Sketch: Affordable and Stylish Vector Drawing

When you think of drawing tools, you think of an Adobe product, right? You think of a really expensive piece of software that costs thousands of dollars. What if I was tell about a completely vector based program that is both feature packed and affordable.
Let me introduce you to Sketch from Bohemian Coding.

From the same one-man-team who developed Fontcase, Sketch is a vector based drawing program for designers and artists alike. Vector drawing means instead of pixels, everything is a mathematic piece of data. If you ever needed to enlarge the vector image, it wouldnʼt become pixelated, even at large sizes. Vector design programs are heavily preferred by designers for that unique quality.

We’ll take a closer look at how Sketch works after the break.

Getting Started

When you open Sketch, the first thing you will notice is the blank canvas. You can stretch or resize this as you wish, stretching it as far as your screen will allow. Everything you need is contained in that one window, making it easy have multiple other windows open while using Sketch.

Just like any drawing program, it organizes content via layers. Rearrange layers to reposition elements in front of or behind other elements. The insert button allows you to create a new layer based on the tool you select.

The brush tool gives you a free range to draw anything you would like with a customizable brush. For a more precise brush, the window at the bottom of the screen gives you options for making it smaller or larger.

For tracing around elements, or for even more precise drawings, you can select the vector tool and click to add points to the newly created vector shape. This is similar to the pen tool in Photoshop.

Once you create your amazing drawing, click the Inspector tool and begin selecting your fill colors. Instantly the selected shape will fill with the color you chose. You can also add an inner shadow and outer shadow to add depth to your drawings. Use the distort tool to fine-tune your masterpiece and get creative.

An example of the amazing work that can be created with Sketch, icon recreation by Adrian Kenney

An example of the amazing work that can be created with Sketch, icon recreation by Adrian Kenney

Feature Packed

Sketch comes with a huge number of features, while still remaining simple to use. Here are just a few amazing features that come with Sketch:

  • Transform tool
  • Join and split two shapes
  • Distort shapes and drawings with a wide selection of distortion tools
  • Multiple page support means you can work all in one file
  • Unlimited canvas is available to you by just resizing the window (no need to change any of your job settings)
  • Export your work to PDF, SVG, EPS, JPG, TIF, PNG, and GIF
  • Reads Sketch, DrawIt, and SVG files natively
  • Extensions allow for extending providing libraries

Drawing with Sketch

Sketch has a very intuitive user interface that makes designing fun. Just start drawing either with your mouse, or any supported drawing tablet. Once you have your sketches in, you can start shading, distorting, and transforming.

Sketch gives you a good proportion of the power and features expected in a professional application, without a high cost or difficult user interface. Within minutes of opening Sketch I was able to recognize what all the tools meant and did.

Another example of amazing work created in Sketch, this monkey was designed by Joel Drapper

Another example of amazing work created in Sketch, this monkey was designed by Joel Drapper

When you to leave the house, you can sync your Sketch document with SketchPad for the iPad. It offers a similar ability in a portable capacity and is a great way for taking your Sketch documents with you.

You can also open your Sketch documents in Bohemian Codings other application, DrawIt.

In Conclusion

Sketch packs a serious punch of amazing tools and features, while still remaining easy to use. Even if you had the latest and greatest Adobe Creative Suite 5, you still wouldnʼt get the amazing simplicity and speed of Sketch.

It wonʼt replace Adobe Illustrator in high end design studios, but it will make its way onto many home computers as their #1 tool for vector drawing. Bohemian Codings other application Fontcase won the Best Mac OS X Leopard Student Product in 2009, and if Apple holds these awards next year, Sketch could be the next winner.

Sketch is $40 for a limited time only, afterwards it will jump up to $55. Even if Sketch was $100, it would be $500 cheaper than Adobe’s vector editing program. Great for artists who donʼt need the high-end tools of Adobe Illustrator, but still require a fast and feature packed application.


From the same one-man-team who developed Fontcase, Sketch is a vector based drawing program for designers and artists alike. It packs an impressive punch, and is a worthy competitor to many more powerful vector apps.



Add Yours
  • I recently bought Sketch and it is a breath of fresh air – this from someone who has and struggles endlessly with Illustrator. It’s simple, does the job and doesn’t make me want to stamp on my MBP in frustration.

  • Looks pretty amazing. Adobe’s progress with illustrator has grinded to a halt a long time ago. I dare say the last 5 editions added almost nothing essential.
    Simplicity and ease of use are worth more than 10.000 collapsable panels that still don’t contain that one simple function you’re looking for.

  • I bought DrawIt (what seems like) eons ago and was highly impressed with the app, it sadly didn’t have a vector output though which was it’s main problem. I would have preferred a DrawIt update rather than a whole new app, but this looks pretty good :)

    They just need to start churning out the tutorials and show what can be done with this app and most importantly, how to do it.

  • I like the simplicity, but I’m finding it sluggish and it often freezes and crashes. It’s a great start though and I’ll be keeping my eye on it.

  • I like it too, but ive been using it for 3 days and it really needs some polishing. It has crashed like 5 times and with some actions it gets very slow

  • I use Illustrator @ my main job all day but at home for my personal small sign business sketch fits perfectly. No large cost and does just what I need. A little more straight forward than the open source option of Inkscape. The only upside to Inkscape is that it natively supports AI files.

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