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The Tools That I Use (Drawings)

Continuing from the previous Tools That I Use post, here’s what I’m using to generate the hand drawings in blog posts and case studies.

Wacom Cintiq with SketchBook Pro has been indispensable for high-resolution drawings I used in case studies. I’ve tried to import router symbols in SketchBook Pro and make them look like they would be hand-drawn, but my illustrating skills are almost non-existent.

Typical SketchBook Pro drawing

Typical SketchBook Pro drawing

SketchBook Pro is an overkill for low-resolution blog post drawings … and it forces me to sit down with my computer, so I prefer to draw all other diagrams on an iPad. My fingers are way too clumsy and fat (supposedly rock climbing helps to make them oversized), so I’m relying on Apple Pencil to get some reasonable precision.

Paper 53 was my favorite drawing program, particularly due to its interesting brush-resembling strokes, but they stopped enhancing it years ago (or so it seems), so I switched to Procreate.

Typical Paper 53 drawing

Typical Paper 53 drawing

Procreate allows me to import icons, duplicate them, place them onto a grid, use layers… close to ideal for what I need.

Typical Procreate drawing

Typical Procreate drawing

Getting the drawings from the iPad to the laptop where I do all my writing has been a royal pain (the best I could do was sending them via email). Situation got way better in recent years, with most drawing programs being able to save individual images directly to Dropbox … where they miraculously appear on my laptop ready to be published in a blog post.


  1. Have you tried the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1? I believe that its digitizer and stylus are licensed from Wacom. I use it for work to take notes, and sketch diagrams. Notes can be shared directly to Dropbox.
  2., for the win! Integrates with Google Drive. Has all the Cisco icons. Absolutely my fave.
  3. Check out Notability. It has a brush style similar to Paper and adds drawing features like doodle selection with copy/paste - so you can duplicate a router doodle over and over - and text boxes. It also syncs with the major cloud storage players.
    1. Thanks for the hint. Looks promising ;)
  4. Hi Ivan;

    Thanks for sharing the details. May I please ask you as to how you imported router symbols to sketchbook pro? Was it directly from visio stencils?

    1. I don't think I ever did that. If I'd want to do it for whatever reason I'd probably export them as PNG (so I'd get background transparency) from wherever and then import PNG files into Sketchbook.
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