One of the ideas that has been brewing over the past few months has been for a new stationery series of Birthday greeting cards. The series will be animal centric and use cheeky humor for the tag lines. (More on that below). As this series is taking form I REALLY am enjoying not only creating it, but how it's coming together!
Last Black Friday I splurged on a new iPad and Apple Pencil. I was very hesitant as a business expense because it was hard for me to know if I would end up using it for business purposes. I am 100% a Kindle fan to read my books and watch Netflix in bed and my Kindle only costs $30, but after exhausting every drawing program (there's hardly any) on the Kindle I took the plunge. Given the timing of the big purchase I decided to work it into my goals for 2019 as well to produce a series actually USING the iPad. At the time I had not intended for my first new collection of the year to come from it, but I couldn't be more excited that it's been so easy and fun to learn on.
The new collection will be tentatively titled Doggone Birthday. As a fan of cheesy lines and childish humor the words and tag line of each card is a cheeky punchline for adults, BUT the first digital illustrations I had started created before the iPad just made the whole series too childish which was not the target audience.
So seeing the above I felt sort of underwhelmed with the series. It was cute, but not really what I was hoping for in the final line. Thus began the quick timeline to falling in love with drawing using the app Procreate. Drawing using these apps is really something that you just have to start doing in order to find your way. I am an advanced Photoshop user (background is graphic designer!) so that did help me quickly figure out how to work things because the layers and tools are set up similarly. However Procreate is all about the brushes and in that regards you just have to play to learn. My biggest hang up in the beginning was trying to use samples to copy and achieve their look when really you just have to remember your style and skill set is different then anyone else. I had to give up the fine artist tuned vision I originally thought I could possibly achieve and learn to "paint" just like I do in life to get there.
5 Pros to Painting Digitally
- Biggest Pro, hands down, can delete mistakes without having to start over. I am sure many artists have a similar process where a little trial and error goes into every piece of work. The best part of working digitally is that your layers can be hidden, erased or altered without effecting the rest of the piece. I am able to get more playful and experimental without feeling like I may wreck everything I like in the piece.
- No mess! Working from home and have young kids means that I often only get 20 minute moments to steal some time to work. It's difficult when painting at times to make a huge mess mixing all my colors and then get interrupted. Often I feel that my time was completely wasted in those moments, but when painting digitally it is so easy to save and come back without having lost that valuable time or moment of creation.
- You can google many stylus options and I did try one other prior to committing to the Apple Pencil, but it has been worth the $100 expense. It magically has some ignore your palm recognition which allows you to paint and draw without worrying that your hand resting on the screen will effect what you are doing. I found other programs and pens SUPER sensitive and the whole project would turn weird if you didn't draw with your palm up off the screen which is awkward.
- No scanning is a huge bonus. Typically with actual paintings you then have to scan which can distort the image and colors very easily. Also, if I painted on my computer screen with the mouse then it was really a SLOW process. It doesn't have that freehand ease.
- The built in tools, brushes and add ons lend you expertise outside your expertise. You have hundreds of brush options built in and it's a really cool thing to be able to digitally accomplish skills with that "cheat" you can't normally do. Old school theory may considering it cheating, but as an artist and business owner I consider it fun and smart. Time is money and I've been able to produce this series at no additional cost (no paint or new brushes) and it's given me more freedom.
2 Cons to Painting Digitally
That's right. I really could only come up with two big cons. Needless to say I am pretty impressed, but here are the two negative comments below.
- File size. Typically when I've created digital work in the past it's largely vectors. Procreate does work in pixels and while you can set the file size to be large it's not a practical art form if you want a large "painting" to produce. (If you want something with clean lines you can vectorize in Illustrator after then you could manage it though!) The 5x7 card size I produce creates pretty large file sizes so transferring those files is slow too.
- There's no text option. Many calligraphers love using the app, but that's not my expertise and I've had to export for Photoshop and add my lines in and size. I probably would anyways so it's not a huge hang up for me, but for many it would be nice to solely create and export for print from the iPad directly.
This series is to be continued. I am aiming to release the entire collection in print for early Spring (late March / first week of April). I will keep all of you posted and look forward to showing you the whole collection in time.