Helpful Guide To Getting Started With Sketch

Kieron Keenan
Mar 12, 2016 · 4 min read

Since I decided to take the plunge last summer and dive into Bohemian Coding’s ‘Sketch’, I’ve come across some resources which have really helped me understand the application and speed up my workflow.

With not much spare time and project deadlines always around the corner, it can be really hard to jump into something completely new and figure it all out.

I thought I would share these resources with you, so that if you’re planning on making the switch to Sketch, it definitely will come in handy, and I hope will ease the transition.

My advice: Take a few hours to come to grips with Sketch, and to understand what its capabilities are. Then get designing — an app; website; illustration, or whatever you feel like designing.

Having a clear goal, as with any other project is essential. It’s important to understand why Sketch is so good to design with, rather then just opening the app and drawing a rectangle and playing with different strokes.

I’ll update the list as I continue to find other great resources. If your already designing with Sketch, you will probably be already familiar with some of these.

1. Video Tutorials

Check out LevelUpTuts on YouTube. Excellent run through of the application, so its a brilliant way to find out whats available to you in Sketch. I found it very useful in getting started with Sketch, and I definitely recommend watching it before starting your first sample project.

Click here to view LevelUpTuts Sketch tutorial series.

2. Switching from Photoshop Guide

Great post about switching from Photoshop to Sketch which may answer some questions you may have.

Click here to view the post.

3. Most Important Features

When I landed on the Sketch website, I just downloaded the application and jumped straight in without actually reading all of what was available to me. Kind of like buying something from IKEA and just banging it together without reading the instructions. Not a great approach.

Retrospectively, it would have been better to visit the Sketch website and go through each feature such as using multiple fills, multiple stokes, reusable elements/text styles. It gives you a great overview of what you can do with Sketch as a designer.

Click here to visit the website.

4. Illustrations

I found a great article on Medium by Pavithra Aravindan about designing illustrations with Sketch. Yes, this post is about Christmas icons, but I still think it still gives you a great run through designing illustrations from beginning to end.

Click here to view the post on Medium.

5. Keyboard Shortcuts

I love my keyboard shortcuts, so switching from the Adobe Suite to Sketch was a pain. So…. I just added my essential shortcuts to cut down on having to learn new ones. Probably bad practice but sure, it’ll be grand.

To add your own shortcuts go to “System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts -> App Shortcuts”.

Add Sketch as a new application and add the command you want to create a shortcut for.

Note that the Command must match the exact name of the command from menu.

So if you want to create a new shortcut for the “Move to Front” command, click the plus icon and type “Move to Front”. Keep the same type case and don’t add the parent category, “Arrange”.

Make sure you restart the application after you have added your shortcut.

6. Sketch Toolbox

A simple and brilliant plugin manager for Sketch. Be sure to download this before you start because at some point, you’ll probably have a question, and if Sketch can’t do what your task is right away, there is definitely a plugin that can help.

There are loads of different plugins available to download, such as adding real content and images, dynamic buttons, exporting to Framer for prototypes, alignment plugins, import/export colour palettes… and loads more.

Click here to download

7. Craft by InVision Labs

Excellent new plugin for designing with real data. Also download this before you get started designing.

Click here to visit the InVision website

8. Sketch Mirror

Essential application if you’re doing mobile or responsive design and you want to see what your design looks like on your device. There’s other apps out there that do something similar but I find Sketch Mirror works best for me.

It costs €4.99 and its totally worth it.

Click here to visit the app in the AppStore.

That’s about it.

These are just some things that have helped me in making the switch, and will also hopefully give you a jumpstart in making the transition to Sketch.

If you have any other recommendations or would like me to add something that has helped you, get it touch and I can update this list.


Design + Sketch

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