SW2010 SP2.1 Sketch picture "mostly" works.
The trick I have found to get it to work is to start a new part, make a "Boss-Extrude" then create a sketch on the surface required at 1:1. While editing the sketch use Tools>Sketch Tools>Sketch Picture... and then "read" in the graphics file you want to use which needs to be a 'tif' at a high resolution with no compression. You will need to resize it and I have found the aspect ratio is never a match so you will need to un-tick the "Lock aspect ratio" to get the edges to match.
Sadly I can't get the picture to appear in a 3D PDF of the part and when the part gets nested in an assembly (i.e. the part is in an assembly which itself is in an assembly) the picture is not shown on screen, but that may be down to the graphics card.
Hope this helps
Hum...this is the first I've ever heard of this issue. Can you please outline more specific steps and or post an example file demonstrating this issue. The only thing I can think of is that you have a custom part template that has re-assigned the default planes to change the default X,Y,Z orientation.