Although a lot of UX workflow and design tools have been released recently, Sketch is one of the most popular user interface and UX design tools out there and one of the main competitors to Adobe's own prototyping software, Adobe XD (see our round up of the 50 best Adobe XD tutorials here).
But to use Sketch effectively, you'll need to learn how to navigate your way through the program's many features. That's why we’ve found the best paid and free Sketch courses, so you can delve into Sketch without fuss.
What is Sketch?
Sketch is a powerful design tool for Mac (it requires Mac OS X 10.11+) entirely focused on hosting user interface design, websites and icons – design which is a fundamental part of any rebrand, campaign or product launch. With a digital first society, skills of a graphic and UX designer can overlap.
Most projects will involve creating an app, social media launch, website or icon – just read our interview with Possible's executive creative director Pablo Marques to get an idea of what to expect from a creative team working in digital strategy.
Sketch can be used to create brilliant digital designs, whether for mobile or desktop, and – as new resources and plugins are almost constantly produced (such as InVision's plugin allowing the ability to build lightweight mobile prototypes directly in Sketch) – is a great way to keep up with the industry and stay current. In Sketch you can create vectors, layers, text, pages and artboards, grids and Bitmap editing. Exporting your design can be done with built-in exporting tools and you can check to make sure everything works with a real-time preview on your device.
Sketch is popular, but it’s not as established (or expensive) as Photoshop, which has a lifetime’s worth of official and – largely – unofficial reading material (see our round up of the 86 Best Photoshop tutorials online). We’ve scoured the web to help you tackle one of the most popular UX design tools around.
How to buy Sketch?
To use Sketch, download the free trial or buy for £91.98/US$99 (which includes one year of free updates).
Sketch 3 is often the version you'll hear of, but that's only because that's the last major release Sketch offered before switching over to a pay-per-year license model in 2016. Since then, updates are included for free and an ongoing basis. So the version of Sketch you get now is technically Sketch 5.2. Click here to get the latest version of Sketch.
There are also discounts for students and academic institutions, so make sure to check out the options if this applies to you. Students and teachers can get 50% off and institutions can start for free. Sign up for student and educational discounts here.
If you want to learn how to apply your newly found Sketch knowledge with the user in mind, check out the 11 best UX design courses.
Whether you’re a confident old-timer or a timid beginner, want to sharpen already existing skills or create totally new ones, we’ve got the tutorial, course or website best for you to learn Sketch.
Paid online courses
Lynda.com is a popular website, brimming with videos and courses to learn skills across business, software, technology and the creative industries. Learn Sketch: The Basics – aimed at designers of all skill level – is a great place to start if you want to learn Sketch and covers everything from logos to wireframes, logos to mockups.
Lynda.com subscriptions start at £12.95 per month, with Premium costing £18.95. If you're in the US, the monthly subscription starts at £19.99, and Premium starts at $29.99. There is also a 30-day free trial.
Treehouse is a leading online learning platform for technology. Unsurprisingly, then, its Sketch Basics course is one of the best – probably partly because it was created with the help of the official Sketch team. Though it focuses on the basics, it touches on the more advanced features of Sketch too – so perfect for old-hands who want a reminder and beginners who want to stretch themselves.
Subscriptions start at around £20/US$25 per month. There is also a 7-day free trial.
With over 40,000 courses and over a million students, Udemy is a pay-per-course website you’ve probably heard of. It has courses on pretty much anything, including plenty on Sketch.
The best Sketch courses it offers include Mobile App Design In Sketch 3: UX and UI Design From Scratch, which – at the time of writing – more than 25,400 students have enrolled in, and give consistently great reviews, naming the course as a wonderful introduction to Sketch 3. You can enroll for £29.99/US$29.99, though the price can go as low as £9.99/$9.99 during Udemy's frequent site-wide sales. Click here to see current pricing.
Another brilliant course is Sketch 3 from A to Z: Become an App Designer, which is another great course aimed at beginners. It usually costs £74.99/$74.99 but again, can be found for as low as £9.99/$9.99 during Udemy's site-wide sales. Click here to see current pricing.
Udemy is a pay-per-course site.
Pluralsight is sleek, smooth and has a smaller selection of high-quality courses that isn’t overwhelming in quantity. Introduction to Sketch by freelance illustrator Jay Boucher is a really easy way to learn the basics of Sketch, as it uses a real, concrete example, which you can follow along with. As well as video, students can use hands-on exercises as they follow the tutorial.
Subscriptions start at US$29 (around £22.38) per month. There is also a 10-day free trial.
TutsPlus, now called EnvatoTuts+, is a cheaper alternative to the giant, online learning houses we’ve seen so far. In terms of the sheer number of materials on offer, with over 20,750 videos, tutorials or inspirational content, TutsPlus has few rivals beyond Udemy. With the cheapness, though, comes not as tip-top customer support – and none of the assignments or tests seen in other online courses.
You can check out all the TutsPlus Sketch tutorials, but our favourite is Sketch App for Beginners: Envato at Pause Fest. Though it's only one hour long, sometimes less is more (as UX designers should know), and it serves as a really great overview to the Mac app. Practical UI Design with Sketch is also a great way to cover workflow and UI. Though it’s fast-paced, you can pause and rewind.
Subscriptions start at £21/US$29 per month. There is also a 14-day free trial.
If you're short on time, QuickStart's Sketch 3 Mobile App Design course condenses what you need to know about Sketch 3 in just an hour and half. The course spans 17 lectures that build a foundation in effective UX design and Sketch's tools. You also learn through the practical application of creating a mock-up Facebook app.
Easy and not too time-consuming, SketchCasts are a series of weekly video tutorials on web and mobile design, new plugins and more in-depth topics such as colours – and it's all to do with Sketch. It really is a gem. But a cheap gem – even better. Subscriptions even come with a private Slack Team so you can chat, ask all the questions you want and make some pretty great contacts.
Free online courses
Learn Sketch has dedicated its whole existence, including its name, to helping you learn Sketch. For free. And it really is worth checking out, whether you want to manage tonnes of layers, bring flat icons to life, or simply find out what the hell Sketch is. Though it’s tutorials come in the form of suspicious-looking YouTube tutorials (we’ve seen those overly long, painfully slow, pointless videos too), don't be put off: LearnSketch tutorials come from Sketch professionals and are endorsed by Bohemian Coding.
You’re not going to become a Sketch master through LearnSketch.com, but it’s a great way to get to grips with the areas you find tricky, get some freebies and be privy to some cool tricks and tips. Its resources are also constantly growing, so it’s worth checking back for more goodies every now and then.
Sketch App Sources
Sketch App Sources has masses of Sketch tutorials and tips, plugins and articles. Stand out examples include 10 Sketch Tips, which is a quick read that uses visuals really well to explain its ideas, and Get Started in 5 Minutes. Literally 5 minutes. The tutorial wastes no time at all. Sketch App Sources isn’t where you want to learn the entirety of Sketch, but it’s a great place to check for quick tips or if you have a specific problem.
Yup, Sketch is a great place to learn Sketch - from short video tutorials and articles, to downloads and community sport. It also includes a list of longer third-party courses, such as Creating Graphics with Sketch: Learn by Video and Level Up Tuts.