New Drawing Tools

I've ventured into the world of digital drawing and I'm hooked. Here's why:

I always respected digital drawing as another tool to get across your concepts. However, to be honest, I thought the medium could only produce glossy crisp imagery which would be best for illustration, fan art, and photo realism. I prefer my work to show the human hand and to have the freedom to warp the proportions and colors. Lately, I've been paying attention to what artists have been doing with the medium and have been really impressed. The pieces don't look too glossy and digital. The medium DOES have the ability to render rougher more human pieces. So I got myself a stylus, downloaded the Procreate app and got busy experimenting. 

I'm completely hooked. Paper and pencil where my first loves and will always be in my regular rotation but this medium has a lot to love:

  • Cost effective: The app costs $6.00 and the stylus I've been using cost $15. I'm using the ipad I already had. Of course you could upgrade to an ipad pro and an apple pencil that would be somewhere around $800. That would provide some additional options but I'm getting along just fine with what I'm using.
  • Non-toxic: Yeah of course, so many art supplies are messy and toxic
  • Eco Friendly/Minimalist: After filling so many boxes of works on paper that I'm going to move into a storage unit tomorrow, it's nice to make work digitally. 
  • Digital....yes! Most of the sharing and selling I'm doing is online anyway. I can photograph or scan my works on paper but that takes extra time and effort. Then the colors aren't always true. With this what I see is what I send out into the world.
  • Easy video documentation: I can easily record both my face, audio, and the screen while creating a piece. Very easy for YouTube videos--watch out!

O.k. now onto the app itself. The app is easy to learn and very customizable, more so than I ever expected digital drawing to be. I'm still very new to this medium but here are some areas of customization that have helped me create drawings similar to what I've made on paper.

  • One of the first things I've been doing is customizing the palette of colors for each piece. You can name the palette and have it available for future pieces. In the first picture above you can see I selected a bunch of colors to use for the piece and labeled it "video demo 1".
  • The second thing I've been doing is creating and naming my layers. You can see in the picture below all the layers I used for this piece. A couple of note is background 2 and the grit layer. Both of them are very very subtle but they help break up the surface and add depth to the piece.
  • When working on a piece I've learned to customize my tools like crazy! In the picture below you can see some of the tools. When you click on the tool you have sooo many options to customize it!
  • I spend a lot of time adjusting the size and opacity of the tools using the sliders on the left. I also let previous marks show. I think this constant fluctuation in line weight really helps create a more natural effect. 

While I still have a lot to learn to create the works I want, I am super pleased with the medium. The reaction online has been similar to my other works. Thanks sktchy for picking my drawing!

Side note: Spencer told me, "Mom, I don't think you should use the ipad because people are going to think you traced and can't draw." I told him artists can trace in any 2D medium. I know artists who trace the images for their drawings and I even know painters who project their image onto canvas then paint. That's something the artist has to choose for themselves. I myself have never chosen to trace because I really enjoy measuring the details and then emphasizing the parts that are most captivating to me. Some artists don't want to bother with that and want to jump ahead to expressive marks and colors. Every artist needs to know their toolbox then decide when to use-or not use-the different tools in order to create their vision.