selected brush color.

Absorb color: Tap a brush, then tap the circle that you use to set the color. Hold down and drag the pipette that appears over the work surface. This allows you to pick up a color from any pixel in the drawing.

All gestures: There are other gestures in the two apps. If you want to use more or have forgotten one or the other gesture in between, tap on the gear wheel for settings and then "Show all gestures".

Use Photoshop brushes in Sketch

The biggest innovation in Sketch since the app was launched came at the Adobe MAX conference last November: Now you can use your brushes created in Photoshop in Sketch on the go. To do this, you simply save all of the Photoshop brushes in a Creative Cloud library. This happens automatically when saving Photoshop documents with fancy brush tips. In Sketch, you can then long press a brush tip. This opens the brush window. At the top you will find “App Brushes” and next to it a list for your own brushes. Choose Change Library to access your Creative Cloud Library folders and brushes stored in them. As before, it is still possible to use the Adobe Capture app to create brushes on the go, for example from photos taken with the iPhone, and to use them in Sketch.

Create vector graphics with image and character layers that you can send to Adobe Illustrator CC or as a reduced image to Photoshop CC for finalization, easily on the iPhone or iPad.

Basic shapes and rulers

Both apps have virtual rulers on board for drawing lines, circles and other basic shapes. Tap the triangle and circle icon at the top to bring it up. This allows you to fade in simple shapes or curve lines and draw them along the dashed lines. When you no longer need the ruler, all you have to do is tap on the closing field.