Tag Archives: Brushes

Last pic for a few days I think…

Tonight is installation of new vicar (yay, she seems like a good fit for our place) and tomorrow is youth group. Saturday is seeing off nephew number 2 to the other side of the world for a year out and so on… So it’s going to be hectic the next few days. Add to that a boat load of marking 🙁 and the writing of a pitch which I’m very keen on – and therefore more nervous of getting wrong –  and it’s going to be a busy time of it all.

Did this yesterday in a low hour. Had a meeting/chat with a young person who is seriously ill and who has little chance of recovery so went home, cracked open a diet coke (seemed the better choice) and finished this off  because my mind was so restless. Being on the sidelines as someone fights serious illness is pretty wretched although, obviously, not as painful as fighting the illness itself.

I’ve been loading up and not finishing the picture below for a couple of days but last night it just seemed to click and found itself completed fairly easily. It didn’t improve my mood too greatly -feeling fairly unimportant in the grand scheme of things – nor did the fact that the latest iteration of the Brushes viewer has a bug which is stopping it from upscaling imagery until there’s a patch released. (That said this in a year of hammering it this is the first bug I’ve encountered in the software to any great extent – it was just a matter of timing that’s all…)

So, final pic for a half week or so I think. Done in Brushes on the iPad over three days. It shows the battle between the Black Mite and good King Marty. May herald a slight shift of style for me – I certainly enjoyed the doing of it and it reminded me of something I wanted to try out a while ago and may shift onto sometime in the near future… We’ll see. For now it’s onwards to marking 🙁 With a few other things on my mind.

Marmite being a theme of mine…..

Drawn on two bus journeys (hmm spell checker only accepts that one as opposed to what I thought was correct: journies? Odd. Hey ho good job no-one’s looking at my writing eh?) As often – drawn on an iPod touch using the Brushes app… Which isn’t to say I’m not also using the iPad when time allows but for bus journies (?) it’s the iPod that gets the workout.

New Marmitey…

Doodled this yesterday on my iPod touch which is still getting about as much as use as the iPad is… iPad’s getting there, and as lovely as it has been from day one, but Brushes is still by no means as simple a fit on the bigger screen as it feels on the smaller one. Witness this character which I only drew because the two I’ve been working on on the Pad haven’t been working out as smoothly as I want them to.

Loads of Pixelmator additions to the pic, well, 20% or so? A few colours, a few things fixed, couple of highlights etc as well as the gradient background fairly obviously… But loads of fun as ever to doodle on. I do have a larger image type thing in mind with the Marmitey’s I’ve come up with and a few extras but the likelihood of it ever coming to be is as low as any of my ideas coming to the sort of fruition I dream of…

Speed doodle.

So, what feels like a million years ago, I was very into comic book artwork. Possibly unhealthily so 🙂 I can remember the first picture that grabbed me (Ian Gibson’s mighty double page Dredd spread for his second part of the City of the Damned storyline) and from that point on one of my eyes was always pointed to a comic or where I might buy one…. And I found a HUGE amount of awesome artists to follow and grow up with from the pages of 2000ad and then the vast realm of Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and indie comics. It remains a slight passion of mine but, and I hate to say this, with the advance of Image and the over the top, barely dressed and ludicrous excesses that followed I gave up on comics for a long while.

Funnily enough I chatted to the marvellous Nick Page recently and he pretty much said that spoke of his experience. He suggested I read Bone and a strange French comic he couldn’t remember the name of, I suggested Invincible and Cerebus by return.

Cerebus brought me back to comics, but that’s a little unfair to Cerebus. Sim and Gerhard’s sequential story is to comics what the space shuttle is to elevators. It is a comic, yes, but it’s also amongst the finest works of literature I can think of having read and enjoyed and deserves a far higher place in people’s estimations that the word comic will limit it to.

