Kelat and Dmitri

Fun with Wacom Intuos

As previously mentioned, Matt and the Mother Unit gave me a Wacom Intuos art tablet for my birthday. For the past month, I've been trying to get acclimated to my new reality of digital art. The hand/eye coordination I learned from a very young age is out the window, as I have to relearn the effects of "pen" to "paper", since neither thing exists in the traditional sense of the words. It's very strange to not look at where I am applying my pen, or stylus, as it's called but, instead, keep my eyes on the computer screen. I imagine artists throughout time, on up to the 1980s or 90s, would look at the Intuos and intone dramatically, "What sorcery is this?" I know I've certainly asked that question more than a few dozen times since 9/10.

I am of a mind that I will be in student mode, probably for the rest of my life. That being said, I have created a few pieces that are really nothing more than doodles, of which I'm kind of proud, considering the first few attempts of drawing on the Intuos resulted in what looked like stick figures having strokes.

So, I am posting the drawings that don't suck like a porn star on overtime. I've arranged them in order of when I drew them, to show my progress (and I use that term very loosely) in hand placement and graphics manipulation. They are all behind the cut after the pic I just finished of Richard Ayoade.

After producing those unfortunate stick figures, I bit the bullet and tried my hand at sketching a Tarma. This is what happened. It's pretty much virtual cack.

Even though I knew it was monumentally bad, just being able to draw something that didn't completely look like raptor vomit encouraged me to keep trying. And try I did. It had occurred to me that, with having an infinite number of colours with which to work in a way I had never been able to with just pens and coloured pencils, I decided to see what it would look like to draw with white "ink" on a black background. The product of my experiment was still terrible, but it enabled me to venture far outside the artistic box I'd inhabited my entire life. White on black, the ability to erase and redo without worry of irreversibly damaging the paper, or running out of ink or pencils...the possibilities are endless!

Next on my list was to try a Tarmian profile. I was trying to make my hand steadier, as well as dabbling with various art media made available via Elements through the Wacom.

I then decided to try my hand at a teenaged Cadmus. The results were disappointing, but that doesn't mean I won't keep trying.

One of the things I instantly fell in love with in regard to the Intuos, is its capabilities of assisting the artist to create realistic hair. This piece was done for no other reason but to play around with eyebrows, eyelashes, and the shading and highlights you usually see in the eyes.

With my newfound so-called "skills," I decided to work on a portrait of Kelat. The first attempt was, I thought, relatively decent enough, except for the uneven eyelids. She looks like she has Bell's Palsy. The great thing about digital art, though, is that you can go back and alter it at any time, and in any way you so choose. I'm keep the original file of this pic to work on a bit more, once I think I'll be able to achieve something just a little worthy. I do have to say that I'm kind of proud of Kelat's hair.

Here's another one of Kelat.

Another great thing about drawing digitally is you have the ability to flip works in progress both vertically and horizontally. That means that, instead of drawing one good eye because the way my hand rests allows me to, but struggling with the other eye because I'm technically drawing backwards at that point, I can complete one eye, then flip it horizontally to draw the other one. This is the result of that handy-dandy tool! It is a Tarmian Dol'Princess from the first generation of Tarmi born on Earth.

I then tried my hand at a dragon. The sketch was very simple to do, since I'm getting used to drawing with a stylus enough that my hand is a lot steadier. The colouring for this dragon was something I had been playing around with for a while. Elements has tools that can create gradient backgrounds with any colour combination that strikes your fancy. What I did was do a simple sketch of the dragon, then erase the white background for transparency. I didn't just do away with the background, though. I took the colour out of the dragon's body as well, turning it into a simple black outline. I then opened up another background and created the gradient. After that, I copy-pasta'd the dragon onto the background, merged the layers, then erased the background outside the lines of the dragon illustration. VOILA! A tie-dye dragon!

And that brings us to today's graphic treat, Mr. Richard Ayoade. I have to say, I am really proud of this picture, even though I know I have a long way to go before I'll think I'm worthy of this glorious art tablet. If RA ever sees the picture, I hope he likes it.

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Excellent work!

I've been meaning to get a Wacom tablet to help with photo restoration.
I recommend it highly! Apparently, this was the tablet that Amanda used in the creation of the covers for The Blood Crown and The Augury of Gideon.