Friday, November 14, 2014
Is Digital Art right for you???
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