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New: Sketchbook Gallery

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New: Sketchbook Gallery

A new art gallery has been added to my site: the sketchbook, a collection of pencil drawings.

The new sketchbook gallery section.

For several years, I fell from the practice of frequent sketching, something I had always done. This was in part due to becoming more of a digital artist. The use of my paper sketchbooks slowed until I eventually stopped using them. I flexed my creativity and skills in other ways but had ceased to practice much with a pencil.

That changed when I discovered sketching on my iPad, which lead to drawing on my Cintiq. Even though I can create amazing painterly illustrations in Photoshop, I've been focusing on the basics of pencil style drawings. I have a few favorite digital pencils that I've been using for quick sketches and more refined drawings.

I will keep the sketchbook section limited to pencil drawings, both created digitally and on paper. While it is currently mostly figurative work, all digital, I hope for it to grow with a diversity of subjects, styles, and levels of polish.

I photoshopped my digital drawings into a photograph I took of my blank sketchbook.

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Facebook Pages Are Not For Artists

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Facebook Pages Are Not For Artists

It was nice while it lasted, Facebook, but I'm giving up on the page I created to share my artwork. Why? You gave up on me. For a couple years now, you've been shrinking the reach of my posts. At the time of this writing, less than 10% of my page's 526 fans (the people who explicitly requested to see my artwork) typically see my posts. The page feels useless.

FinalFBscreenshot.png

It's not fun anymore.

Being social is fun. You took away the fun, Facebook, by restricting people from seeing my art while I put forth the effort to show it off. It's no fun performing to a near empty theater when ticket holders are in the lobby trying to look in. 

That is, unless I pay up. Look, I understand that you have to make money. But I don't think it's fair to treat independent artists as you do billion dollar corporations. You do it because you earn more this way from big businesses, though us small shops struggle.

I once experimented with paid posts. $5 here, $10 there. Without a long-term budget, an occasional paid promotion doesn't bring lasting value. My page otherwise costs me nothing but my time and effort. As easy as it is to upload art, that minimal effort no longer feels worth it.

I began the page in May of 2011 by documenting the creation of my mural at Whole Foods in Boulder. A large project like that was a great way to kick off the page as I gained a good following at a time when the content reached more people. I enjoyed using it until your algorithm changes chipped away at the fun. 

Facebook Pages are for large corporations, not independent artists.

This is why I shut down my page:

I thought about merely letting it sit dormant so it shows up in searches, or for people to stumble upon and discover my work. However, I'd rather be free of its mental nagging from the back of my internet experience than watch its social potential rot from vacancy and time.

Facebook, thanks for nothing!

 

Other places to follow my work:

Get art updates from this blog in your email.

 

Follow my art and musings on Twitter here: @Lowtwait

 

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New Art Tool: Wacom Cintiq 22HD Touch

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New Art Tool: Wacom Cintiq 22HD Touch

My new Cintiq!

My new Cintiq!

My fourth tablet over the years: Wacom Intuos 4.

I've been drawing on a Wacom tablet for over fifteen years, the kind without the screen like the one here. To draw digitally, I would look at my computer screen while my hand drew on the tablet outside of my field of vision. I usually held it in my lap. I can't remember when I first got a Wacom tablet whether I struggled to learn that skill, but it became natural for me to draw that way.

 

I drew on my iPad with a Jot Touch, usually in the app called Procreate. (This photo isn't me.)

When I got an iPad a couple years ago, I began to play around with some art apps. I bought a professional stylus that would give me the pressure sensitive control I was used to on my Wacom tablet. Because it's a more natural way to draw digitally, I started to prefer working directly on the screen. I've even done many professional illustrations on my iPad. But the iPad has limitations in terms of resolution and other factors for professional imagery.

 

The large 22 inch screen of my new Cintiq 22HD Touch. (This photo isn't me either.)

Eventually, it became time for me to get the mother of all Wacom products, a Cintiq. I've used one before but had only doodled on them at a friend's house. I hadn't done any professional work on one. In moving to Los Angeles to return to animation, it was the right time. When I left animation in 2002, most production work was still paper based. No more. I needed a Cintiq to draw the freelance backgrounds I've been doing for Cartoon Network.

Not only do I use the Cintiq for my animation work, I now do my freelance illustration on it. Furthermore, it offers an array of new options for digital art that weren't available to me before. While I've done plenty of illustration in Photoshop, I'm really discovering the power of digital painting in creative new ways. It's amazing!

