Keeping it loose in digital.

  • I'm working on a book dummy, so I'm bringing in some pencil/paper sketches into photoshop. I like my paper drawings SO much more than my digital ones. They're looser, more lively even if unpolished. I seem to lose that quality when I cross over to digital. I love so many things about photoshop, but this is a problem. I know there are artists out there that do most of their work on paper, and then touch it up and paint in photoshop, but I'm not sure if I want to do that. Do any of you have any advice on how to keep that "life" in your digital sketches?

  • are you drawing on a tablet or using a tablet monitor? I work on a cinque and to me it is easier to be dynamic digitally than it is on paper. It helps if you start with a big loose brush but most of the same stuff like line ghosting is no different from trad to digital

  • Hi @Laurel-Aylesworth. I know what you mean, it seems like the two should be similar, but they really can feel so different. It might be helpful to see what you're talking about, ie if you could post some examples.

    For me, I don't have a cintiq yet, so drawing with a tablet and having that disconnect between what I'm drawing and where my hand is absolutely gives me less control, which makes it harder if not impossible to be as loose yet accurate as I am with pencil and paper. What happens for me is, because of this loss of control, I end up zoning in on specific areas and tend more to overwork them than I would with pencil on paper.

    Another thing that has helped me a little bit is just doing more warm ups. This is useful for me in general, but especially working on the tablet, because I need to accustom myself to the feel of it and get a sense of what strokes work and what just feels awkward again.

    Thirdly, I have experimented with different brushes a bit and have found that if you can find one that has a little bit of randomness and texture, something like one that emulates a pencil, that can help a lot. The basic smooth round brush, because it's so clean, can really accentuate any imperfections in the line, especially if you're trying to get a more hand drawn type of feel.

    Fourth, I recently discovered the smoothing setting for photoshop brushes, and that has helped tremendously in getting nice curves and smooth lines. You might want to take some time to play around with that on your brushes and see if you can find a setting that helps.

    Finally, I think a lot of it for me has also just been getting more mileage with my tablet in photoshop. It really is a different medium, and I think it's a bit deceptive because it looks and feels like it should be just like a pencil on paper. But the more I do it, the more fluid I can get. I don't know if it will ever be exactly like what I can make with a pencil and paper, but I definitely feel more capable of giving things a sense of liveliness that I couldn't before.

    Hope that helps!

  • @robgale Yes, thank you for that. I agree with just putting more time in front of the Cintiq because for me, it's the slickness that I'm not crazy about. Whereas paper has some more resistance. I think it's a matter of putting in those hours to get to that comfort zone. And I like your idea of warm up time too. I'm also going to try playing music as well to see if that helps.

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