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. (-: An example would be the Sad Dog image above. PLEASE see the note below about using credit cards online. Use caution.

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.

Edit: 12-10-18 I recently had my credit card hacked somewhere on line. I hesitate to recommend small online businesses anymore. I imagine large businesses like Dick Black are safe, but smaller sites may have trouble keeping up with security measures. I have started only shopping where I can use a large, recognized method of payment. Many places will accept PayPal or an equivalent. Our bank caught the fake charge immediately, so we were no affected. Except for having to go to every web site where I have recurring charges and change my credit card. Not my idea of a fun afternoon.

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?