More Drawing Tool Options

Although I’m just getting started with TBS I really enjoy the program. The only thing that would make me happier is having one or two more types of drawing tools to choose from. For example, Illustrator has several brushes that create a bit more of a natural look. The variable-thickness brush line in Toon Boom is great, of course, but perhaps some kind of “grainy”-type slider could be added to the pen property options in addition to min/max line width and smoothness? Or is there some way to achieve this that I haven’t discovered yet?


why, you can create and edit your own additional brushes with a ‘+’ button (tab ‘pen’, properties window).

Hi, Ron-

I know what you mean. When Rob suggests you create your own pen, I will say that it’s one of the reasons I prefer Toon Boom to Flash–I can create a much more personal “pen line” with Toon Boom’s property options.

But, like you, I do wish we could get an actual “graphite” pencil line and a simulation of the kind of line I get with my Pelikan 120, flexible nib fountain pen when I’m drawing on Arches Cold Press watercolor paper. I guess as the vector drawing tools go, Toon Boom offers a good compromise, but it still has its limitations.

Toon Boom was the first animation software I ever used and it took a lot of practice to get comfortable with the vector line and using the Wacom tablet/stylus. I’m still not entirely at one with the tablet, but I’ve come pretty far.

If you’re interested in seeing an animation I whipped up to test out the Mac Version 3 when it first came out using the Wacom to get my loosey-goosey style vector line, go to the Toon Boom Showcase and click on Cartoon Animations. Mine is the second one down called “Monkeybone”. It’s simple, but I was pretty much pleased with the line quality. Considering.

You can compare that vector line with my hand-drawn pen line by going to my website and viewing my “Little Green Monkey” animation:

I created that animation using my Pelikan pen on watercolor paper. I scanned each image (frame) & assembled them into a QuickTime which I then edited in iMovie.

I have Adobe Illustrator, but I haven’t used it in a long time and never really did use it much. I’ll have to revisit it and check out the brushes to see what you are referring to.


PS: I created the animation “Sweet Dreams” using Macromedia Flash, also a vector program.

i’ve tested many 2d animation software packages, like: mirage, animation stand, linetester, ctp, the tab, pap, tbs, moho and flipbook, but as far as i can recall none of them had those pen features you meant (the richness and variety of the likes of photoshop or gimp).

anyway, tbs is an animation software and costs only a few hundred bucks…
with such pen features it would become almost an imaging software, too.
(a few filters then, who knows what else would be required?) :wink:


ok, i’ve checked once more. i was wrong. mirage has it.

We are coming out with a software that will do just that.

Can’t say much but stay tooned, it’s coming very soon!


Wow, that is a very intriguing teaser, Mathieu. Very soon, eh? I can’t wait for the announcement. I know you can’t say much right now, but maybe you can let us know if it is going to be expensive or somewhat in the same moderate price range as Toon Boom.

Having a program that would allow a more natural, fully expressive pen & brush line would be exactly what many of us have been hoping for.


Rob - the only parameters that can be adjusted when creating a new brush in the properties window are minimum and maximum line width and smoothness. There’s nothing for "texture."

However, if you click on the Color Palette tab in the Properties window, click on the icon to the right of “Name,” drop down to Color>Add Texture you are able to load a jpeg texure which you can use to paint or draw with. While I HAVE used this feature successfully to animate a drawing done in a textured line quality, it’s still not quite what I had in mind. It IS a very interesting option which I will explore further; you could, for example, load up a texture created in Painter and use it as your “pen” tool in Toon Boom.

Also, Moho does indeed have the capability, along with Illustrator, to use different brush styles/textures. While Illustrator allows you to see the results instantly, Moho requires you to draw your normal lines, then select a brush style, then render to see the results. (Mirage looks amazing and seems to be somewhere between Painter and Toon Boom and a LOT more expensive.)

Elwood - I’ve got a Pelikan 120 also, although I haven’t used it for years. Just for yucks, you should check out Illustrator’s brushes; you might find that you could create some interesting drawings with a different look that you could import into TBS as an alternative to scanning your ink drawings. Also, thanks for the links, I enjoyed your animations.

Although I earn my living as an artist/illistrator, I’m not an animator (yet.) In addition to drawing and painting on paper and canvas, I’ve worked regularly in Photoshop, Illustrator, and Painter. I love Toon Boom and I don’t mean to complain . . . I just wish there were at least one more crayon/pencil/chalk-type of tool option. I’m not asking for Painter, just one or two more options.

Mathieu - yes, intriguing indeed! I’m delighted to hear it and look forward to its unveiling.



Thanks for the tips. I really should get in there and mess around with my Illustrator CS–its icon just sits there waiting for me to click it. Trouble is, I have my assignments pestering me, I have a wife who demands at least some attention, an occasional social obligation and a Scottish Terrier who needs walking each and every day. When all that is done, very few hours remain for working on my animation project which envolves learning Adobe After Effects so that I can composite all my images, moving and still, into a cohesive whole.

But I’ll try. You have intrigued me.

By the way, I have learned to use Painter’s animation section. I’ve brought in live footage and painted on it and also imported some Toon Boom footage (as a QuickTime movie) and painted on that, frame by frame. Pretty cool results. Sure can make for a sore wrist, though, painting all those frames.

I see you don’t list a website. I’d love to see your work, both still and animated, so if you don’t mind listing it here or sending it to my e-mail address (in my profile), I’ll take a peek. You sound like you have more experience with a variety of animation software than I do, but no one except Seymour Chwast and Milton Glaser have been active in the illustration field than I. Well, maybe a few thousand others, but I am getting awfully long in the nib.

Not to make this too much longer, but you mention the Pelikan 120. They don’t make that model anymore and I’ve been using it for years. I had three of 'em. I gave one away and, finally after many, many hours of use, the barrel of one cracked. I was very concerned that the other trusty tool would fail, but all is well–it occurred to me to go to E-Bay. I found three new ones (the same original 120-one even from Germany!) for much less than most of the other current model Pelikan fountain pens now sell for. I had a batch of extra nibs, so I’m sure I’ll be long gone before they give up the ghost. Who knows, I may even one day shift over completely to the computer.

Thanks again,

Hi Guys,

Just to mention that the software will not be like Painter which as a very natural look and feel. It’s a line texture feature that is already part of harmony our high end software.

This is going to be a great feature for traditional artists since the import and vectorize feature will be much more advanced because of this technology. You won’t be limited to a clean vector lines but you will be able to also vectorize roughs and textured lines.

A trial will be available for every members to download so you will be able to try it for yourself. Elwood, I don’t have a pricing list yet but I know this is not going to be a Toon Boom Studio price range software. This software will be a complete animation package such as Toon Boom Studio but much more powerful. In fact, it will be for sure the most advanced 2D animation solution for the creative professionals on the market.

Ok, I already said to much!



I only have Illustrator 10 . . . for all I know, Illustrator CS or CS 2 has even more brush options to choose from.

As far as animation is concerned, as I mentioned before, I’m a newbie. I’m experimenting and learning, but I am most definitely a newbie. I’m trying out various demos and so far TBS is my favorite. It would just be nice to have the ability to draw with a more natural-looking pen line. I HAVE done a very simple bouncing ball in pastel in Painter and tried importing it to TBS, but the texture loses much of its character. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface, however, and will continue to try different things. I’m a kid in a candy store!

I do not have a web site, although I work for a Hallmark subsidiary that does. I am not the only artist, however, so it would be difficult to point out which illustrations are mine.

By the way . . . “I am getting awfully long in the nib” cracked me up! I’ll have to remember that one.