The Same Pine Cone, but from a Different Angle

The Same Pine Cone, but from Different Angle

The Same Pine Cone, but from Different Angle

Yup, I’ve drawn another pine cone. They’re good things to draw actually; Easy to get lost within their folds and shadows and crinkly bits, although it can be tricky remembering which sticky-out bit I’m drawing at any one time.

Here are some photos of the drawing at different stages of completion…

First find your pine cone. Put it somewhere where it won't be moved.

First find your pine cone. Put it somewhere where it won't be moved.

Sketch out initial outlines. Do this quite quickly to get an overall sense of geometric shape without getting bogged down in detail.

Sketch out initial outlines. Do this quite quickly to get an overall sense of geometric shape without getting bogged down in detail.

Quickly block out the areas of shadow and light.

Quickly block out the areas of shadow and light.

Start layering on more hatching to suggest variations in shading and tone.

Start layering on more hatching to suggest variations in shading and tone.

Continuing hatching away to bring out detail, light and shading. Hatch, hatch, hatch! Hours of fun.

Continuing hatching away to bring out detail, light and shading. Hatch, hatch, hatch! Hours of fun.

Be careful not to spill ink all over the nearly completed work. That would be a disaster. Or art.

Be careful not to spill ink all over the nearly completed work. That would be a disaster. Or art.

Tada! And the drawing is finally complete. I've probably overdone it on the hatching actually, but never mind. I had fun. Hatching can be addictive.

Tada! And the drawing is finally complete. I've probably overdone it on the hatching actually, but never mind. I had fun. Hatching can be addictive.

Recent Pen and Ink Drawings

I’ve been making a conscious effort to get away from the computer and do more drawings on, shock, horror, actual paper, using actual pens and inks. Photoshop, Illustrator and all the rest are great for doing very specific tasks, quickly, to meet deadlines, but I think they have actually become part of the reason I’ve become stuck into a bit of an artistic rut. Maybe the best thing for me to do is to forgo using the computer whenever I can, and try to get back to, really, what made me interested in art in the first place; Pen and ink drawings.

Re-inspired by a combination of the drawings gallery at the British Museum, a 1-day Drawing from Nature workshop I attended recently at the Royal College of Art, and also by the drawings of Robert Hooke, but also, more importantly, because my mum told me to, I have decided to try start drawing properly again on a regular basis.

Um, well, I haven’t managed to do many drawings yet, but here are a few of the more successful ones so far. Must try harder though….

Fallen Leaf

Fallen Leaf

Conker!

Conker!

Pine Cone!

Pine Cone!

Speedy Shadow of the Toddling Shoes

My daughter's shoes

My daughter's shoes

The trouble with drawing from life, is that the Sun moves so fast I can’t finish the shadows. I must try to draw faster. Or take a photo.

Mega Space City of the Future

Mega Space City of the Future

Mega Space City of the Future

I’m trying to make more of a conscious effort to get back to drawing with non-digital media. At least to start off with anyway. I drew the the roughs out in pencil and ink, on actual, real-live, physical paper, did the final line-work really carefully with a dip-pen, and then scanned it and coloured it in using Photoshop.

Not sure how successful this is as an image. I think I need more practice with the dip-pens and to make the line-work a bit more interesting. Also, I am now thinking that some of my earlier colour iterations are actually better than the finished work. Never mind though! Its up on Threadless for voting for one more day.

Mega Space City of the Future, iterations

Mega Space City of the Future, iterations

Knight on a Bike!

The original KinghtRider. And Kitt, the cat.

The original KinghtRider. And Kitt, the cat.

I don’t know why, but I thought it’d be nice to draw a knight riding his trusty stead.

Here are some of the progressive iterations I made while drawing this.

Progression of Knights on Bikes

Progression of Knights on Bikes

My New Wacom Cintiq 12WX

I’ve finally bit the bullet and laid down the cash for a new Wacom Cintiq to replace my ten year old Intuos. It’s terrifyingly expensive, compared, to say, a mouse, for example. I’m really happy with it though, and I’m glad I got it.

