Friday, November 14, 2014
Is Digital Art Right for You?
Hello fellow creators. In this post I am going to go over some of the things current traditional artist may be wondering if they are planning on making the jump to digital. Things like what tablet and why, what software, and other pros and cons to the change. So lets get started.
I made the jump to digital about 5 years ago now. I love drawing comics and I wanted to produce my work quicker. I could draw a full penciled page with lots of detail in about a day. Another day to ink it and another half day to color. That is with no breaks and no distractions. I know, not very fast. So good luck producing a book every month. Mix running a business, providing for a family, taking care of a home, etc. I cannot sit around and produce my comic with that time frame. So when digital began getting more and more popular, I started paying attention.
The other thing that guided me to make the switch was the opportunity to be a Storyboard artist came about. Art buddies of mine were doing it and were happy with their work. I was content with my business but something was missing. My love for creating art and stories was not fully being used. Yes, I do get to create signs and graphics for my clients, which is nice. But, I am a scribbler, an imaginere, a day dreamer. I want to draw stories so Storyboards were a heck of a lot closer to my dream job. And guess what? Almost all Storyboards are digital now. The workflow is much faster and for that line of work, it is pretty much a must. Deadlines are extreme and the ability to make changes on the fly is essential.
So that was enough for me. I got started. My first tablet was an Intuos 3 small and I felt like I just broke my left hand and now had to draw with my right. It was a bit humbling to say the least. But I am a hard worker before I am anything else, so I got to it! My first major break through was realizing that you have a setting called forced proportions in the tablet properties. Meaning, the scale to the tablet must match the screen or you are just throwing time out the window. Once I changed that, it felt a bit more natural. Then the next step was realizing that with my drawing techniques I had become reliant on being able to turn my page. When I first went digital none of the softwares had this feature. So I struggled to get past that. I would draw basic shapes every day for a few hours to get a more natural feel to the device. After about 2 months of pain and suffering, it started to feel more natural. Then I found Manga Studio and it had the ability to rotate the canvas and I was a kid in a candy store! I could finally draw closer to my traditional work. Now years later, they pretty much all have that feature. Go figure!
So that being said, once you get over the learning curve and the change in the mechanics, the world opens up. As far as digital goes, the main reason to switch is SPEED. I can now pencil, ink, and color a page a day with a lot of detail. Not while working mind you but if i have a nice full day to myself. It is on! The other thing about digital is the ease of working with others. You can draw digitally and send files way faster so collaborations are more streamline. Think about it, no scanning! Even though I remember the magical moment when I saw my first piece of art scanned into the computer. It was magnificent! And it took about 15 minutes for it to scan at 300dpi. The scanners are much faster now but with digital you don't need them. Sorry scanners. Bye, bye!
The other thing to cover here is what tablet and why? I felt like after using my Intuos 4 and the 5. I needed a little extra bump in speed and ability. So I shopped around and went up a level to the Cintiq 22 HD. A very nice tool indeed. With a nice price tag attached. My Cintiq was roughly $2,000 when I purchased it. My girlfriend wanted to smack me silly when I told her. What is wrong with the other tablet, to which I replied……..nothing……I…..just……need…..the….CINTIQ! It did offer me more control. I noticed a great improvement in my inking and less need to rotate the screen. And you feel like the cat's meow when your working on this device. Other than that, the Intuos 5 has the same levels of pressure sensitivity, is more portable, and your hand isn't in the way! Didn't think of that one till I had both. For digital painting I actually prefer the Intuos 5. I can sit back more relaxed and let the digital paint flow. With the Cintiq I have to sit up and when you have to draw for 15 hours to make a deadline, that can hurt. You have to change positions and the smaller tablets are great for that.
And lastly, let's talk software. I am going to be brief because this is a whole other topic. Here is the run down. Sketchbook Pro 7 for sketching and a very natural pencil feel. Along with an exceptional perspective drawing tool. Manga Studio 5 EX for comic book illustration and inking. Its ability to keep every page in a unified document and allowing you to export to a single PDF is key. Photoshop CC for Digital Painting and comic book coloring. Now don't get me wrong, anyone one of these can do all of these features if you are on a budget. But a bike can get you up a hill but I would rather drive my Ferrari. ( Just kidding, I don't have a Ferrari….YET! ) And if you are really on a budget then just use GIMP. It's free and it is pretty darn cool for being…. FREE!
So there it is folks. That's my run down on going digital. I will also being doing a video on some of these topics that I have discussed today so be sure to head over to my Youtube channel if you would like to see it. I will be demonstrating the drawing process and how it differs with each tablet.
And keep in mind there is one thing that is still far superior with traditional. You have an original to sell at the end of the day. The question you have to ask yourself is, "Will I be able to make more money with my time that I will be saving or by selling the original that I create?" Or like myself, I use both. My digital methods are for my Storyboards and Comic production. My originals are to sell at conventions!
