Oct 092012

I’ve continued experimenting in SketchBook Express with my Intuos3 tablet when I feel the compulsion to draw, with mixed results.

Late evening Wednesday, September 19. Executed in SketchBook Express with the pencil and hard eraser tools. Some erasing was done instead with a white pencil because the eraser modifications in Express were too limited.  I quite like the way this turned out. The process of making this drawing inspired me to look into ways of screen recording while drawing because spontaneous drawing is an intriguing process that is hard to look back on. With the best, it feels like I look at a finished drawing after stepping outside of time for a prolonged moment of focus.


This was started soon after the above. I experimented with the airbrush tool for the areas of shadow, I’m not quite happy with the results. Just imagine nice scales all over the body; this sketch is unfinished because I learned about the layer functions after the shading point where I would want to start using them. However, I am satisfied with what I learned from this drawing.

My primary focus in the above two was in finding a digital drawing method that emulated my archaic favored writing and sketching instrument: the fountain pen. In SketchBook Express, I couldn’t quite tweak the either the paintbrush, ballpoint, or the pencil enough to quite emulate the effect. SketchBook, however, has been the best program yet for using a tablet without lag. I also enjoy the intuitive hidden-yet-accessible menus, very appropriate for a painting/drawing program. If you are unfamiliar with SketchBook, check out a friendly overview here: Is Sketchbook Pro for You

Armed with the knowlege from the grayscale airbrush tool investigation as well as the layers menu, I adventured into the realm of color on October 1. This drawing is unfinished as the above dragon due to more tool frustration. After blending colors nicely in the background blue/purple/yellow layer, I thought I could blend some yellows into the highly saturated red to vary its saturation and create muted orange areas and streaks, as well as bright yellow highlights. For some reason, none of the tools would draw yellow visibly upon the red, but it would show up if I drew somewhere else. I put this drawing aside and mulled over the issue for a few days.

This drawing is more finished than the two above, but doesn’t make me as happy as the first, because I did it in several stages instead of one sitting. I found out how to do a screen recording with QuickTime, so I have another open challenge to myself: find out how to edit the two parts into one movie and share it on this blog. Not sure when that’s going to happen, but I will get some Exp Points whenever I get around to completing that Quest. I love how much I learned about color and the airbrush tool with this drawing.   What I would change is how the word-placement doesn’t add anything to the composition.

However, I made a terrible discovery after finishing the last drawing. I loved the colors and happy dragon so much while I was working on developing detail I wondered what the physical dimensions of the drawing were – I blithely thought I could print it out nicely and, after some polishing, have a self-made motivational poster for my dorm studio. Being a self-motivated self-taught artist is incredible… until I lose some momentum and start questioning the reasons for investigating my areas of interest that don’t yet have a practical output (Time, is GPA, after all). Terrible train of thought, because ceasing exploration means I don’t make any discoveries for a while, and don’t develop my skills or further my knowlege. But it happens.
Anyway – I discovered that my cute drawing was a bit small for a poster… too small even for a postcard, even though preemptively I had made the canvas size rather large. The fault lay with the unchangable defalult of SketchBook Express: 100 dpi. Drawings-for-print need 300. I was thoroughly mad at SketchBook. There was no way I would spend 60$ at the Apple App Store to download a Pro app which wouldn’t work on my Dino laptop. It seems that everything on the app store requires several generations of evolution that I’ve missed. And evolving in the middle of a school year seems like a bad idea, if something goes awry. So much ill potential when genetic mutation is involved, *sigh*.

 Posted by on October 9, 2012

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