Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mail Bag

Here's an email I received recently and my response. I do get this question from time to time, so I thought I would post this in case there were any readers who might find it useful:

I'm a really big fan of yours! Your style is just so amazing, and I love it. But, uh, I know this sounds dumb, you probably get a ton of questions on this, but...To emulate the colouring style, and just the basic outline of it all, how would I manage that? I'm assuming it's digital, which is cool. But I really like the grainy textures and smooth, vectorish looking figures. If you have any tips or anything, that'd be wonderful! Thank you.

Hi, and thanks for the compliments!

You are correct, I create all of my art digitally, and I use a Wacom tablet to create my drawings in Photoshop. If you don't have a tablet, I highly recommend looking into one if you are wanting to do digital illustration. You don't need a fancy one; as the difference between using a mouse and using any tablet whatsoever is like night and day.

Even though I do a lot of smooth "vectorish" line work, I always use Photoshop rather than a vector program like Illustrator. The reason is that I just find it more user friendly for my purposes. In Photoshop you simply take the brush tool and draw whatever you want wherever you want, like a real life painting. In illustrator I find that it is much more about fidgeting around with lines to get them exactly right, which personally I find a bit cumbersome when trying to make an organic drawing.

As far as the different textures used in my work, it basically boils down to different brushes in Photoshop. For smoother lines I use a brush that emulates sort of a pencil line, so that it is smooth but still has an uneven natural quality to it. but for more grainy or blurry lines (like when I'm doing "shading") I use a brush that has sort of a chalk look to it. I have created my own custom brushes after years of whittling down what I like and use the most. Beyond that it's just lots and lots of practice!

A while ago I did a series of posts explaining my process which you can find here:
At the top of each post is a list of links to all the other parts, 1 through 5.