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Day Two : #30x30DirectWatercolor2019 : Digital Sketch Video

June 2, 2019

Some people have been interested in the digital sketching process – so – here’s a video export.

I used the app ProCreate on the IPad. One of its neat features is the ability to automatically make these replays of every brush stroke. If only it was this easy to record a watercolor!

[^ Just a screenshot ^]

Things to note:

Big brushes: I use the biggest brushes I can. Even bigger relative to the image size than with real-world media, because digital makes it possible. In real life, this would have to a 6” diameter Japanese calligraphy brush. And it would take a bucket of paint.  This would be pretty messy and expensive (so much paint!).

Layer/Draw/Erase loop > A: Swipe and Erase: This is something I do all the time. It’s essential to my approach to digital painting.

  • Use a new layer so I can lay a big swipe of color across the painting.
  • Erase it back to the shape I really wanted. I just find this more accurate – and I get more interesting edges than if I tried to force the software to draw exactly the right shape in one stroke. Especially for something tiny like this ribbon of light onto horizon.
  • I use the ‘Jagged Brush’ preset in ProCreate quite a bit – (it’s like a splayed mop) and I use the same brush on the eraser, so none of my digital mark-making has that ‘overly clean’ look of digital drawing.
  • Stay away from the generic mono-weight digital pen stroke!

Swipe and Smudge:

  • Make a new layer,
  • Sketch in some lines, patterns of dots, or just draw a brush swipe,
  • Smear the edge of that shape with the smudge tool (shaped like a finger).
  • This is similar to the stroke-erasing method, but gives a different edge quality. It’s sort of how you expect blending to work in oils, but much cleaner. More perfect amount of blend. You can also adjust the size and pressure of the blend tool.

I should also say – I do not use an iPencil or other stylus. I prefer to just paint with my fingers. I can’t be bothered keeping the pen charged etc, and – you’re always doing things like [two-finger pinch and zoom] or [two-tap for undo], [three-tap for redo]. I find it annoying to put down and pick up the pen all the time. I just finger paint the whole thing and I have gesture controls – at my finger tips! <wooomp wahhhh – dad joke]

Anyway. I find digital painting terrific for studies. I’m not sure I’ve figured out using it for finished work yet. But one day! I keep hoping it will become a wonderful new art form. It has so much promise for ease-of-use and instant sharing.

Feel free to post any of your own digital art in the comments!


6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2019 10:36 AM

    Hey MARC, this is great.i da have an iPad and taken a few classes with Procreate. Very interesting, but I love paper and watercolor, analog..

    Btw I was thinking that that Fearless Felt Watercolor Sketchbook I sent you would be great for this year’s 30x 30 direct watercolor challenge.. love to hear how it works for you. Did you know I am a sponsor for the Symposium this year.. I am very excited about that.

    Take care my friend. I will be posting soon. I am at an art fair this weekend.

    • June 2, 2019 2:42 PM

      Hey Eileen! Have you ever heard of Email Forgiveness Day? I need to invoke that! I have not gotten back to you about that have I? I have been so focused on my studio painting, I have not even touched a sketchbook for at least a year. I’m sorry, this is not about your book :) It’s all about me! I will have to look for a situation to try it out. Perhaps this summer there’ll be a sketching event I can bring it along :)

  2. Citroen2cv permalink
    June 2, 2019 7:17 PM

    Brilliant. Everyone should know: most digital paint programs operate on the same principles, and several good ones are open source (free) and stable. iPad or Android device, they’re everywhere. Once you pick up the basics, it’s fluid from there.
    More of these would be so much appreciated —

  3. June 2, 2019 11:17 PM

    Nice breakdown of the digital sketches. Notan is a new approach for me. ‘Seeing’ how you interpret the darks / lights is helpful. The description, in addition to the video, is much appreciated.

  4. June 3, 2019 10:14 PM

    This is great Marc and really useful to me – thanks! I get so caught up in details, and I love drawing digitally but it does tend to exacerbate that tendency of mine. So using a finger instead of a stylus and working really loosely like this would be a great exercise for me! Definitely going to spend some time doing this – thanks again!

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