Monday, 21 March 2011

Cintiq sketch of Trilobite Boy

Recently comic artist and children's book illustrator Eric Orchard invited me over to his studio to try out his Cintiq.  Talking with Eric is always a joy, and I headed over.

For those not familiar with them, most digital tablets such as my Wacom Intuos 3 are flat pads with a surface that remains touch sensitive to over a thousand points of pressure when using the accompanying pen. Once you get usde to drawing on the tablet on the desk while looking at the screen (try writing your signature a bunch of times and it will help at first) it becomes an incredibly realistic drawing device. Here's a pic of mine below:

The Wacom Cintiq takes it one step further: you are actually drawing right on a pen-touch-sensitive computer monitor.

Eric sat down to demo how it works, and with amazing speed whipped up an excellent little sketch.  I realized how much I still hold back when using digital media: I have an oil painter's habitual sense of caution and planning. Eric made it look fun, almost breezy.

My turn. After maybe 7 minutes, I made this little sketch of Trilobite Boy:

Whenever I test out a new art medium, I sketch something I know. This was using Photoshop in black and white, without any zoom.  I tried to test line widths and opacities to get a feel for it.  It was completely fun.  It felt like I was drawing right on a page, and I had to pay less attention to the interface than I do with my Intuos.

One of the things I'm finding being in an at-home studio with a newborn in the house, is setting time to work in oil paint is difficult.  Scrubbing my hands to pick up the baby is time-consuming, and I am jumping up and down. But working digitally, I can hold him in one arm if need be, or at least just dive back into the art project without the palette set-up. I will still happily take oil painting commissions, but I think for my own projects such as the Trilobite Boy comic, I will be working increasingly digitally.

Thanks for the test drive, Eric!

I've got to find a way to afford purchasing a Cintiq.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow

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Posts over 14 days old have their comments held in moderation - I've been getting an unusual amount of spam for a guy who paints trilobites. I'll release it lickety-split though.

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