A reference window or secondary window in Clip Studio Paint is very easy to use. This way you can split screen your work! You’re able to either use a reference image or preview the overall changes you’re making in your current drawing in real-time.
If you draw using reference images, which I always recommend, especially if you’re drawing something new, this is a very useful feature to use. You can open any image and have it to the side of your screen so you can view at any time.
So how can you use a Reference Window in Clip Studio Paint? Simply go to ‘Window -> Subview’ and a new tab will open to the right side of your screen. In here you can import any image you want and use it for reference!
You can even pick colors to form these images if you need to. Alternatively, you can also open a new window, that will display your art, so you can see it fully more easily! I’m going to go over all of this and explain step-by-step how to use these features in this article. From now on, using reference images will become much easier for you!
Table Of Contents
Why You Should Use a Reference Window In Clip Studio Paint
It is extremely helpful to use references and a lot of artists like to have reference images on their screen when working. This doesn’t apply only if you’re drawing fanart from a game, movie or series you like.
No, drawing from reference is important at any time.
And if you’re looking for great free pose reference websites, you can find them right here!
This is how you learn to draw anything in life. Even if you’re drawing something made up, like a magical creature, something from your own imagination, that creature has its roots on something that already exists. And for that reason, you might find it helpful to find images that will aid you in creating your new creature or monster.
We are all inspired by something. Be it by real life or other art and works! So I really recommend using reference images at all times. Especially when you’re learning to draw something new.
If you’re drawing using an image for reference in Clip Studio Paint, there is a very easy way to be able to see and even edit that image! Before knowing about this, I’d actually open a new document with the image I wanted to use as a reference.
Then I would move the window to one side, resize it and look at it from time to time. I’ll be honest though, I didn’t like how that worked. I always felt like that document was in my way.
Thankfully, Clip Studio can actually open reference images in a way that won’t bother your work! Simply go to ‘Window -> Subview’. Notice that to the right of your screen a new window will appear. Where it usually shows the Navigator window, it will change to the subview one.
There is also another way to get to the subview tab. Clip Studio usually has the Navigator window opened as default. If you didn’t customize your workplace, then you’ll probably have, from top to bottom, several windows like History, Navigator, Layer Property and Layer.
Go to the Navigator window and press the second tab. You’ve now opened the Subview window. Now when you open Subview, it will probably show up empty. You need to open a reference image!
Importing An Image Into Your Sub View Reference Window
To import the reference image you want to use, simply select the small folder icon on the bottom of the window. When you do, just go to the folder where you saved your image and open it up. Your reference image should now appear on the subview window!
Now, this might look a bit small for you. If you’re using the image as a reference, chances are you want to be able to see it properly, so you can understand how to draw that object or subject.
The first thing you can do is to edit how big the window is. If you move your mouse to the extremities of the subview tab, an arrow will appear. While that arrow shows, you can scale the window as you wish.
This will change the view of your workspace, so be sure to set it in a way that feels comfortable when drawing. You might’ve noticed though that the subview window has quite a lot of icons and buttons going on.
Explore all the options you have here so you know how each work and how you want to see your image. But simply put, you can zoom your image in and out. This can be helpful to see better some details of it, for example!
You can also rotate the image you’re using as reference, as well as flip it both horizontal and vertically.
Notice the arrow icons right to the left of the folder icon? You can actually have more than one reference image! Only one image will appear at a time, but by using the arrows you can change from image to image, depending on what you need at the moment.
This is very useful if you need to draw more than one subject or object and need reference images for both. It is also really helpful if you’re using the Subview Window to pick up colors from other images or palettes for your drawings!
Using The Sub View Window As A Color Palette
Let’s say you’re doing fanart of a game or movie you like. Surely it will be useful for you to not only be able to see the character you’re drawing as reference, but to also pick their colors to use on your work!
Alternatively, let’s say you want to draw a summer landscape, full of golden tones or you just happened to find a really nice palette and want to use it. When I just want to practice a bit with color or just don’t know which colors to use in a recent work I have, I really like to go to coolors.co!
This website will generate random palettes for you to use. Simply click the ‘Generate’ button until you find one palette that you really like and want to use. This kind of website is very useful for when you’re just unsure which colors you should use in your work but also learn better how to use colors in a balanced and interesting way! You can level up your artwork by reading this article I wrote on Color Theory right here.
Once you find a palette or an image that has colors you want to use, just open it in the Subview window, just like I showed above.
When you open an image on the Subview window, you might notice that the color picker tool is automatically set. Just hover it above the image and click to pick a color. Now the color is selected and you can paint on your canvas!
Easy as pie! I don’t know about you, but until I learned about the subview window, I would open a new file with the image and then move from canvas to canvas, picking a color, then painting it in a new layer on the file I was using. And so on and so forth.
It takes so long to do this and it’s quite counter-productive. Instead, you can just open a palette in your subview reference window and pick the color you need, whenever you want.
If you want to move the reference image, just click on the color picker icon and now a small hand should appear when you hover the image. It is now safe to move it around. If you need to pick colors again, just activate the color picker again!
Alternatively, Use A New Window To See Your Current Artwork
A lot of artists like to have a secondary window to show the whole drawing they’re working on. As you draw, most of the times, your work will be zoomed in, so you can draw the details more easily.
While doing so, you can’t see the whole picture. Of course, you can always zoom in and out so you can see your drawing from afar and then continue working. If you do prefer to have a secondary window, with the whole work, simply go to ‘Window -> Canvas -> New Window’.
This will open a new window in Clip Studio. If you want you can drag that new window to the side and resize it to your liking, so you can look at it at all times. While you work on the original canvas, the new window will always be updating, so you can have a faithful viewing of your work.
Now you can draw zoomed in comfortably and you’ll be able to see the full view of your work in real time and anytime!
This is especially good if you’re working with vector layers and are planning on resizing your artwork eventually.
Note: If you don’t have Clip Studio Paint or are looking to upgrade, here’s a link to Clip Studio Paint’s Website!
Patricia Caldeira is the main writer here at Don Corgi. She's an art teacher with over 20.000 happy students across many platforms and courses!
Enjoy your stay and as always:
Keep on drawing!