Tag Archives: illustration

Digital Brushes and Assets

If you follow any of my social media, you’ll probably know that I love using Procreate and Affinity Designer on my iPad to draw.  Although they’re two of the best mobile drawing apps that currently exist, they have their limits in the number of drawing tools available in each app. Thankfully, there’s a great community of artists that make a wide assortment of brushes for Affinity Designer/Photo, Procreate, and Photoshop.

Frankentoon

Frankentoon is one of my favorite websites for aftermarket brush sets and assets for Procreate and Affinity software. They’re constantly releasing new packs and even provide tutorials how to use them. Their nature brush pack is a huge timesaver for anyone who needs to paint leaves, smoke, water, rocks, etc.

Procreate Community

The Procreate community of artists is a fantastic resource for artist-made brushes and tools. Whenever I’m looking for a very specific type of brush, I search the community and I’ve always been able to find one for free or at a nominal fee. iPadLettering.com is also a great source of very affordable brushes and shapes, especially if you’re looking to create lettering artwork. Script isn’t my strong suit, so I mostly use a variety of drawing and painting brushes instead.

Jazza’s Photoshop Brushes

Before Procreate, Affinity, and the iPad Pro existed, I did most of my digital illustrations in Photoshop. In those days, I used a brush pack created by YouTuber, Josiah Brooks, who is also known as “Jazza”.

(Procreate) Inktober 2018: Day 1

It’s officially October 1, which is the first day of Inktober and Procreate Inktober. I’m not going to be making a blog post for each day just to display each drawing, but please follow me on Instagram and Twitter if you’d like to stay updated.

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Inktober Day 1 – Poisonous (Affinity Designer for iPad)

Since I’m going to be attempting to participate in both Inktobers this year, my drawings will probably be more on the simplistic side in order to fit in 62 drawings around my daily life. That being said, I would like to experiment more this year and may try some different styles, or even different mediums. Maybe I’ll switch up between Procreate, Affinity Designer, pixel art, and pen and paper.

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Procreate Inktober Day 1 – Houseplant (Procreate for iPad Pro)

Will you also be participating in both or are you favoring one over the other?

Procreate Inktober

Yesterday I wrote about Inktober and how last year I exclusively used the beta Procreate to participate. This year, I was considering alternating days between Procreate and Affinity Designer.

Coincidentally, hours after I published the Inktober blog post, Procreate announced that they’re going to be having their own version of Inktober this year.

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Procreate’s Inktober List differs from this year’s regular Inktober.

The rules are very similar, each day of October you’ll draw a black and white illustration based on a daily theme. The difference for Procreate’s version is that you’ll use Procreate for iOS and tag your drawings on social media using @Procreate and #ProcreateInktober.

In which Inktober will you be participating? I may try to do both and use Affinity Designer exclusively for Inktober since I’ll be using Procreate for the other.

Inktober 2018

October is quickly approaching, which means it’s almost time to begin Inktober 2018. Inktober was originally started by Jake Parker in 2009, and has gained more and more participants each year. This is when people all over the world ink one drawing each day in October to a daily theme. Most people use paper and ink, but if you’re like me and tend not to carry around pens, ink, brushes, and paper, you can also participate digitally, which is what I did for last year’s challenge.

Above are some of the drawings I did last year while beta-testing a new version of Procreate for iOS. In case you couldn’t tell, I like to draw a lot of nostalgic-based artwork. You can check out some of the retro t-shirts I’ve made at my home page if you’re also into that sort of thing.

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Inktober 2018 Prompt List

This year, I’ll probably alternate between Procreate and Affinity Designer for iOS since I always have my iPad Pro on me.

When you complete your daily drawing, be sure to tag it on social media using #inktober and #inktober2018 so everyone can check out each other’s work. There are a lot of very impressive pieces done each year, which can be pretty inspiring to see.

Let me know if you’ll be participating this year!

Quickly Creating a 2-D + 3-D Cartoon

Part of my day job is creating animated cartoons for online learning courses. For my latest project, it was decided to have it set in an apartment with two-dimensional cartoon characters superimposed. Given the time frame, I tried to find the easiest and fastest way to model the apartment in 3-D using inexpensive software with the smallest learning curve.  Planner 5D met all of my requirements, so I decided to give it a shot.

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Planner 5D on Windows 10

One thing I really liked about Planner 5D is that it’s available for Mac, PC, and mobile devices. This was handy because I could work in it anywhere and could easily show off different layouts to the team even if I wasn’t near my desktop computer.

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Planner 5D on an iPhone 8 Plus

It also has a lot of built-in models that you can quickly drop in and customize as needed, which was a huge time saver. I was able to learn the software, create an apartment for the project, revise as needed from team feedback, and render out all of the stills in about 2 business days.

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Some of the options of pre-built assets Planner 5D has available.

For the characters, I quickly sketched out some ideas in Procreate on my iPad Pro based on the descriptions given to me by the instructional designer during our meeting. In this case, the main characters were a college student and his anthropomorphic ostrich roommate.