A wolf drawing I did to experiment with natural pencil lines and textured brushes in Photoshop.

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Thank you, Colorado. Hello, California.

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Thank you, Colorado. Hello, California.

The last dozen years of my illustration career does not quite reflect my talent for cartooning. My portfolio is rife with artwork of scenery and architecture. But I am a cartoonist. Upon graduating art school in the 1990s, I entered the field of animation at Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Los Angeles where I became a background designer and storyboard artist.

I loved animation work. I thrived in a highly creative industry with many talented artists around me. It's fun to work on shows that are enjoyed by millions of people. But with that, I had to live in Los Angeles. It's not that I disliked the city, rather I longed for a different lifestyle. After seven years in LA, I moved to Boulder, Colorado where I built a prolific freelance illustration career.

In Colorado, I hiked and snowboarded. I became a homeowner thrice. I drove my 1967 Jeep in snowstorms and a sidecar motorcycle in the summer with my dog. I lived in town and in the mountains. I survived a flood. I raised money for Colorado's fire and flood relief with my art. I created hundreds of artworks. I started businesses to both success and failure. I got married on a mountain patio in winter. My wife and I had a son. I made lifelong friends. Colorado was good to me for a over twelve years.

The deck of our Colorado home.

The deck of our Colorado home.

You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.

Our new LA home.

Our new LA home.

Last week, I returned to California, this time with my family.

I never left animation because I didn't like the work. In fact, I've missed it through the years. I am actively looking for work as a storyboard artist or background designer in television animation. Stepping away from animation made me I realize how much passion I have for cartooning and storytelling. As good as I am at illustrating landmarks, I'm better at telling stories through art.

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Goodbye Adobe Creative Suite/Cloud

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Goodbye Adobe Creative Suite/Cloud

This cemetery piece is my first full digital illustration created in 1990 using Photoshop 2.1 and drawn with a mouse.

After decades of using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator as my primary creative tools, I'm ditching them.

I first discovered digital art in high school using Photoshop 1.0. From there, I kept experimenting and learning more. Through art school, I used Adobe's apps as they grew, and I grew with them. In the years I worked in animation, I used Photoshop and Illustrator less frequently. However, when I later became a professional freelance illustrator, I embraced them and became heavily steeped in Adobe's Creative Suite. It was my means to creating art.

Recently, Adobe switched their business model to a subscription service now called Creative Cloud. You subscribe to monthly access to the apps instead of purchasing them. The pros and cons of this move can be found in debates across the web.

For me, I agree with some of the arguments against it. I believe Adobe overprices themselves. The apps are bloated with features and can be slow. I've faced some serious technical issues. But mainly, I want to own the tools I use to do my most important work, not rent them. It's as simple as that.


 

Pixelmator is my replacement for Photoshop.

Pixelmator 3

 

Sketch is my replacement for Illustrator.

Sketch 2


It took research and experimentation with free trials of many apps before I settled on these two. Neither is as feature rich as Photoshop or Illustrator, but I didn't use most of what Adobe offered. In some places, Pixelmator and Sketch lack tools or shortcuts I'm used to having. However, they are not just capable apps, but in several areas offer much more efficient ways of working.

It's also a good feeling to support the underdog software developers going up against the big Adobe. I don't dislike Adobe, rather I found solutions that nowadays work better for me. Sketch in particular is such a vast departure from Illustrator, that it really shows where they've improved upon usability.

I'm just starting out but I look forward to becoming more fluent with these powerful tools. I will create great artwork with them!

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Dribbble Success: Work-in-Progress

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Dribbble Success: Work-in-Progress

Screenshot of Dribbble with my art in 4th place.

There's a lively community of creative people at Dribbble.com. It's somewhat like Twitter for artists. Like many members, I use it to share progress of illustrations and designs that I'm currently working on. Sometimes I solicit feedback from the community. Sometimes I just want to share.

The Art Deco school entrance.

Lately I've been working on a poster series of historic schools in Boulder. I can't share the full finished pieces until after they are all complete, so I've only shown small details. Last Thursday night, I posted this entrance of an Art Deco school. Then I went to bed. I woke up the next morning to find it became very popular on Dribbble. Throughout Friday, it climbed to the 4th most popular image on the entire site! It was by far my best performing post which was a great feeling. Per Dribbble's algorithms, it eventually fell from grace but it saw over 1,200 views and I gained 46 new followers in less than a day. 


 

The pink basketball icon in the footer of my site (the Dribbble logo) links to my Dribbble page so you can always peek at what I'm working on.

 

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