Digital Drawing

Anything else
Post Reply
User avatar
Conner36
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 1:57 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Digital Drawing

Post by Conner36 » Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:21 pm

I've never done any sort of drawing on a computer and was wondering about it. What do you need to get started?

User avatar
Endoperez
Posts: 5668
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:41 am
Location: cold and dark and lovely Finland

Re: Digital Drawing

Post by Endoperez » Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:02 pm

It's hard to draw with a mouse. Totally possible, but graphic tablets are quite cheap these days and much, much easier to draw with, so you should consider getting one. Wacom is one of the most recognized graphic tablet manufacturers, and their Bamboo line of products is cheap.

The other thing you need is a program to draw with. I don't know which one is best. The simplest ones are probably purely online services like Sumo Paint. It works in your browser. Follow the link, then click the "Open Sumo Paint" button in the picture.
http://www.sumopaint.com/home/

That one doesn't support pressure sensitivity in graphic tablets, so if you decide to get one, you might want to download and install some other program. There's expensive ones like Photoshop, Corel Painter and so on, and many free ones like Gimp, ArtRage, ArtWeaver and project dogwaffle. Most of them share several features. Here's two that might be the most important ones.

1) brushes
These are like different pens or brushes. They react differently with the graphic tablet's pressure, and with other colors. Some programs emulate watercolors or oil paints down to the way the colors get mixed or spread. Others just let you change the shape of the brush. Brushes have settings, such as their diameter (size), their opacity, etc. Note that this isn't the tool, also often known as Brush, used. Instead, this is the tip shape of the paint brush.

2) Layers
Sometimes when drawing on paper, you may be afraid to add some detail because it's hard to remove if it doesn't look good. Well, imagine if you could put an invisible sheet of paper above the old one, and draw on that. If it doesn't look good, well, you just take the new sheet away. That's layers. They're awesome.
You can draw rough outlines in one layer, finish them in other, put colours to the third one. You can change their order, their visibility and so on. You may change the way they work with the underlying layer - replace the original colors, darken the original colors, lighten them, etc.


edit:

3) Different tools

Brush tool, or similar, is probably what you want to use. It's used to draw lines. Pen tool, or similar, can also be used to draw lines. Usually the difference is that the edges of strokes made with a Brush are soft, those made with a Pen are hard. There will probably be lots of other tools, but for simple drawing some sort of Brush, Pen, and Eraser are probably all that are needed.

User avatar
Conner36
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 1:57 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Digital Drawing

Post by Conner36 » Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:16 pm

Thanks. The Wacom website seems to be down. Do you know any good articles for deciding what drawing pad to get?

User avatar
Conner36
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 1:57 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Digital Drawing

Post by Conner36 » Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:36 pm

Is autodesk sketchbook a good program?

User avatar
Endoperez
Posts: 5668
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:41 am
Location: cold and dark and lovely Finland

Re: Digital Drawing

Post by Endoperez » Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:48 pm

Conner_36 wrote:Is autodesk sketchbook a good program?
There are so many free alternatives, and so many 30-day trials of commercial programs, that you shouldn't need to buy anything outright. Try different ones, and when you find one that feels comfortable, then buy it.

I don't know much about buying tablets, to be honest. I have an ancient one (pre-USB connectors) that I'm still using at home, and I use huge and probably quite expensive ones at school.

Any graphics tablet should be better than a mouse, at least for drawing, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. Just go for some cheap one that gets decent reviews, and you should be fine.

User avatar
Conner36
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 1:57 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Digital Drawing

Post by Conner36 » Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:26 pm

So using the free sketchbook program from the mac app store I found the mouse very awkward.
First Try1.jpg
First try with mouse
Comments?

User avatar
rudel_ic
official Wolfire heckler
Posts: 2193
Joined: Sun Aug 28, 2005 11:19 pm
Location: Hamburg City
Contact:

Re: Digital Drawing

Post by rudel_ic » Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:24 pm

So here's a workflow that sort of works without a Wacom thing:
Get Gimp, get a scanner (or a webcam), get paper and a pencil, draw stuff, scan the stuff (or take a photo of it with that webcam, whatever works dude), open the scan with Gimp, separate objects into layers, trace stuff (might want to use bezier paths), refine, take your time, elaborate in terms of color (filling, smudging, clonestamping, darkening etc is manageable with a mouse).

I do it like that and it works. You can't properly draw with brushes with that approach, I have to say.

Some stuff I sketch with Adobe Ideas, which is an iOS app for sketching purposes. That works pretty well because it's vector-based, so you can zoom in and work on details and stuff stays sharp. Painting with the finger is just okay though. The export path through e-mail introduces compression artifacts and loses the layers, but it's just a sketch, so it doesn't actually matter much.

Of course you want to get a Wacom device or similar when you're getting better because you can trace much better / faster, or even sketch and refine with that to begin with. You can still go at it with Gimp (Photoshop is the superior product, but is too expensive in my opinion); Gimp handles pressure sensitivity, angle and so forth if your device does these things.
If you want to check that market out, you MUST visit a retailer that carries such devices and test them for accuracy vs price. Simply because a proper tablet is expensive as hell, meaning that you'll inevitably want to make some sort of compromise, and that can only be done with the hands-on approach.

Spiney
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:05 am

Re: Digital Drawing

Post by Spiney » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:05 pm

http://mypaint.intilinux.com/ this one is nice too

Whatever tablet you get, don't go below A5 size, you'll start to get cramps in your hand after a few hours because you can only use wrist movement. I used one a couple of years, then I switched to an A4 Intuos3 and the difference is night and day. On a larger size tablet you can use your entire arm which is much more ergonomical. You can get Wacom tablets pretty cheap secondhand, and the Bamboo line is generally pretty decent too.

When it comes to manufacturers, Wacom is market leader and has all the patents for all the cool stuff. They mainly target the profesional and semiprofesional market, so they're fairly expensive.
You can come by a neat non-Wacom tablets, but be warned, the vast majority is a waste of money.
Especially Trusts product have horrible usablitly and build quality, I'dd stay clear of those -- they're dirt cheap for a reason.
I've heard some good things about 'Genius' tablets, but I've never used one myself so I can't comment on that.

If you do buy a Wacom, you shouldn't worry about bad build quality. I've been carrying my tablet around and downright abusing it for over 5 years now and it still works like a charm. You get what you pay for I guess.

A last warning: drawing on a tablet takes practice, you'll need to get accustomed to looking at the screen and drawing at the same time. Also, people often miss the paper feel. Some even tape a piece of paper on their tablet, that never did much for me though. After a while you'll get used to it. Inking is probably the trickiest thing to learn, as it requires a good hand-eye coordination, but again, you'll get that with experience.

Post Reply