Just after Christmas my cousins daughter, Tomika, turned 10 . . . DOUBLE FIGURES! I remember turning 10, I remember how excited I was to be turning DOUBLE FIGURES . . . Was it just me? Was this a big deal for anyone else? Surely it was . . . wasn’t it?
I can remember so clearly when Mika was born, I remember her as a toddler, as a little girl and it is such a pleasure to watch her grow into beautiful person, inside and out. When I realised (way too late) that this birthday was ‘the big one’ I didn’t care whether she saw it that way or not,(pretty sure I was WAY more excited about it haha) I wanted to give her something special to celebrate it and remember it by. I wanted to show her how special she is to me.
So I drew a picture . . .
Believe it or not I drew this entire image on my iPad Pro with my Apple pencil . . . Pretty sweet huh!
I finally delivered the picture to her last saturday (only a month and a half late! *rolls eyes*) and she loved it . . . Im always so relieved when I find out someone loves what Ive drawn for them, I’m always so worried that they’ll hate it . . .
I’m so pleased with how it turned out.
until next time nerds . . .
My name is Naomi . . . (“hello Naomi”) and I am a digital illustrator.
There, I said it. Somehow I feel like I’m less of an artist for admitting I use digital mediums for most of my illustrations. I KNOW I’m not, but I’m still stuck in that old school mindset . . . Don’t worry, its something I’m working on. Positive reinforcement (mostly in the form of peoples comments) is helping this process, though its taking a long time. I can’t shake the feeling that I am somehow fraudulent for using an IPadpro and an apple pencil to draw instead of a pencil and piece of paper. Of course, once again I KNOW this is all in my head (There is A LOT of stuff floating around up there . . . ).
The absurd thing is that I owe my continued development and creativity to this machine that the ‘authentic artist’ in me is determined to hate! As anyone who has tried to draw knows there is generally a lot of drawing and then erasing while you try to communicate to the page what you see in your mind. Have you ever stopped to wonder how much paper you have gone through for your drafts? When you don’t have a lot of money to spend you become very conscious of how much individual pieces of paper cost. Have you ever stopped to wonder exactly how much energy it takes to erase the same line over and over and over again until you get it right? When you have no energy to expend you become keenly aware of how laborious this process can be. Add to this the doubt and lack of confidence that comes with having convinced yourself years ago that you have no talent and you have some concept of what it was like for me less than one year ago. Fighting all of these things was exhausting and I felt like I was getting no where. I would look on instagram at all of the beautiful drawings and despair at all the exhausting hours I knew were ahead of me drawing and erasing, as I practiced and developed my skill. None of this is conducive to a creative mindset. I began wracking my brain for a way to streamline and make the whole process less exhausting (as i do with all areas of my life). I can’t remember exactly how I settled on it but eventually I happened upon the Ipadpro and the newly developed apple pencil. I watched youtube videos, read reviews and then took the leap.
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways . . .”
My illustrations have improved out of sight over the last six months and I put it down to two things in particular:
- PROCREATE APP – All of the digital illustrations I do are created in this app. SO MANY AWESOME TOOLS! With just my apple pencil I can mimic a 6B pencil, or a watercolour brush. I can create pattens, textures, use layers like in Photoshop and I can export images easily. Erasing is so easy with a tonne of different sizes and opacities but the best part is that all I have to do to undo previous actions is to tap the screen with two fingers. YOU HAVE NO IDEA how much time and effort this saves me. All of these tools, but most of all the ‘undo’ feature meant that I could go in with NO FEAR and just draw knowing it was so easy to undo. I grew bolder with line choices, colour choices and my illustrations in general because that ever constant fear of stuffing it up no longer held any weight. I could practice techniques over and over and not worry about all the paper I would be using up/ wasting. (picture below – a screen shot taken from the Procreate app.)
- PORTABILITY – When attempting drawings with pen/pencil and paper it is preferable to be sitting upright, at a desk/table so you have the utmost control over your mediums. More often then not I would end up ditching the table, curl up in my recliner (Chronic fatigue and fybromyalgia don’t just cause fatigue but quite a lot of pain so sitting upright for long periods of time isn’t often possible) and attempt to draw in my sketchbook. Although it was still possible to draw this way, the drawings were usually less than sub-par and wholly unsatisfying. The Ipadpro is small, fairly lightweight. I can manipulate images on the screen, rotate them, zoom in and out and get the line quality that I want. Most of the digital illustrations I have completed began in some form or another while I have been curled up on a recliner or on my bed. This has meant that I no longer have to wait for a ‘good day’ to draw what I’m feeling or get an image out of my head that has been stuck in there for days. I don’t have to ‘set up’ my drawing area or clear a spot on my desk (EVERYTHING takes energy, every little bit saved is a WIN) I can just pick up my iPad, find a comfy spot on the couch and start drawing. I refine my drawings in procreate and sometimes finish them there. Other times I take the line work and print it out in order to turn it into a painting but all the planning, drawing and erasing is done digitally and this has made all the difference to me.
I’ve been having a bad week
Physically speaking, the last week has been a bit of write-off. You know I’m tired when it seems like an effort to draw something even on the iPad. It’s probably my own fault. I’ve eaten a few things I probably shouldn’t have and so my body has gone on strike in protest. Anyway, yesterday afternoon I’d had enough. If i don’t draw a little everyday it starts effecting my mental health so I got comfy in my trusty recliner, put some Sci-Fi on the telly and started browsing pinterest for inspiration. After forming a picture in my head of what I wanted to draw I just started drawing, the result is the rocking elephant you see above you. Drawn completely in procreate.
I still draw with paper, I’m still developing my skills with watercolours, gouache and coloured pencils (LOVE my coloured pencils) but the hardest part for me, physically and emotionally, has always been just getting started with a concept. Using the ipadpro has effectively eliminated this stress and completely reinvigorated my creative journey. You have to do whatever feels right and whatever works for you and this absolutely feels right for me.