The late, great Dan Love was a good friend and a technological guru who pushed me kicking and screaming into new computers and gadgets I never realized I needed until I started to use them. He was passionate about computers and cameras and constantly upgraded his toys and offered his castoffs to his fortunate friends at tremendous discounts. One of the last gizmos I got from Dan was an iPad Pro complete with the Apple Pencil that goes along with it. It’s a terrific package and once I worked in the art program Procreate in conjunction with that pencil, I thought the very nature of how I produce art would change forever.
But it hasn’t worked out that way.
Despite being constantly at hand, the tablet doesn’t insist that I draw upon it as my various sketchbooks do. It may be the tactile sensation of pencil upon paper. The electric pencil in contact with the tablet is plastic on glass which isn’t the same as real drawing. The program may do a great job of imitating various artistic media, but it doesn’t feel right. It may be that once real ink is laid down the commitment is made and there are no infinite “un-do’s” as there is in the digital program. Perhaps I am returning to being a Luddite now that Dan is gone. Sorry, Dan.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to put my computers in mothballs. I still work digitally every day. The space hippie at the top of the post was drawn and inked by hand but colored on the computer in Affinity Photo. The type treatment was completely done on the computer in Affinity Designer. Ultimately, it all ends up in the digital realm in order to print it or display it on the web. There is no escaping digital tools in this day and age.
Outside of my vector Halloween Heads, I don’t think I am going back to drawing on the computer. Yes, I did have to haul out my light-box in order to transfer my sketchbook sketch to bristol board, and I did do the inked drawing twice because I wasn’t happy with the first pass, but ultimately it was satisfying. More so than scrawling on a glass tablet. Coloring will probably remain digital, but the initial sketches and finished black and white work is going to be analog.