Saturday, January 11, 2014

Digital sketching and collage



Hi. Terry Grant here. I got an iPad awhile back and wondered if I could really create art using some of the drawing apps that are available. I have to confess that I downloaded several and tried them out without much success, grew frustrated and kind of set them aside. Then I heard about Artrage and saw some work that was being done so I tried it and found it really user friendly, with a lot of features—almost too many. While I was captivated with all it can do, I was a little overwhelmed. Then a couple weeks ago I was in Starbucks and picked up their card with the free download of the week—an app called Sketch Club. It was just what I needed to start really working at this digital art thing! It is user friendly and has enough features to work with until I really get the hang of working with it.

One of the things I love about the program is that you really can work in layers in a combination of drawing, painting and photo collage. Just to demonstrate, I decided to put together a quick collage-y piece using just what was at hand—the iPad, the newspaper and my red coffee mug. I started by taking a photo of the newspaper laying on the table and loaded it into Sketch Club as the first layer. Then I added another layer and started using the painting tools to paint my mug. By the way, I am using a New Trent Arcadia stylus to draw with. You can see it above, next to my iPad.

Since the painted image is on a separate layer from the newspaper image, it is independent from the newspaper image and I will be able to move it around later if I want to. The painting is a bit crude, so now I can refine it a little by blending the "paint" with the smudge or blur tool.


I added some highlights and blended them in too. Now it is beginning to look a little more painterly. I could see that I was not going to want that mug smack dab in the center of the piece, so I moved it to a better location and I added another layer for a line drawing, and another layer behind the mug for a shadow.

Because the black line drawing is on a separate layer I can erase any parts I don't like, without affecting the other layers, or even remove that layer if I decide I don't like the drawing. The shadow is way too dark. I can adjust it by lessening the opacity of the shadow layer.

It could be finished at this point, but I thought it would be richer if I added some texture and adjusted the opacity of the newspaper background, which seemed pretty stark. The app gives you quite a few choices of texture brushes, including crosshatching and that subtle basket weave pattern. I added new layers to test them out on and saved the ones I liked. Here is the finished piece.


I do not feel at all expert with this, but I am learning something new with every piece! I can see my iPad becoming my new sketchbook.

6 comments:

  1. Very interesting, Terry & I loved seeing how the piece developed. I was very impressed to see the work of David Hockney, who, at 76, is using an iPad to create some amazing work: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/10/the-ipad-is-an-artists-canvas-for-david-hockney/?_r=0
    It's never too late to embrace new technology!

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  2. Thanks for the step by step. It gives me ideas on how to use parts of my photo programme.
    Sandy in the UK

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  3. Very nice! I have also been experimenting with art apps. They sure can be complicated. I like sketchbook pro and My Brushes pro and Art Set is a beautiful app and just plain fun! Always something new to learn huh? Sharon from Idaho

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  4. This is great! Thanks for sharing! Have you used paper53? It's fun to play with and very simple...

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  5. Nice!. I find I use my android tablet more than my paper sketchbook now, it's very addictive. I use sketchbook pro the most, and sometimes photoshop touch.

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