QUINN OPINES ON MODERN ART

These days, technology is racing forward and most industries are adapting and moving along with it, even the comic industry is adapting through the digital art medium.  There’s an ocean of possibility in the amount of tools and innovations within digital art software, but are you ready to make the jump?  I’m Quinn from Olde Time Mac, here to give you some of the pros to going digital and some tips to make your set up both cost efficient and up to date. 

BEGINNINGS

First things first, how do you get set up?  There are 2 ways you can go about it.  For one, if you already have an iOS device you’re halfway there.  All that’s needed is to make sure your desktop computer is relatively up to date and in tune with your phone or iPad’s software.  Pre-owned equipment is a great way to save some money when your first getting set up and getting an iMac made between 2013-2016 would be recommended to maximize cost efficiency.  The second is a little different and involves “Wacom” drawing tablets.  These are top of the line in the graphics and digital art industry and there are a wide range of them available for both beginners and professionals.  Wacom makes great products but if you have never dealt with drawing in one place and looking at another, it will not be an easy transition from pen and paper. 

The easiest way to practice and learn how a lot of these art programs operate is by starting with the free applications on iOS devices.  A lot of the free applications have a much shorter list of tools available so you can learn the basics and fundamentals before spending the big bucks on Adobe Photoshop or Corel Draw.  Here are a couple examples of free iOS digital art programs:

MediBang Paint

Compatible with iOS 11 and above, if you want to create professional-looking artwork but are on a budget, this is the iPad drawing app for you.  MediBang has a lot of similar features to photoshop including layers, brush editor’s and the ability to add styles.  It’s an “easy to use” program and id full of brilliant drawing and painting tools.  So much so that it’s hard to believe that it’s free.

Autodesk Sketchbook

This is one of the most popular painting applications you can get on an iPad.  It has an intuitive user interface that allows you to pin your favourite toolbars to the screen.  It’s extremely flexible, user friendly and with dropbox integration plus the ability to import and export Photoshop-friendly files, it's an ideal iPad art app for working on the move. 

Once you’ve learned the basics, the app store is loaded with programs to suit any artists style.  I personally have used Corel draw since I was 11 and it very recently had a MacOS native version release, so that’s what I use on my MacBook Pro now.  It is although one of the most expensive art programs on the market and unless you are deep in that industry, there is no need to pay the $400 price tag for it.  

The most affordable way to get your hands on professional art software these days is with Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription.  I know…another subscription service, but this is one of the most cost efficient on the market and it gives you access to 12 different programs.  Each program has it’s own unique purpose to cater to any artist’s style or needs. 

Still not sure if going digital is for you?  Here are some Pros to going digital that very well may make up your mind.

ACCESSIBILITY

Typically with traditional paint or paper art you need to have a capable (and expensive) scanner to get it within software you can utilize to touch up any unlucky mistakes.  Of course with digital, you’re already using that software so there’s no need to worry about getting a scanner or printer capable enough to handle that.  There are applications you can download today that are compatible with both MacOS and iOS software.  For example, Photoshop has a complimentary iOS application and Paintstorm Studio is cross platform, allowing you to take your work with you. 

NO SCANNING = FASTER

In my experience, if I ever have to take a piece I’ve drawn on paper over to a computer and touch up it naturally just takes longer.  With an iPad, I can touch up as I go and there is no need to have the separate work station.  It all happens in one place.  I can easily sit down on the couch comfortably and draw on the iPad just like I would with any sketchpad, but cleaning my work up can be done there too.  With that being said, the process overall is much shorter.  There’s no moving back and forth, scanning images, zooming in on every little detail to touch and fix areas.  All in all, you increase your productivity by spending less time on any given project.

UNDO

I’m absolutely sure that I’m not the only artist that’s ever thought “I really wish there was an undo button on this sheet of paper”.  Look, no matter how talented the artist mistakes are going to happen.  On pen and paper, correcting a mistake or straightening a shaky line can soak up a lot of your time whereas digitally it is very easy to fix those kind of mistakes.  Those “lucky accidents” or mistakes that actually turn out to look great are still possible digitally.  Most of the time though, these mistakes are just “unlucky accidents” that take a lot of work to correct or sometimes forcing you to start all over.  With digital those mistakes are much easier to fix.

LEARNING CURVE

This is a Pro in disguise.  Personally I found the amount you had to work with daunting at first.  I was used to using a handful of tools, but I’d now how access to a toolbar.  Things like spacing jitters, textures, angles and a near infinite colour pallet gave me an incredible amount of range.  This was a challenge, but one that I dove headfirst into.  That kind of challenge I think drives artists.  A lot of artists are looking to expand their portfolio or find new skills and new ways of expressing themselves.  Digital art programs offer an extraordinary amount of potential for that.   

POSSIBILITY

Going digital, you can enlarge, shrink, move, and rotate anything.  From a reference image to the individual lines making up your image, you can alter and tweak anything you’re working with to fit comfortably with your art style.  You can zoom in on your work to get detail in places you couldn’t with a brush or pencil.  There are tons of tools available from pens to brushes and vector design to really expand your portfolio of skills.  This is what mainly drives this digital art industry forward — possibility. 

I hope this has opened your mind to the world of digital art and if you are finding getting into that world daunting then rest assured; it’s more affordable than you think!  We at Olde Time Mac would love to hear from and help any artists interested in this side of the industry.  If you’re looking for a cost efficient set up, I or any one of our representatives would be more than happy to aid you in selecting the proper devices necessary to carry out your digital art dream.

-Quinn Maxfield, Olde Time Mac Inc.