Starstruck update

Update to my posts of a week or two ago.

In the interim of buying a new set of the original Epic run on eBay and the new copies arriving, I, of course, found the missing box of comics that contained the original copies. It turns out I had not picked up one of the original issues when I was a kid, and it was one of the issues that was expanded for the new collection.

I think it’s a good idea for me to review the original incarnations soon.

reflections on this image making excercise

Just over a week ago I started expecting myself to execute and post a digital drawing or painting every day, using the iPad or my more-capable graphics tablet, a 12-inch Wacom Cintiq. Both offer a direct-display drawing experience. The Cintiq is a more capable tool because it offers gradations of pressure sensitivity and the stylus also delivers information about velocity, tilt, and other factors that comprise the range of data making up a drawing stroke.

However, it is cumbersome and tied to a CPU, in this case a speedy Mac OS X laptop. The iPad, of course, is itself a standalone device.

I have been surprised at the capabilities of the iPad, and how quickly and effectively I have been able to gain and expand my control of marking using the device, considering that there is no actual gradated pressure sensitivity. In general I have been using stylii to craft the images, but in the case of at least one app (Brushes, I think) I noticed that using fingers instantly expands the marking vocabulary (there seems to be some sort of velocity-based interpretive algorith that more effectively creates a varable width mark).

I’m going to press on here, I think. The ease of setup and execution on the iPad really makes it remarkable for this – it’s clearly easier and faster for me to draw on the iPad than in an actual notebook with a pen or pencil, simply because I don’t even have to dig around for the right tool or eraser.

However, of the initial series of drawings, there is one which clearly stands out: the Bacon banjo-neck sketch. This drawing is unquestionably superior in visual impact, fluency, and acuity of observation and execution, as sketchy as it is. The image was entirely created on the Cintiq. I don’t think this is an accident. I look to establish and experiemnt with an iPad-to-Cintiq workflow on an appropriate subject shortly.

Hopeful internet trawling reveals absolutely no trace of Apple looking to license Wacom’s technologies and no clear indication that Apple intends to introduce induction-optional touchscreens, which makes sense in many ways. However, I cannot imagine that Wacom does not see the iPad as a profound threat and I very much look forward to the introduction of a standalone device with all the input capabilities of Wacom’s product line.

Wine glass

wine_glass.jpg Incredibly hurried sketch of a glass on our Halloween tablecloth, literally after finishing cookery and just before serving.

Sawyer's View-Master, Portland ORE


Super quick sketch of an old View-Master. Not entorely successful. I was trying to get after the surface textures of the dark, reflective surface of the device, but the digital emulation of wet oil color mixing led to a loss of control of hue, value, and draftsmanship.

Some limitations of ArtRage’s UI are beginning to crop up for me.

The iPad version does not have drag-reorderable layers. The photoshop-like layer blend settings are only available in the desktop iteration of the app. Only certain settings can be visually controlled via a tap and drag. The layer transparency setting must be entered as a numeric value rather than via tap and drag, which is a bit jarring as it forces the mind out of visual mode and into language and math mode.

Some of the characteristics of the brush are labeled in puzzling ways (for example, there is no clear setting for brush transparency, only for Load, Pressure, Size and a few more. These values are expressed as percentages, which is understandable for all except Size).

Despite this, the app remains far superior for my needs. Brushes, used in the Kirks, was not as goofy to control as I had recalled it being, though. I still don’t get why that app doesn’t implement layers.


kirk_0.jpg On Saturday and Sunday November 5th and 6th I tried a new experiment in my digital drawing and painting exercises. Starting from a photo reference, I created a ‘pencil’ drawing, executed a conte and wash treatment, and reworked the drawings into a painting.

kirk_01.jpg It was important to me that the series take as its’ starting point a very recognizable face and subject, something I have done in the (very distant) past with Elvis Presley. Having been on a bit of a jones for a solid iOS Star Trek game which is not derived from the seventies text-based game (there are none), the iconic mug of James Tiberius Kirk came to mind.

kirk_02.jpg Here are the pics. I have a copy of the initial image but don’t want to post it to avoid the wrath of Paramount. I did look for the original source to link to it but Google’s search results have changed sufficiently from Saturday that I did not find the pic again.

kirk_04.jpg I have also started posting these to my Picasa site.


Old Rocking Chair


This was done with ArtRage for iPad and it is clearly the closest app to what I have been looking for as I go through these apps. It includes every standard photoshop layer transform plus some pretty convincing natural-media textures for both surface and marking tool. I sought out the desktop version after this image was created.