Anyway, here is a short review of the Cintiq, and pros and cons as I see them.

Arrival

I spent about a week tracking my Cintiq’s progress across Europe, via the UPS tracking system. It seemed  to be heading in the wrong direction at first, but fortunetly it did a screeching 180 degree turn around Nürnberg, and thereafter started heading in a vaguely London-y sort of direction. Phew! Initial disaster averted!

Route of the Cintiq across northwest Europe

Route of the Cintiq across northwest Europe

When it eventually arrived, the box looked like this, and it smelt nice when I opened it. This box itself came in an even bigger cardboard box, which I intend to turn into a small car for my toddler daughter later; Bonus points to Wacom for that.

The box that the Cintiq came in smells nice

The box that the Cintiq came in smells nice

Setting Up

The Wacom Cintiq 12W is essentially a small monitor screen and tablet combined. Hence the first big stumbling block, being a monitor, is that it needs it’s own power supply and also to be plugged into the computer’s graphics card, as well as the USB. Thats a lot of cables and a power supply unit that one needs to mess around with, and as such, it reveals that the Cintiq isn’t as portable as Wacom’s advertising likes to suggest. With current technology being what it is however, I can understand that this is a necessary compromise for something like this. Wacom have dealt with it relatively well by having everything go through special brick-like box. This helps to keep things a bit tidier than they might otherwise be, and it also means that only one cable needs to actually lead into the tablet itself, from the special box.

The Special Wacom Box

The Special Wacom Box

The special box also has controls for adjusting the display on the Cintiq.

Cintiq / Macbook setup

Cintiq / Macbook setup

There is also a stand underneath the tablet, so you can set it up on your desk at a drawing angle, like a proper drawing board. I’ve found that in practice, so far, I’ve tended not to use this as much as having the wacom on my lap, but its good to know that the option is there.

The Cintiq has a stand!

The Cintiq has a stand!

Drawing

Initially I was slightly worried that I should have saved up twice as much money and went for the bigger Cintiq. The screen is a bit small. Having said that, I quickly got used to it. I also found that, as the Cintiq has a long cable, I was able to sit back in my chair, and draw in a more comfortable position  with the Cintiq on my lap. Being able to turn the tablet around and draw on it like I would draw on paper was just brilliant.

One small gotcha to look out for when drawing in bitmap, is due to the small screen size, and if you’re working a very large canvas, lines that look fine when drawn at 25% zoom can turn out to be a bit jaggedy at less than 100% zoom. That can be slightly annoying, but something I can learn to work around.

The buttons on the side of the table are great to work with. There is a zoom slider, a button to drag the canvas around both of which are very useful for drawing with. There is also a button to switch the cursor between different monitors, without having to mess around with different input devices, or split the resolution of the tablet between monitors. I long dreamt of such a button ever since I first started attempting to use my old Intuos tablet in multiple monitor setups. Its great! It means I can easily put reference material up on my laptop screen, and carry on working on my Cintiq screen.

Buttons on my wacom!

Buttons on my wacom!

The pen is the same as an Intuos, and comes with a handy pen holder. Nothing new there, but all good. Having said that, being able to actually see what you’re drawing with it, in contact with the screen, makes using it much more intuitive and enjoyable than with an Intuos.

Wacom pen

Wacom pen

This is the big thing really, with this Cintiq, being able to actually see what you’re drawing. It removes a whole layer a thinking involved when drawing with an Intuos, where you have to be able to draw looking up at the computer screen while your hand draws out of sight. Its not a particularly nice way of working really. In comparison, with the Cintiq, I was quickly able to just get on with the drawing itself, without using up yet more of my increasingly rare spare brain cells on the non-drawing stuff.

Conclusion

I think my new Wacom Cintiq is brilliant. I haven’t felt this exited about drawing stuff for a long long time, and my head has been spinning with lots of new ideas. Although its a massive financial hit in the wallet, I think it will turn out to be worth every penny, and I am confident that it will pay for itself very quickly. Hurray!

My new Wacom Cintiq 12XW is the best thing ever

My new Wacom Cintiq 12WX is the best thing ever