What is sketching?

Sketching is primarily a quick and rough drawing executed by freehand strokes to showcase an idea. The imagination of the artist or the designer is brought up before the eyes to view and analyze through multiple angles and dimensions. In the traditional way, sketching is performed by the application of a pencil or a drawing tool and a drawing paper.

Sketching is the primary and fundamental step of a designer on creating an idea of the product or solution he/she is working with. It gives the designer a better insight into the solution he/she has came out so far. Sketching is also a means of communication between a designer and an engineer to provide an explanation of how the product should perform in actual use.

With the present era of technology, the traditional way of use of pencil and paper has been replaced by several drawing apps or art apps. These drawing apps consists of numerous customizable drawing tools that a designer can use to create designs or simply perform sketching just like way a designer uses a pencil and a paper.

Different types of drawing apps

A drawing app is a computer application that creates a digital or a vector image upon the eyes of a user. The input can be either through a computer mouse or by using a digital pen-tab like XP pen. These drawing apps are well compatible with PCs running a Mac OS and Windows OS like Windows 10. These drawing apps are so programmed that it can also be easily executed on any mobile device.

This section introduces with some of popular drawing apps used by most of the designers and hobby artists world wide.

Adobe photoshop

Adobe photoshop is a raster graphics editor and creator. This computer software uses the concept of 'computer pixels' to create images. These software creates and saves images digitally. Photoshop is an important tool for designers, graphic designers, UI & UX designers, web developers, photographers, and even engineers which allows them to create professional-quality images. Photoshops allows users for image editing, creating image compositions, creating image effects, etc.

Autodesk sketchbook

Autodesk sketchbook is also a raster graphics drawing software, its use is majorly for expressive drawings. The software has a extensive use among artists and hobbyists as the software provides them with variety of drawing tools like pencils grades, brushes, pens and colors which are well suited for concept sketching, illustrations and representations.

Like Autodesk sketchbook users have a wide variety of choices for other art apps like Zen brush, Adobe Fresco, Tayasui, Astropad studio and procreate. These art apps transforms a PC or a tablet into a graphical environment to sketch and create images with easy-to-use drawing tools and user interfaces.

Autodesk sketchbook application window
CC BY-SA 3.0 | Image credits: https://commons.wikimedia.org | Autodesk
Adobe Fresco icon
CC BY-SA 4.0 | Image credits: https://commons.wikimedia.org | Adobe Inc

Adobe illustrator

Adobe illustrator is vector image processing software which lets users create and edit vector images. A vector image is an image which is created my mathematical formulas and through numerical computations. Illustrator is an industry standard software which is indented for developing representations using mathematical shapes, and lets an user provide effects, color and typography. Unlike photoshop which creates photo realistic images digitally, illustrator provides a clean and smooth finish to the art works due to creation of images mathematically. The software well supports mobile, pentab and tablet environment with multi-touch feature and has excellent tools like grid-based drawings and easy-to-use image cropping.

Drawing tools used in drawing apps

A perfect drawing app is characterized by the variety of drawing tools it provides, some of the most important drawing tools which are included in every drawing apps are outlined below.

Brush pallette

This tools provides the user with a variety of brushes for sketching, shading and coloring. The user can choose different brushes having multiple thicknesses and strokes to suite their applications. This feature is found in every drawing app weather it is free drawing software or a paid version.

Cropping tool

The cropping tool has the primary function to remove portions of an image so as to create a focus of the desired part. The process of cropping substracts the pixels which are not required keeping the desired pixels. Cropping is a non-destructive computation which allows user to retain the substracted pixels later when required.

Modify tools

Modification is the primary part of any drawing and sketching, by the modification tool image modifications such as rotation, magnification, translation, creating mirror images, wrapping, etc.

This modification tool becomes useful when the image has to be analyzed through multiple angles and modified image replica is needed form an existing image.

The erase tool

This is a destructive tool which is use to substract the unwanted strokes. The path traced out by a drawing tool can be undrawn by this tool. This tool is not suitable to negate the pixels computations which produces color.

Different uses of drawing software

There are plenty of uses of drawing software, some of its uses are summarized below:


Designs keeps on changing and upgrading. The primary responsibility for this task is to the designers employed in the automotive industries. The designers are provided with these drawing software which they use to conceptualize their design ideas. These ideas can be quickly captured in the software can be used for presentation and communication purposes. Automotive body aerodynamics, vehicle style, color wheel design, head lamp design all these can be easily performed with the help of these software.

Product design

Sketching is first step in the product lifecycle. Products designers make use of these software extensively to bring out their creative ideas about the particular product. The outer casing of any product is the first and primary thing which attracts consumers, and this need to be designed accordingly. This software allows the designers create multiple iteration to arrive at a particular design.

Mechanical and architectural designs

Drawing is the always the language in engineering domain including architectural illustrations. These software serves as quick tool for the mechanical engineers to create machine components views in its primary design stage. These software can be used to quick illustrate a particular machine component under various loading conditions, like drawing free body diagrams.

Architects use these software to develop different concepts in their building design. These software has varieties of geometrical shapes which an architect can use to create creative designs.

Context and Applications

This topic is extensively found in different undergraduate and post-graduate degree course of

  • Bachelors of Design
  • Masters of Design in Product design
  • Masters of Design in Industrial design
  • Bachelors of Architecture
  • Masters of Architecture in Interior design

Practice Problems

Q1) Which of the following is drawing tool found in drawing software?

a. crop tool

b. brush palette

c. pencil

d. all of these

Answer: Option d

Explanation: Important tools like crop tool, brush palette and pencil can be found in every drawing software.

Q2) Which of the following is a vector image editing and creating software?

a. Adobe illustrator

b. Adobe photoshop

c. Corel painter

d. none of these

Answer: Option a

Explanation: Adobe illustrator is a vector image editing and creating software.

Q3) Which of the following is raster image creating and editing software?

a. Adobe illustrator

b. Adobe Photoshop

c. Autodesk sketchbook

d. Zen brush

Answer: Option b

Explanation: Adobe photoshop is a raster image editing and creating software.

Q4) Which of the following tool is a non destructive pixel substracting tool?

a. crop tool

b. erasing tool

c. trim tool

d. all of these

Answer: Option a

Explanation: The crop tool removes parts of an image thus focusing the area of interest. It does so by substracting the unwanted pixels. These pixels are temporarily removed which can be retained back when needed.

Q5) Which of the following is an example of a device primarily used for sketching applications?

a. Zen brush

b. Computers

c. XP pen

d. Laptops

Answer: Option c

Explanation: XP pen is a pressure-sensitive derive that uses a stylus in the form of a pen and a pad which acts as the drawing area. This device is primarily used for sketching applications.

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