I had a problem to go Digital for my #sketchnotes.

Thanks to the help of Sachac, I made the switch , when looking at a video of how she was using Sketchbook Pro.

The main pain points for me were :

  • The interface was too much in the way ( much more than a a pen and a moleskine ) ( as I do not know how to sketch , I need not a lot to side track me)
  • My digital sketch were far too big on the screen i.e. not I could not put enough stuff on a A4 ( less than on my A5 moleskine) . Zooming in and out was getting me lost.

The solution to this last point was to add a grid on a layer , which gave me a sense of the scale at a given point. Plus I added another Layer for the framework, where zones can be pre alloted, and which helps getting bearings when zooming and moving around.

grid1 1024x811 Digital Sketchnotes: going over my painpoints with Sketchbook Pro and ArtRage 4.

this layer could easily be dimmed when working, and removed when publishing.

I could then work at a much higher zoom level, which is easier when using a wacom tablet ( i.e. not a tablet PC / touch screen) , for a beginner like me.

gridzoom 1024x790 Digital Sketchnotes: going over my painpoints with Sketchbook Pro and ArtRage 4.

The other problem was too much interface fiddling when you have to sketchnote real time in a meeting or conference. I master the “interface” of my two pens and moleskin for about 50 years now, this was going to be a tough challenge to make it as fluent.

I looked at the two contenders on the market, i.e. SketchbookPro and ArtRage.
I fiddled with SketchbookPro for about 2 weeks, and this is quite good.
However , I settled for ArtRage 4, mainly for one reason : The “Workbench Mode”. And on a minor mode, the references.

The Workbench is a (new) minimalist interface , where everything disappears , except the few things you want to keep at hand. And So, I prepared 4 “Pens”, one black to write, one orange to doodle icons and mini sketch, One Large BoardMarker for Titles, and one airbrush for light shadow. Colors can be pre-assigned, this is a big plus for me, no more other fiddling than changing the “pens” with one click during action time.

In the following, here is the “normal” interface :

artrage2 1024x640 Digital Sketchnotes: going over my painpoints with Sketchbook Pro and ArtRage 4.

the same in Workbench mode: all is gone but my selection of pens.
Workbench 1024x640 Digital Sketchnotes: going over my painpoints with Sketchbook Pro and ArtRage 4.

less distraction, and the choices made at preparation time could simply just be used.

I also quite like the possibility to have “post -it ” like reference at hand ( even on the Workbench if desired):

[2] is a overall view of the drawing,
[3] is a reference picture , here a snapshot of Sachac sketchnote that I was copying.

artrage 1024x640 Digital Sketchnotes: going over my painpoints with Sketchbook Pro and ArtRage 4.

Lets see in the following weeks if I can confirm this intuition of going digital, IRL icon smile Digital Sketchnotes: going over my painpoints with Sketchbook Pro and ArtRage 4.

Edit : I indeed went digital, but I not with ArtRage but reverted to SketchBook pro, because the move action of Artrage is definitively too much in the way, as documented by SachaC in [3]

Related Post:

  • http://sachachua.com/blog/2012/12/my-digital-sketchnoting-workflow/comment-page-1/#comment-618891
  • the grid , psd valide for sketchbook or art rage
    [3] :
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