Friday, February 21, 2014

The Old Dog, New Trick thing

I don't know if anyone is enjoying the digital drawings that June and I are exchanging every Sunday,* but I sure am. This drawing on the iPad has opened up a whole new world for me. Why, you might wonder, am I doing it and what does it have to do with the fabric art that I do? Well, I sort of think that all art relates to all art. The iPad drawings are the same kind of exercise for mind and eye that drawing with a pencil is, but because it is sort of novel it gives me yet another way of seeing and working things out. I am having a lot of fun discovering how it all works and the tricks of getting particular kinds of effects.

In the interest of full disclosure, just so you don't think I have learned all this in just a few short weeks, I have to remind you that I have been using digital tools for illustration for a long time. My pre-retirement profession was graphic design and I used both Illustrator and Photoshop for years, so the fundamentals were in place. (Here is a post I wrote a couple years ago about Illustrator)  But the iPad and the drawing apps are a bit different—designed to make the experience less mechanical than Illustrator, for example, and more like working with paper and traditional media, yet with the cool advantages that the digital media offers. The apps I like include Sketch Club, Artrage, and Brushes, which I haven't used a lot yet, but it was one of the earlier drawing apps and the one David Hockney uses. With these I use a New Trent Arcadia stylus, which I like quite a lot.

Today I downloaded a new app called Glaze, which is not actually for drawing or painting, but takes a drawing made in another app and applies a variety of effects to it. You can also use it on photos to make them cool and painterly. I had to try it out on something, so I quickly drew a simple, crude little vase, using Sketch Club. Here is my original drawing.

Then I opened it in Glaze and added different effects. These were my four favorite, right out of the box.

Pretty astonishing, in my opinion. There will always be painters and fine artists, but I really think the digital stuff will revolutionize the commercial, illustrative art world. For me, it is keeping my brain and hands nimble and making my brain wrap around a whole new way of working. I don't know how it will affect my other art work, but I just bet that it will. I am an old dog and I am learning new tricks and it is a little bit exhilarating!

*My friend June Underwood, who is a painter, and I post a digital drawing on my blog every Sunday. It is a small challenge to each other to keep learning and growing. We propose a theme that we use each week. We welcome anyone to play along with us. Send me your digital drawing or a link to your own blog or site. Use our theme or do your own thing. Tell us your experiences!


  1. I look forward to your sketches each week. They have all been amazing! I am hoping to jump in with both feet, but not till later this year! We are in the moving process at the moment, from Louisiana to Texas.

  2. I am enjoying it. I may try something in PSP sometime as I don't have fancy hand-held devices. Though I use PSP for adapting things I want to use for jumping off places for my textile art, I don't really try to draw with it. I think I would have to get a stylus or something.
    Sandy in the UK

  3. I like to see what the new apps are and what they can do. Wish I had more time to experiment with stuff like that. So I enjoy greatly that you're sharing your journey.

  4. I want to try this on my iPad! But keep forgetting to buy a stylus. It should be something with a rubber tip? I'm not even sure what to look for. My daughter is a graphic design major and I'm sure you're right about the digital revolution. Some of the things she's done have blown me away. Thank you so much for sharing all this information.