Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why Digital Art - part 1

I recently finished an illustration of Marvel's Nova in which I had spent much of my time working digitally.
Novas Small
I mentioned before how as time passes... artists will HAVE to learn to draw with the computer.

We are close to the point where it will no longer be an option to draw on paper.

Sure... there will always be those like Alex Ross who might keep on painting their artwork traditionally.... and even then.... I seem to recall a Superman comic where Ross' artwork was colored in the computer.

I suspect that even an artist as prolific as Ross is scratching his head wondering how to use the computer to make his life easier... or to improve the quality of his work... whichever that might be.

Heck John Byrne has been experimenting with using the computer to draw comics for quite some time.

Brian Bolland has pretty much made the switch to drawing entirely in the computer about 10 years ago.

DC Guide to Drawing Digitally
The DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics

And now... as time passes.... we are nearing the point where everyone will be expected to work using the computer.

Animation studios... are expecting artists to send in their artwork in TIFF files. So although there is still the option to draw the artwork on paper... scan it... then send it to the studio in TIFFs... at some point... it will be expected that the artwork has been produced digitally.

Why you say??

What does it matter if it was hand drawn on paper if it can be scanned and turned into a TIFF file??

Well... at some point.... it will be expected to not only send the artwork in TIFFs... but also on various layers so that we can have the notes on one layer.... the characters on another layer... and the BG (background) on a third layer.

For example... doing that would greatly simplify the Director's job if he needs to resize the characters for some reason.

The same could be done in comics.

By having each elements on separate layers, it could allow the editor to move some characters around to make more room for the dialogues for example.

So for quite some time... I have been trying to teach myself how to draw with the computer. I have also been toying with the idea of inking my artwork in the machine too.

In the early days that I was teaching myself to use Photoshop... I was drawing using the mouse believe it or not. If you go back and look at the early FBU comics... some part of them comics was drawn with the mouse in Photoshop.

When I finally went and bought a Bamboo tablet... about a year and a half ago... although it took a while to get used to the tablet... it did make things a little easier in drawing in the computer.
Bamboo Tablet

But... drawing with the Bamboo tablet... still is not quite as effective as drawing on paper. The drawing itself is much slower for starter... and it is much harder to get a nice line quality.

Although I just tested a new Cintiq tablet that I will be using at the studio in the coming days... and it does seem to make drawing in the computer that much more effective. The hand eye coordination is direct as opposed to drawing on the Bamboo tablet and watching the computer screen.

So it should make drawing in the computer a much more viable option if all goes as planned. Expect a Blog about my drawing with the Cintiq in a few months. We will have to wait and see. ;)

Although... for a while I was toying with the idea of pencilling my work on paper.... and then ink it in the computer. So I used an Avengers piece I did a while ago and experimented with inking it in the computer.
Here is the initial sketch:

And here is the digitally inked version:

I am fairly happy with the final result... and it even allowed me to fix some of what bothered me with Iron-Man in the pencilled version.

And making circles and ellipses is fantastic with Photoshop. But overall... inking this piece took much longer then it would have taken me to ink it on paper.

But I am hoping that the Cintiq tablet will make this process much quicker.

This is a subject I'm very passionate about, so rather than go on at length all in one post, I'll continue the discussion next week. :)

- Pierre

1 comment:

Joe said...

I think you're right, that art produced or finished digitally will be the future, especially of working comic artists. Imagine the savings in materials, alone, and you can see a reason for it. There will always be a niche for for folks who produce good work in any media, but digital is here to stay and with the Cintiq, it's just going to get easier to make the transition.
My only real complaint with digital art is that too many digital artists lack basic understanding of color theory and use unpleasantly oversaturated tones for their art. I don't ask for photorealism, and I don't strive for it, myself...,but please guys, have a heart, I only have this one set of Mark I human eyeballs and I'd like to make them last!
I'm just getting started on the Flashback Universe, but I've enjoyed what I've seen so far.


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