Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Old Dinosaur learning new tricks.

If any of you are graphically inclined in the digital arena, you may have  Wacom or something like it. I've had mine for 6 years and, aside from dusting it occasionally, haven't used it. Until recently.  If you checked out my link to the Dragons I've been doing for my wife's Kindergarten class, you can see I'm jumping back in with both feet into the digital arena. I'm the first one to admit I'm a dinosaur.

I like paint. I like colored pencils. I LOVE graphite pencils and black and white charcoal on colored paper. I like the smells, the feels, the whole experience.  I used to do T-shirt design for a living and had to use a computer, but I did as much by hand as possible.  Well, that was last century.  With my desire to do comics and the software I have, its time to get digital.  Honestly, I've been afraid to try drawing on the Wacom, since I've noticed during clean up of the Dragons, for example, I can't draw a straight line.  But coloring and correcting my scanned drawings, has shaken off a LOT of rust and helped me learn alot. I'd hope so after 67 hours and counting. (yes... she keeps coming up with stuff, so you can blame her for the lack of painted minis. )

SO... as a test for myself I took this guy's photo ....

...broke out my handy Wacom and a brush tool in Photoshop. And came up with this....

I'm pretty happy with the way it came out. Its basically what I have planned for him.  I think I'll even be coloring him in Photoshop to see if I like the colors I have in mind.

And NOW... for a little experiment. Which I blame completely on Greggles and THIS POST at his blog.  While I don't have the same materials, I got me  Kunnin' Plan.

I'm going to mix Acrylic gesso with crackle for one base and Acrylic modeling paste with crackle on another and see what happens.   The results .... next time.

Cheers Ya'll!


  1. When I was at university they had a couple of small Wacom tablets, I tried them but just couldn’t get the hang of it. Then when I started my second job the studio manager swore by them and got all the designers A3 tablets each. Everyone else flatly refused to use them so I was determined to get to grips with it, well you have to when you’re given £600+ of kit to play with. I really enjoyed using it and for certain things I find it essential.

    I was lucky in that my current job I was able to request one, I’m on my second in 13 years, I don’t get as much use out of it but definitely for illustration work, Bezier curves and clipping paths it’s the fastest tool for the job. I also like using it in Flash, it has pressure sensitive brush tool that creates vector shapes with each stroke. You can make some really nice drawings this way. There’s an illustrator on YouTube – draw with Jazza who you may find interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pqmDjGQmJA

    1. Incidentally I think I currently have a medium sized WACOM Pro, with touch at work and a little WACOM Graphire 1 at home. One thing I did learn from using the A3 back in the day was that it was just too big, I still needed to use a keyboard for shortcuts and commands and although I used to 'hook' the keyboard onto the top of the tablet it was still a bit of a stretch sometimes.

  2. Its definitely a learning curve, but I'm finding its pretty intuitive. The difference of drawing on something in front of me and having to look at the screen across the desk for results is the most alien part of the experience. 40+ years of pencil/pen/brush and paper is something that is a bit hard to adjust to .... at first. But I'm getting the feel for it and have been assigning myself projects pretty much every day to get the muscle memory/second nature part of drawing/painting used to using the "new gear. I have a Wacom Intuos 3. And with my own project and about 78 hours and counting of photoshop work for my wife's classroom art, I'm definitely running myself through the paces. If only I could work that hard in the gym...:)

  3. And thanks for the link, Dave! Very informative!

  4. My buddy shantz, who does comics for feed your nerd

    Exclusively uses a surface pro. He now carries with him everywhere he goes, and he is constantly sketching on it. It has changed everything he's done. Now he has a tablet that is also a computer, and the device is one and the same. It's basically his digital sketchbook. Definitely try one out if you at all interested (surface pro 4 coming out soon). He swears by it, and doesn't know how he lived before it!

    Looking forward to your experimentation! Make sure to do a test piece of various thicknesses...boy that stuff acts more random then an ork on who wants to be a millionaire.

    1. I have 8 bases drying at the moment. I did a 50/50 mix of gesso and crackle AND modeling paste and crackle. Applied in different thicknesses, so we'll see if my Rednekk approach works. Where did you get the paste you did your boards with?

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