Creating a canvas

Learn about setting canvas size and orientation, including rotating orientation

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When you open Sketchbook for the first time, a canvas is already created for you. But, what if the canvas created is not the size you want? There are an assortment of tools for customizing your canvas. If you want some basic information on canvases, resolution‍ and size, check out What is a canvas.

How to set the canvas size

Are you looking for a way to change the size of your canvas? Do you have a project that requires a high-resolution image? If so, selecting a larger canvas will help. When creating a new canvas, go into the canvas options to do this. You will have two options, one contains a list of predefined canvas sizes and the other is for entering your own dimensions. If you need help finding these options, read this article.‍ 


Maximum canvas size

The maximum canvas resolution across all versions of Sketchbook is 100 megapixels. On mobile, you may be limited to how many layers you can add to a large canvas, which is based on the processing capability of your device.

Rotate canvas dimensions

When creating a canvas, there should be an option for rotating your canvas. Use it to set the orientation to either portrait or landscape.

In some versions, above the canvas orientation icon, you’ll see the size of your canvas in Mpx (Megapixels). 

Creating a canvas in Sketchbook Pro for desktop

Unlike the mobile versions, in Sketchbook Pro you don't need to set the orientation of your canvas during creation. This can be done at any time, using the Transform puck‍.

To create a new sketch, from the lagoon, select Files menu icon and flick toward New sketch icon. You could also use the following hotkeys: Cmd+N for Mac or Ctrl+N for Windows, or in the menu bar, select File > New

If you want to change the default canvas size, you can update that in Preferences‍.

Setting your saved default file format

Do you need your files saved as PSD, but they keep getting saved as a TIFF by default? You can change your default file type in Preferences.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • For Windows users, select Edit > Preferences, then tap the General tab.
    • For Mac users, select Sketchbook > Preferences, then tap the General tab.
  2. Tap the format you want to have as default.

  3. Tap OK.

Note that there are some features that will not be preserved‍ when Sketchbook files are saved to PSD.

Changing the default canvas size for new files

By default, the size of a new image is the size of the display.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • For Windows users, select Edit > Preferences, then tap the Canvas tab.
    • For Mac users, select Sketchbook > Preferences, then tap the Canvas tab.
  2. Then, select either of the following:

    • To specify a custom size, select Use width and height of window. Enter the width and height in the fields provided (choose from pixels, inches, cm, or mm).
    • To use the default display size again, select Use width and height of window.

Creating a canvas in Sketchbook for mobile devices

NOTE: in Sketchbook on mobile devices, it is not possible to resize a canvas after you have created it. So it is important to consider the canvas size you need for your piece at the time you start. If you plan to print your piece, see Setting the maximum canvas size for printing‍. 

In the toolbar, tap File icon in the Sketchbook mobile version and select New sketch iconNew Sketch to create a new canvas. The panel changes, displaying more options.

New Canvas presets 

  1. Enter a pixel dimension width and height. The options will start with your last-used dimensions.

    • If you don’t want to keep the current aspect ratio, tap the link icon in the center to unlock the aspect ratio

  2. If the previewed canvas is portrait, and you want it to be landscape, you can simply tap the rotate icon in the middle of the canvas preview.

  3. Note the image size will display in the upper right. Avoid making excessively large files as the bigger your data file gets, the more your device's storage and performance will be impacted.

    • On Android, tap on the information icon next to the file size to see what your total available number of layers will be for this canvas size

  4. Tap Create

Selecting a custom pre-defined canvas size

  1. Tap File icon in the Sketchbook mobile version, then New sketch icon
  2. Tap or swipe the menu to the right side tab, the tab will turn blue when active 

  3. Look through and select the option that best suits your needs.
  4. You can edit or deletea preset with the icons to the right. Tap the gear to change the Preset name or settings, tap the trash can to delete the preset. 
    • If you want the canvas presets restored to the defaults, you can do that in Preferences‍ 
  5. If you want to create your own preset, tap
    • The create new preset window will default the last canvas dimensions as a starting point, but you can choose your own dimensions and preset name.