I’m back to bore you to death with more effusive praise for the Galaxy Note tablet in combination with my favourite sketching app – Autodesk Sketchbook Pro (tablet version in this instance).

I’m not going to lie, the resolution on the Note really could be better, and trying to draw with Samsung’s apps will leave most people, myself included, completely cold. Although I do find S Note very handy for doodling in meetings and taking general notes. That said, there really isn’t a great deal wrong with 1280×800 on a 10.1″ screen, particularly for sketching and painting. After all, the Cintiq 24HD is 1920×1200 and it’s an order of magnitude larger in physical size…. well 14 inches.

I’m reliably informed by most men that’s Pretty. Damn. Big.

So what I plan to try and do is, when I get the time, post a few WIP pieces I’m doing on the Note in Sketchbook Pro.

First pencils

Using the pencil tool

The image above shows the work in progress. I’m using a 1280×800 canvas, but you can go pretty much as big as you like with the custom canvas size, but the amount of layers available drops in tandem with the resolution increase. At 1920×1200 I can have 10 layers, all of which can be set to a colour blend mode (normal/add/multiply/screen) and varying opacity. For this image though I decided to stick with 1280×800 as I wasn’t fussed about exporting to the desktop, that allows me 18 layers which is more than enough. The image is pretty clean as I had a crappy sketch I worked over the top of, and no I don’t want to show you that.

Sketchbook Pro WIP

Zoomed out to 100%

The whole image zoomed out looks pretty crisp onscreen and – as I have no doubt banged on about before – SBP for both this and the desktop has a wonderful rendering engine that is streets ahead of software that costs 6-7 times more. The UI on the current version works well, isn’t laggy and also allows for you to create and save custom brushes onto the ‘wheel’ and save custom colours into the right-hand side palette. One of the strongest plus points about using SBP on the Note is Pen Mode. This setting allows you to turn off all touches for painting, which means a complete and utterly perfect palm resist option. You can rest your hand comfortably on the screen and it never picks up any accidental brush strokes.

Sketchbook Pro on Android

Adjusting the brush

Above is the brush palette, I can either adjust size and opacity in there, or I can do it on the fly with the central puck while I’m drawing/painting. You can also adjust a bunch of other settings as well such as jitter and spacing, see below:

Brush Settings Sketchbook Pro for Android

Brush settings

The above is pretty crucial for me, as I have a certain set of ‘brushes’ I always use, and I can reproduce them perfectly in the Android version of the app. Below, again is a zoomed out view at 100% resolution. The background is bobbins at the moment, I just need a darker colour in there for now so I can get the skin tones and lighting right on the character. There’s still a fair bit to do with it, and I’m not sure if I’ll finish it yet. It depends on my attention span.

Galaxy Note - Sketchbook Pro

…and lastly a close up on the character with the UI in view:

Sketchbook Pro closeup

Ignore the background, it’s grim!

Also, worth a mention. On the Note tablet, because it’s an Android device I can just plug it into my PC and retrieve files without having to jump through hoops uploading things to ‘the cloud’ or Dropbox, or jail breaking or any of that malarky. I just plug it in, open it up and pull the files from the Autodesk folder. As the files are saved as layered tiffs I can open them up in Sketchbook Pro desktop and just carrying on working on them, no pissing about required. If I really wanted to, I could export as a psd to Dropbox or email. Whatever takes my fancy.

I do have a retina iPad, and have Procreate installed on it. Procreate is a lovely programme but I’ll be damned if I’m going to fork out for a bluetooth pen for £100 or thereabouts, just so I can use it properly when there’s already a device that does everything I need without having to purchase peripherals. I’ve tried using the Wacom Bamboo pen with it, and I just can’t work with something that feels like a crayola in my hand. Also, another downside is that I didn’t find the Bamboo very durable. Despite hardly using it, the tip needed replacing after only a couple of months. I’ve used the S-Pen a hell of a lot more and it’s still going strong.

The Cons? Only one really…. Samsung you really need to up the ante on the screen resolution. The Note 2 phone (which I also have) packs the same amount of pixels into a screen half the size and it is a thing of beauty…

Update: Apologies to Ellie, who commented below for a) Not replying very quickly and also b) deleting the comment in error. So I have re-posted both comments. D’oh! :O

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