Good luck to you and thanks for reading!
Robert A. Marzullo
Ram Studios Comics
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Well I am one happy little camper. I am working on another Storyboarding project this week and I have to say, I really enjoy it. If you have followed my work or any of my sites then you already know that I am a comic book fan and want nothing more than to draw comics for a living. But, since that has never been able to give me a decent living wage, I diversify. I have done signs and graphics for years but now I am focusing on Storyboards. I studied the art form for a few years before I was able to get my first job. ( Which was a lot better than my track record with comics. ) I have completed a few jobs with various clients and although some of them have been tough and the deadlines even tougher, I am excited to do more! It is a great feeling to tell a story with pictures. Would I like drawing old web head flying off a building to save the damsel in distress? You betcha! But I am a provider for my family and no one has ever waived a pay check at me to do comics. Not a very large one anyways. Maybe one day. I am a dreamer so I will never give up. It just isn't in my nature to quit. That being said, Storyboards are quite similar in the way that you are a director of camera angles, perspective, lighting, actors/actresses, set designs, and the list goes on and on. And the best part, you are telling a story with your art. That my friends is Amazing even without super heroes and super powers. Now don't get me wrong, as soon as I am done paying the bills by drawing other people's ideas I am right back to drawing my comic book Blackstone! And working on the Youtube channel to show others how to create art. So comics is just as much a part of my life as before and Storyboards should only teach me to draw better comics. Before I was making most of my income by designing signs and vehicle wraps. And although I was very blessed to be successful with that, it was not drawing to make my living. So now I am taking a new path. I am going to be Robert Marzullo "Storyboard Artist" and we will see how well the title fits! So if you ever want to look at other options for being a working artist, I would look into Storyboards. And you don't have to just do commercials like I am doing. Storyboards are used in every area of entertainment from Movies to Gaming. Shoot, they even do Storyboards for amusement parks before they build a new ride! Pretty cool…..I know, right!?! Sorry, I just answered myself. Time to go see my therapist.
Well anyways, thanks for joining me on my artistic journey and I hope this sheds some light for some up and coming artist. I had no idea about this line of work. I was so consumed by just being a comic book artist that it never occurred to me. Luckily a friend of mine was kind enough to bring me into the industry. Actually, two of them. So again I am very blessed. Most artist would need to go to school to make such connections. So build up that portfolio and draw Comics and Storyboards and whatever else you can get your dirty little hands on!
Thanks for stopping by!
Robert A. Marzullo
Ram Studios Comics
Thursday, November 6, 2014
So here it is folks. My submission for the Spawn Lucky13 art contest. Funny thing is, I think this may be my very first art contest. Maybe something when I was younger in school but I really never join in on these. It was kind of fun and a great way to add something to the deadline list. Of course I couldn't have done this if I was any busier with Storyboards or wrapping cars, oh yeah and being a father. Woo boy! I have a full dinner plate. Oh yeah and trying to upload some videos to Youtube and drawing on my Blackstone Comic! I need a break. Well, you know what they say, "No rest for the Wicked!"
So here is my fun little art piece. I hope you like it. I did the pencils and the inks in Sketchbook Pro 7. Then did the colors in Adobe Photoshop CC. All the drawing was done on a Wacom Cintiq 22. ( My favorite toy! ) I did the drawing one day, then the inks, the next, and finally the colors. And, I found time to record the process of the pencils and the inks and put them on my Youtube channel for your viewing pleasure. You can see those here if you like http://www.youtube.com/user/mrramstudios1
And for a high resolution version of this art you can go to http://ramstudios1.deviantart.com
Well anyways, thanks for viewing and for reading all of my bad grammar. I know that must have been tough for you! Take care and keep drawing and keep having fun. :)
Robert A. Marzullo
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
So I finally did it. I joined in on a drawing competition. I normally do not partake in such activities. I don't draw to compete with others. I draw to compete with myself. But, that being said, I had to join in on this one. Spawn has been a long time favorite for me to draw. More than that, the creator of Spawn, Todd McFarlane was the reason I started drawing comics. It was his run on Spider-Man that made me pick up comic books. Until then I thought comics were just for the nerdy kids. lol. Later I found out that I too was one of these so called NERDS! Imagine my disbelief. So when I started collecting the Spider-Man comics I began to draw like crazy. It has always been my center. Something I can come back to and be at peace. Whenever things are crazy in my world, I draw. Whenever life gives me lemons, I draw Lemonade! Ok, I don't really draw lemonade but you get the point. Hope you like this piece and more on the way. And wish me luck on the contest. I don't need to win but it would be nice to get more people to see the work and hopefully one day I can get to actually draw comics for a living! Wouldn't that be nice. Until then, I am a happy hobbyist.........FOR NOW!!!
Robert A. Marzullo
Ram Studios Comics