I imported the sketches into Adobe Animate, traced them, and broke them into individual graphics so they could be easily animated.

Animate1Animate2

I then imported the background images that were created and rendered in Planner 5D and animated the characters on different layers. The Keyframe Caddy extension for Adobe Animate is a huge time-saver and cut down the amount of time it took to lip-sync the characters to the dialogue.

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If you’re looking to make an animation in a similar style, I hope you also find these tools useful. I know personally, it was very handy to have software like this to cut down on production time.

Affinity Designer

A few years ago, I was commissioned to create an online course about Affinity Designer. This was when Affinity Designer was still fairly new and not a ton of illustrators used it. Fast-forward three and a half years, and it’s become one of the best graphics applications for both desktop and iPads.

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Affinity Designer for Windows interface

Truth be told, just based on the work I had after creating the course, I stopped using Affinity Designer for awhile. When I heard they were debuting a version for the iPad, I quickly regained interest and bought it on its release day. It immediately became one of my favorite iOS apps that I own and I’ve used it almost every day since.

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Affinity Designer for iPad

The iPad version is full-featured and not just a watered down version. Also, sticking to Serif’s business plan, there are no subscription payments involved, everything is buy-once, keep forever. It’s definitely worth your time to watch their tutorial videos about using gestures to control the app, as they’ve done a great job translating mouse clicks into finger gestures.

Since the iPad version release, I’ve been drawing in Affinity Designer so much that I had to update my website to display all of the new illustrations I’ve completed. Everything from t-shirt designs, concept art, and final products that I’ve used for my day job have been done all on my iPad.

GP Animations
http://www.GPAnimations.com

I love that if I’m on the go, I can just grab my iPad and take the project I had open on my PC or MacBook and open it in the iOS version of Designer. It’s really as simple as just opening the file from Dropbox or Google Drive and finishing your work on the go.

I also have the PC, MacOS, and iOS versions of Affinity Photo, but I haven’t had a chance to use them extensively yet. I did play around with some of the features for some quick photo editing and it seemed pretty intuitive just like Designer.

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Affinity Photo interface

Overall, if you haven’t tried Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo and you’re tired of paying for Adobe Creative Cloud, you really should check them out. If you’re an Adobe InDesign user, they’re also making Affinity Publisher, which is currently in Beta as of the time of this writing. Now if I could only get them to make an Adobe Animate CC replacement, I could completely drop all Adobe products…

Artist Review: Smudge Guard

After 5 years of using a hacked up $1 work glove (it was actually a dollar for the pair), I finally got a Smudge Guard glove to use with my Wacom Cintiq tablet. The question is, does it perform 15x better than the work glove to justify the $14.99 price tag?

Dollar Store work glove with 4 fingers cut off.

The benefit of using a pair of fabric work gloves is that if you take a pair of scissors and remove the thumb and first three fingers, you’ll end up with two gloves that you can use on your drawing hand. Also, it will only cost you a dollar plus sales tax. The disadvantage is that they probably won’t fit very well and let’s be honest, it looks pretty shoddy.

Smudge Guard Glove

The advantages of purchasing a Smudge Guard glove are that you’ll get a glove that is specific to the size of your hand and it will look and feel much more professional. The only disadvantage is the price. Many people have a hard time justifying $14.99 for what is essentially a mini sock for your pinky finger.

Both the work glove and the Smudge Guard are helpful in preventing your hand from sticking to a Wacom Cintiq screen. However, the Smudge Guard’s material feels much nicer on your skin and if you plan on drawing for hours each day, comfort is definitely a factor to consider. If you’re a serious digital artist, which you probably are if you’ve already made the $2000-$3600 investment for a Wacom Cintiq, it’s worth picking up a Smudge Guard in my opinion. It fits well and looks so much nicer than a hacked up work glove. 

Going from Analog to Digital

I recently watched “Dear Mr. Watterson“, the new documentary about Calvin and Hobbes’ and their creator. It reminded me of how my childhood dream was to become a cartoonist. Seeing current cartoonists still drawing on paper inspired me to pick up a sketchbook and a pen again. I actually haven’t drawn on a piece of paper since I was first able to afford my first Wacom tablet in 2005.

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Dear Mr. Watterson – All rights reserved & copyright owned by creators.

I was quickly reminded of how much I rely on digital luxuries like undo, straight line, color picker, copy, paste, etc. Regular drawing is a lot more difficult than I remember.

After I drew some crude initial character sketches, I decided I might want to use the drawings in my latest app for Maddie Bear Books. Instead of using my wireless scanner to scan in the pages to my computer, I decided to use my iPhone, which was already in my pocket. I took a picture of the sketch, dropped it over to my Macbook using DeskConnect and imported it into Adobe Flash.

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There’s a feeling of something very native of drawing with pen and paper that I had forgotten about. Something about the feel of the pen or pencil touching the rough surface of paper that digital tablets can’t seem to replicate. I still prefer to color and finalize drawings digitally, but it’s a nice break from a computer screen.