Sketchbook as a Subscription (Or, Maybe I’m a Hypocrite)

Originally published at on September 25th, 2017.
Added to on October 31st, 2017.
Updated November 20th, 2017, to add that I’m back to using Ulysses, with a year-long subscription, despite my reluctance to go that route. I should also note that I managed to cancel my subscription to Sketchbook before it officially kicked in. Customer service from the former has been a better experience for me than from the latter, and that makes a difference, even when software decisions are muddied by the subscription model.

Last month, I wrote a post about abandoning Ulysses because it was becoming software-as-a-service, or SaaS. To be fair, I did point out, in that post, that Autodesk at least offered enticements when SketchBook switched over to the SaaS model.

A quote from that earlier post:

“I’m not a fan of the software as a service model (SaaS). I loved AutoDesk’s Sketchbook Pro. I still have Sketchbook Pro 6 installed on my Mac. But I didn’t, haven’t, and probably won’t ever sign up for the subscription version of Sketchbook.

“That said, Sketchbook at least offers regular brush downloads for the subscription version of their software.”

This is the part where I confess that just yesterday, I ponied up for a year’s worth of SketchBook SaaS.

I’d spent Tao only knows how long on Friday installing, testing, and (in some cases) uninstalling (while keeping the files) brush sets for the trial version of SketchBook SaaS.

I know! I know! All of those brushes don’t make up for enabling–encouraging, even–the SaaS model! I know it doesn’t!

I know that subscribing when SketchBook SaaS has at least one major issue1 won’t urge anyone to fix that issue, either.

But radial symmetry makes me fairly forgiving. SketchBook SaaS’s ability to handle larger files than SketchBook Pro 6 is a softening touch, too.

The deciding factor, though, was that I spent more time drawing during the 7-day trial on SketchBook’s SaaS version that I probably have in the past several months combined. All those brush sets, and the new tools, and the tutorials, and the expansiveness joined to make for a whole lot of inspiration. And that, to me was worth the $29.99/year.

So, yes, SaaS is bad.

It’s still bad, and will probably always be bad as a sole option.

You know, in general.

But it’s a teeny bit better than I thought it was in August.

1. Sometimes, PNGs save at 72 PPI, even though the image size is set to 300 PPI, and the same file saves to PSD at 300 PPI. At least according to the inspector in Preview. The PNG may be either 72 or 300 PPI according to The GIMP, and PNGs exported through The GIMP from the same PSD end up at 300 PPI, as verified by Preview. None of this matters if I’m sending the PNG to Inkscape for a bitmap trace before resizing in Affinity Designer, but sometimes, raster is the right call. This issue is confusing and frustrating, and, so long as it persists, SketchBook can’t be the only graphic app I use on anything that’s destined for print.

Imagine the paragraph above as an example of workflow!!!