Retro, Trying Digital… Is This Gonna Work?

First, A Happy New Year to you all. I do hope 2014 becomes a stellar year for everyone.

So, okay, I did it, or… maybe I should blame Santa Claus. I have a new tool in my artistic arsenal. For Christmas I got a small graphic tablet. Whereas some of you may herald it as finally coming into the 21st Century, art-wise, for me; it is an anomaly.

I have, in the past, used my mouse to add, lighten, darken, etc., artwork to be sent out on a quick deadline. I even use the ‘airbrush’ function in Photoshop, more these days than picking up my ancient Thayer Chandler, or my almost as antiquated Aztek (to you ‘civilians’, Thayer Chandler and Aztek are both airbrushes, who’s makers have been swallowed up by bigger manufacturers, decades ago now). I have been using digital, in many ways, for quite some time now. It’s how business is done. But I still like brushes and pastels and pencils and paint that just oozes out of tubes. I really do. You should see the drawing board – I even covered part of it with poster board, in an attempt to keep it somewhat ‘clean’ – didn’t work.

Now, beside my keyboard, is a mousepad sized Wacom tablet. It’s lightweight, quite handsome, simple, modern design; a stylus that feels pretty good in your hand; and if you want to get right down to it, compliments my big, ol’, silver with black accented Mac nicely. So much for aesthetics, how’s this puppy gonna perform?

I learned, a long time ago, that you can pick up a crayon, but you have to understand ‘coloring inside the lines’. Then you have to learn how to color outside them, and make it look good. Now I have to process holding a pen-like object and not looking at my paper or canvas or board or whatever. The stylus or I’ll cal it, pen, part worked, the first time I used it. Some of the “brushes” in the app I used, are kinda cool; I hope they’re not as limiting as they feel now, but then, I’m a novice. I guess I have to learn how to do that. I may have to find a good pen pressure level in the preference panel. The surface is okay, I have to get used to it; but it has a sort of rough-ish, cold press kind of feel, which is good.

Image001I post the first attempt today, and in the words of the late *Myron Cope; “Yoy!” You can see that I need A LOT of work. I need to get over the fact that I have to look up at my monitor. You’d think that wouldn’t be the problem, after using a computer for so long. Mentally visualizing and moving my hand after working on the drawing board for so long and looking at what I’m doing as I’m sketching – at this point, is rote. Looking up and moving my hand, is, for some reason, not as easy as I thought. I have to re-train my mind. The result kind of makes you feel uncoordinated. I mean look at the proportions… again; “Yoy!”

However, as I do with most things, I will persevere. Even though I lack the skill, I have to say this digital tool, this tablet and pen, is cool. I’m working in black and white for now, until I feel confident enough to use color. I’m hoping that using the tool at my job will happen sooner rather than later, as I think it will get me through some of the quick deadlines much faster. No paint drying time – that’s kind of a perk. Chances are that I will combo a hand drawn sketch or piece of art with the app at first. It will get me used to the feel of the whole thing.

Retro to Digital… I don’t know!retro logo