Saturday, November 17, 2018

Follow Up - More on Drawing in Procreate

Since my previous blog post I had a conversation with a friend on Facebook about Procreate. I should have mentioned that every new major release is accompanied by a free handbook, available in iTunes and as a pdf here. You can view the entire handbook before purchasing the app. It may look intimidating, but you can open the app, select a pencil or pen brush, and begin to draw. As you find the need for certain things like layers or masks, you can learn more.

The sketch above was done by scribbling with various brushes until I saw something - the dog face. Then I collage on some teeth and the landscape which was a pinhole photo I took years ago.

The Procreate website is here.

The basic Procreate app has many brushes, possibly more than you would need. Users also offer free brushes, I think they are on the Procreate website, in the discussion area. Some work better than others, as you would expect.

However, you can also buy brushes from a number of places. I have purchased brushes from TipTop and like them very much. They have many brushes, including nice pencil brushes, ballpoint pens and watercolor brushes (I think these are the hardest ones to re-create in a digital format). Other brush brands I have tried have too much smoothing, which makes the random shake of my hand smooth out. That might be your preference. Procreate brushes are all adjustable so you can edit any of them or create your own. Be sure to make a copy first so the original isn't changed. Mostly I don't edit mine because there are so many available. I have been testing the TipTop brush pack I bought and move them to a Favorites folder as I find the ones I like best. I also bought a texture pack from True Grit. I haven't played with that much, but they are fun. I often scribble all over with various textures and then begin to see faces in the random grit, so I do enjoy all the grit, splatters, bird poo, etc. (-: And example would be the Sad Dog image above.

There are also many tutorials online. Do a search and you will be overwhelmed. I have purchased a few courses from Nikolai Lockertsen. He was one of the first online with courses. He has a loose-ish style which I like and is pretty clear about what he is doing. You may need to pause the video and look up a technique in the handbook occasionally. There may also be some free things on his website. (People change their content or sites and I'm not always familiar with the newer versions.)

It's also worth mentioning that there is an iPhone version of Procreate - I think it's called Pocket. I have it but don't really use it.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Behind the Scenes - Drawing with Procreate on an iPad

I resisted the idea of an iPad years ago, thinking it was just a big phone. My son and husband bought me a second generation iPad for Christmas one year, based on my son's thought that I would enjoy it. It was such a big hit I bought another, with lots more storage, the following year. Ever since I have been drawing on it, mostly with an app called Procreate. At first my drawings were very basic. The screen is slick and it's a very different experience from drawing on paper. However there are layers, undos and erasers that work well. In the last year I have been practicing hatching, both on paper and on the iPad. I am finding the iPad more and more useful.

It's very handy to bring a partially finished drawing into Procreate and to test out ideas. Here I took a photo of the finished drawing and added the blue in the sky and a shadow in Procreate. I can also try out different backgrounds.

I can insert a photo onto the page to draw from - that's the photo of the hand front-on. I have it on a separate layer and have erased most of the image to just focus on the hand. Having the photo the same size and orientation as the drawing makes it easier for me. I can also pull Procreate up from the menu bar below and have it open side-by-side with an image in my Pictures app - that's the image on the left of the hand holding a key.

For some reason I feel freer on the iPad - I can try things out there, like this very scribbly sketch. I realize scribbling may be a more natural style for me - I love to scribble.

The pencil tools in the app have improved a lot - I plan to experiment with printing a drawing down in "pencil." It's very hard to scan a real pencil drawing and then print it to look like pencil. Maybe a digital version will work better. And yes, I do have an Apple Pencil now, and think it's wonderful. It is also possible to buy very reasonable packs of brushes from independent sellers. The last one I bought had pencils, ball point pens, oil and watercolor brushes and a bunch more.

And I can merge all kinds of photos into one canvas. I know you can do this with PhotoShop, but using the Apple Pencil seems much more intuitive to me. The above image blends together five or six photos.

Several photos merged together provide drawing inspiration.

The downside - the cost of course. And I seem to fill up memory pretty quickly. My old iPad is so full I have to delete things to make room for the newer stuff. And beware - be sure to back up a lot. If the app seems to "stutter" or not work well in some way, they suggest you delete it and download again. I lost some things I hadn't backed up yet doing that. There was no warning that I would loose all my data. That may have changed. Procreate is updated frequently. And aside from the one time I haven't had an issue with the app, just my mistakes and occasionally the Apple Pencil tip gets loose and won't work.

I have no affiliation with Procreate or Apple. Just a fan.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Summing up Inktober

My earlier post says most of it. I would add the selfie ring light was handy, it was a little quicker to get the photos into my computer. I suppose if I blogged from my phone I could be even faster. The blog is a good record for me. Next year I may remember to read it and see how things went. The biggest problem was my internal resistance to any outside pressure. While I draw almost every day I just don’t like to have a schedule or expectations. Toward the end of October I took an online class for drawing on the iPad which was a distraction. Since the second lesson on hatching I have been drawing some in Procreate, a drawing app.