Invincible is different. It’s a teen soap opera with superheroes. It’s beatifully paced, wonderfully drawn, dramatic and ugly at turns, comic and joyous at others. It’s brought me back to comics in a big way. Wonderful stuff. Sometimes very ugly, brutal and powerful stuff but, if I were to read a comic book fight scene I’d want to feel the punches, not see it as a nothing, trite, consequence free series of coloured in boxes.

(Different subject but the Comics X app on the iPad is a thing of joy. That said one comic I picked up today did leave me in a very low mood because of its content. Not over violent but very affecting).

So, anyhow, when I had ten minutes to doodle today following being out with le fam Invin sprung to mind and this came out of the Pad.

Long winded way of saying: did a doodle.

Doctor Who

So I’m more than enjoying the new series of Doctor Who. There’s been a couple of dud moments but nothing like the rollercoaster of quality that the past four series were and, so far, it feels like a story being told by someone (to mix the metaphors) with very safe hands.

So, in the back of my mind are the two Dr Who stories that I’ve always wanted to write and, since I’ve got to set myself a project on the iPad to keep my brain ticking over, I feel I may pick one of those and illustrate it… Maybe. I’ve been asked a couple of times what the next project will be and that, I think, is it. To begin with I’ve started to draw out some doodles and for the lunchtime just gone, I thought I’d have a bash at a Doctor doodle.

And, for the first time it’s a picture that’s done what I wanted on the bigger version of my favourite art app. Brushes on the iPod touch I felt as if I’d, if not mastered, then had a high level of confidence in. Brushes on the iPad pretty much tore me down to the beginning, or at least the foundation stones. This is the first picture, number 64 my untitled library tells me, that I can point to and say it didn’t fight me throughout. Hurrah.

More to come, I think, although I’ve got a fair amount of other stuff to sort through as well.

Sketchbook Pro face

OK now some of you may have noticed I’m very much into the Brushes app on iPad and iPod. That’s not to say that I’m not open to the idea of other apps, nor do I avoid contact that isn’t anything Brush related. Far from it; I have a page of apps devoted to the creative tools and have an interest in all of them (Sketchbook, Art Studio, Brushes beta, Inspire, Layers, Harmonious, Typedrawing, Artisan, SpawnHD, iFractal and Trippingfest in case you’re wondering). I just haven’t found anything I like anywhere near as much as I do Brushes.

It’s not perfect: the viewer tool is a little broken on the iPod -> Mac version (taking the layer order over the drawn order as timeline priority), the line tool isn’t as strong as Sketchbook’s (no auto-smoothing), there’s no move layer tool on the iPod version (although issue 1 and 3 have been fixed in the iPad version) and so on. I can think of a dozen or more improvements I’d love to suggest to Steve Sprang if we had the chance to chat about what would be amazing to see in future releases (movie exporter with selectable render layers, type, custom brush designer, brush rotation alongside spacing, psd file export and so on) but the first thing I would say would be ‘thanks for such an amazing tool. It’s a job to use.’

So, not perfect but awesome regardless.

That said I do often try and create pictures with the other apps, I just find their limitations, particularly their UI limitations, immensely frustrating. Layers has some sweet touches but shake for interface? No thanks (yes I know this has been optioned but even so a crackers idea. Still, it was the first tool with layers so big kudos to them for that), Art Studio has a LOVELY dry brush tool but, again, I find the UI clumsy and unwieldy. Sketchbook has a beautiful and useful mirror drawing tool which I LOVE to pieces, as well as a sweet line smoothing tool but is slooooow and the UI is, again, aimed for precision and thoughtful contemplation rather than speed of doodlage. I want to draw and think as little as possible about the steps I have to take to progress forwards. Sketchbook’s UI feels like a satnav set to a foreign language.

That said I did doodle this today (edit: yesterday but have been sick as a sickpig through night hence delay) which is as far as I could get. I would like to have coloured it in more and smoothed some of the lines but enough was enough. Maybe one day I’ll get a workflow sorted on another app but, for the moment, Brushes hits the speed spot.