Sunday, 30 August 2015

skater boy

I've discovered a great way to get hand drawn images inked in Illustrator and coloured in Photoshop.

This is a work in progress.


  1. Some questions:

    1) Are you hand tracing or using some sort of automatic "pencil-to-ink" tool?

    2) Does Illustrator have a mechanism with which you can vary the stroke-thickness on a single path/bézier/spline, and can you utilise it in conjunction with a pressure-sensitive tablet?

    3) If you're not using shading, what's the advantage of colouring in Photoshop, rather than doing the whole thing in Illustrator?

    4) In my feed reader, there's an interesting post from you about lucid dreaming, accompanied by a very nice sketch of a rhino. But I can't find it. Did you take it down?

  2. Hey Alex, yes I took the last post down. Too incriminating - I work for the government in education and mainstream culture may just think I am nuts. I know I'm not, but witches being burned at the stake comes to mind. I have been asked by an ex-doctor friend to join a Society of Shamans and I think I will let that be the outlet for that type of material in future as it provides me some protection. These are strange and regressive times and many past lives of persecution make me very self protective.

    Re drawing techniques and software: Hand drawn, imported to Illustrator for a Live Trace gives me the line quality I want. I want to develop some type of 'comic' style shading - just haven't figured out a technnique I am happy with yet so that's why I do the colouring in PS. Yes, you can vary the shape and thickness of the stroke in AI but I find the brushes there are still very limited so I prefer PS for that, although I don't experiment that much anyway. I also want to work with filters and blending modes etc in PS - still experimenting. I am not a fan of the linework created using the pen tool in AI. Unfortunately it is clunky to use the pen tool in PS because of the layer setup but there is always the eraser tool! You can save a pen tool vecor path in PS and adjust later if you want but I find it easier to just keep doing each line and Control Z until you are happy with it.

    Manga Studio seems to be the best program for this type of thing. I bought version 5 on special for $40 but haven't ahd time to get to it, so that is going to be my summer holiday project! I found some comprehensive tutorials online and the interface doesn't look too dissimilar to Photoshop and Illustrator.

  3. Interesting. It sounds like Photoshop & Illustrator could do with being fused into one application. Actually, that was one of the early ideas of Krita—combining raster & vector tools—but it hasn't really delivered anything close to what it promised. Krita's vector tools still seem so primitive compared to programs like Inkscape.

    Inkscape has two tools: The freehand drawng tool, which works with a tablet—and is a joy to draw with—but uses a closed shape rather than a single variable-width line to draw each stroke, which makes it nearly impossible to adjust a stroke after you've drawn it; and also "power stoke", which let's you manually set width points along a path, but doesn't yet work with a tablet, and is therefore—in my experience— quite tedious to use.

    As a lover of comic-book art, I'm curious to see what you mean by 'comic' style shading. A few possibilities spring to mind. Personally, I'm not a fan of the "digital airbrush" look that a lot of them have now. I much preferred the old "solid-tone" type of shading that went out of style in '90s (except with Japanese animators). Of course, since the '80s, "comic-book style" can mean just about anything. Take these two examples from a recent issue of 2000AD. Probably not what you had in mind but, I'm guessing. 1 2

  4. No, my shading is much more primitive than these examples Alex. I can do that style of shading but I probably wouldn't do it for 'comics'. I use my Mixer brush in Photoshop a lot for a more realistic 3D style. I will post the latest version of 'skater boy' to show you what I mean.

    Manga Studio seems to be the 'fusion' of AI and PS. A lot of the best digital illustrators use it. I bought it for $40 on special and it doesn't have all the bullshit updates that CC now has. I just haven't had time to learn how to use it but have located some tutorials from Smith Micro (who sell the program) and that is going to be my summer holiday project.

    The best stylus/screen interface I have seen so far is the new iPad Pro with the new Mac pencil (they only launched it yesterday). I am not a Mac disciple, but I have to say it looks absolutely amazing. I have a Wacom Cintiq and it's pretty good, but the criticisms of it I saw recently when comparing it to the new iPad Pro are spot on. The only problem I have is that I can't run the Adobe programs on an iPad and I need to. But for digital drawing/painting, this new toy looks like it will do the best job so far.

  5. I look forward to seeing Skater Boy shaded, and also to anything you post over the Summer regarding your experiences with learning the new software. I think I've said before that I find Adobe's new subscription model a complete turn-off. And even though I prefer to use Linux/BSD based operating systems, I still like to keep abreast of what's out there on Windows & Mac.

    And it sounds like I will now have to look into the new Mac stuff. Until now, I knew there was buzz around Apple unveiling some crap, but was largely oblivious to the details.

    What are your criticisms of the Cintiq. I've never seriously used one. I have an old Intuos which seems to do everything I want.

  6. Yes, the new CC is crap! It has meltdowns regularly/ I find I have to shit down all the programs regularly, turn off CC itself and open everything up again. I was working in Indesign the other day and entire columns of text kept disappearing. Luckily Control Z brought them back each time, but very scary and frustrating.

    Re the Cintiq (which is quite nice to use really), the lag, distance from stylus point to work and colour. I hadn't really thought about it until I read this article, but this person was absolutely right. The colour on my Mac screen at work is divine compared to my screen at home (because I use the Cintiq as my computer screen, driven by a Mac Mini)