I do feel burned out right now. And it wasn't horrible, just a little bit of pressure. Still, it's supposed to be fun, right? Next year I may do a drawing a week, working on it a little every day. Some people make drawings that span the month on one page. The second drawing by Jake Parker on this page may be an example. I can't find a lot of information.

Since I always like to have at least one image to illustrate blog posts, I'll leave with this digital drawing, done in Procreate with a tweaked 6B pencil tool. The proportions are not right, but I liked the effect.

The End of Inktober!

I have lost track of how many I did, some days there were two or three drawings in my hand, others not so many. But I feel pretty confident it's at least 30. Every time I say I want more interesting content in my drawings, it doesn't happen. Inktober is the wrong environment for that - the emphasis is on speed and production. And I can't produce and also explore content. It sounds easy, but it's not for me.

A quick selfie. After I finished I realized the ceiling fan looks like a giant bow. Not my style.

From a photo taken in the Zymoglyphic museum.

And so I’m done. I may add to the evaluation in a few days. I can say I did it, but the question is, would I do it again?

Monday, October 29, 2018


I'm nearing the end - a few more days.

My friend Karen on Sktchy. Black Pitt pen, Caput Mortem brush pen.

One of those days when I was unfocused and just doodling. Pitt pen.

Scribbling while watching a movie. Pitt pen. Can you tell I'm loosing steam? I hate to quit this close to the end.

From a photo on Sktchy. Pitt pen, white Posca.

Another from Sktchy, quick and easy.

This was an interesting photo - a collage of several images.

Another interesting photo. This particular security pattern is very hard to draw on. It has a strong diagonal that seems to accentuate the ink lines and make them hard to control.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Inktober early evaluation

I decided to take stock now, before the end of the month. I'm deciding what to prioritize and what I'd like to do in the remaining time. My notes went into my little sketch book. Yesterday I didn't draw, I wrote up my notes and then read for awhile. I wanted to take the pressure off, which also makes me want to draw. Today I did a drawing, trying to follow my "new" plan. I will also do a wrap up at the end of the month, but it will probably be short.

First the drawing:
Done as usual in my envelope sketch book. It's from a digital collage I made - my grandmother's silhouette and a skeleton. She was German, a lucky coincidence, since the envelope is from Germany. Done with a Pitt pen.

The first page of my notes - I won't bother you with all three, but here are the notes:
Pros: I have come this far, at least some kind of sketch every day. (Here I list the images I do like. My pages are numbered so easy to refer to.) I like most of the text pages - do more. I especially like drawings in my previous post of the figure and the face. The figure is painterly, and the face gets a little dreamy. The size is good - not intimidating. Cheap paper is good, although not really cheap in this case. (the notebook was made by BadBooks on Etsy, but I could make more myself)

Cons: Don't like all the drawings - some done too fast. Next year I need to consider doing fewer drawings and putting more time into each one. Tired of the small size and cheap paper - can't use my favorite ink pens, they bleed thru. (yes, I am contradicting myself) I'm tired of the pressure - have been gardening a lot, a bit short on time. (The weather has been perfect and I have done a lot in the front bed.)

Do More: Text pages. Daily comments, life in general. More like the (previous post - face) drawing - fine lines, minimal outline. Also more like (previous post - figure) drawing. More painterly. And more like Big Mouth (last image on linked page) - splats, small drawn texture in background, drawn from collage. Also more like double exposures (this post).

I think a wrap up at the end is useful, but checking in mid-month is also a good idea. If you have favorites, especially from this month, I'd love to know what they are. I hope you are getting some time in to draw. Try to not get discouraged if you are short on time. I have several friends who can't draw regularly. Just keep plugging away when you can.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

A figure, a frog and a face

I realized haven't been posting in the same order on sktchy as I have here. I guess that doesn't matter - they are drawings in pen and ink.

October 18. This guy's face is long, but not quite that long. I had to scribble on the background with a white posca pen to cover the dark grey on the envelope. In the end I rather like this one. It's a little weird. I took his head into Procreate (drawing/painting app for iOS) and attached it to another body. I liked the size mis-match so left it that way. I also like the background doodles.

October 19. An awesome toad or frog from Sktchy. Pitt pen. My biggest complaint about Sktchy is that most people post the most boring selfies - looking straight forward, frontal lighting, grinning. But now and then there is some awesome interesting photo.

October 20. Another Sktchy drawing.

A doodled page, something I haven't really counted as a drawing. This was a dream, I woke feeling very frustrated about this. Done with a sepia Pitt pen. I like doing these pages of text now and then. I do figure it's still keeping the pen moving, and I am drawing shapes, as opposed to writing. I am still loving the torn envelopes, they have a nice irregularity. Getting tired of the smaller size. Getting tired of worrying about having a finished drawing every day. I had thought I would evaluate at the end of the month, but thing I'll take stock tonight, and again at the end.

This one was done with a black Pitt pen. I just thought I'd include these as part of the record. I do like doing this in my journals now and then. I don't record much about most days, am always trying to remember to add more.