IG Process Videos – Jan 1, 2019

Here are a few progress doodle videos I posted on Instagram last week, in case you don’t follow me there.

These are all just quick color sketches. When I sit down to do these, I really have no idea what I’m going to do. I just start drawing or blocking in colors and whatever happens, happens. Sometimes I like the results, other times it stinks. But it’s an effective and fun way to practice getting fast at conceptualizing.

The thing about working professionally is that you can often get stuck working on something that only focuses on one aspect of art. If you don’t practice other things, you don’t grow. So, for example, if you’re doing a lot of coloring, your figure-drawing skills may fall to the wayside. Or if you draw a lot but don’t paint, your color sense may suffer.

The thing is, no matter how good someone is, I notice that they aren’t great at everything, which is fine because no one is great at everything. But in those limited areas at which you want to excel, you have to constantly practice and keep growing. It’s difficult to stand still. You tend to either move forward or backwards. And I don’t even mean moving backwards relative to others whose skills have exceeded your own (though that will happen as well). I’m saying you either use it or lose it. If you’re good and you lose it, you may regain that skill with practice, but it’s frustrating to have to go through the relearning process every time you ignore some aspect of your skill-set. So I figure if I keep practicing, at least I won’t lose it and hopefully I’m moving forward, even if it’s at a glacial pace. Maybe by the time I’m dead I’ll be really good at what I do.

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Progress Doodle #5 – Christmas Elf

Here’s a little Christmas doodle I did on Procreate a couple nights ago. I know I need to cultivate a habit of posting regularly and I think Procreate’s progress video feature is a great way to share the creative process, even if it’s just personal little doodles and stuff.

I notice when deciding what to sketch, I tend to default into character design of some sort. Characters (being persons, more or less) are, well, more personal than a still life, landscape, architecture, etc., and I think they’re more likely to grab people’s interest more so than things. Well, at least they grab my interest more.

The one thing about working at Plain Joe Studios is that I’m more aware of the importance of storytelling. And it’s not that I didn’t care about telling stories with my art, it’s more that I’ve always sort of told stories or at least implied them without really being aware that I was doing so. And I’m not suggesting that an image needs to tell a full-blown narrative, but that it’s something that the viewer can look at and imagine in their own mind a story to go with what they’re seeing, even if that simply means they want to know more about a character.

One of my favorite children’s book is “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick” by Chris Van Allsburg. The thing I enjoy about it is not really the illustrations, as good as they are. What Van Allsburg did is present single, stand-alone illustrations on each page accompanied by a small caption hinting of some further mystery, intended to pique the curiosity of the reader to want to know the whole story, or perhaps to create a story in their own mind. That book still captivates me when I go through it. but I digress…

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Three Reasons To Still Draw On Paper

I’m seriously considering getting a Cintiq 22HD Touch. Thus far, I’ve resisted going completely digital. Though I’ll digitally paint my final illustration using a Wacom tablet, I insist on beginning every piece of art on my drawing board using graphite & paper. I’ve had three basic reasons for continuing to draw on paper.

1. Original Art – When I’m finished with my project, I have some kind of tangible, original art to keep. I don’t know about anyone else, but I like having original art. Since I’ve gone to working digitally, I no longer have a completed painting to show for any of my work. I figure that drawing on paper allows me to have tangible concept sketches and finished drawings, if nothing else.

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2. Traditional Skills –Too many people have no grammar skills because they’ve become dependent on computer word processors to correct their mess. My fear is that if I become overly dependent on computers when going through the drawing process, it will make me less disciplined and/or lazy about maintaining good drawing skills.

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3. The Feel – Tablets currently cannot replicate the feel of traditional media. Sure, there are pen nibs for styli which attempt to add some grit to the feel, but the feel of traditional media comes from both the pencil and the different textures of paper. Add to that that there always seems to be a slight gap between the stylus tip and the drawn image under the glass screen, so that there’s still some kind of disconnect.

I realize each of these reasons given are entirely predicated on my own subjective preferences. Some people may not care about keeping an original piece of art. Others find the benefits of digital tools to outweigh any need for proficiency with traditional media tools. And still others are perfectly comfortable with the feel of drawing on a glass screen.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that drawing, scanning, printing, redrawing, scanning, and so on certainly slows down my work flow. There are also projects which mean so little to me that I don’t really care about keeping the original art. In all honesty, I suppose I can make the move to a Cintiq without compromising on reasons #1 & #2 by simply continuing to use traditional media on select projects, or when I’m drawing just for fun and have no need for the most efficient workflow. As for the feel of drawing on glass, I guess it’s something I’d have to get used to. In other words, though my reasons for still drawing on paper are important to me, there might be ways to mitigate the move to a Cintiq.

So how many of you are still drawing on paper and scanning? And if so, what are your reasons? Is the cost of a Cintiq the only thing preventing you from using one?