Sketch Friday #70 – Rogue

This image wasn’t meant to be posted. It’s not the best I can do nor is it particularly pushing my skills in any new direction.

Instead, what this drawing of the X-Men character, Rogue, represents is an exercise––a test. I picked up some new equipment––specifically an iPad Pro and an Apple pencil because I hoped it could help with my comic -making productivity.

With the world under quarantine for the forseeable future, that meant that I’ll be––and have been––stuck in front of my computer literally all day with teaching, comicking, and podcasting. While that is is normal for some people, it is not for me, and it’s not something I enjoy.

The truth is that when I started making comics in 2007, the were completely digitally drawn––every stage of drawing the first year of Eben07 was done on the computer. Such work, however, led to me feeling distant from the art I was making; I didn’t feel like I was drawing as much as I was constructing; a disassociation made worse by the lack of a tactile final product. So, I started drawing the comics by hand and leaving the coloring and lettering (and publishing) to do on the computer. This process informs how I make comics through to today.

The iPad art program, Procreate, also records every line drawn during the process. Take a look at how much I erase while drawing!

Now that the current situation has put me in front of a screen for a majority of the day, and after spending a full work day in front of the computer teaching, the last thing I want to do is work another five or six hours on the computer.

I had heard a lot about how tablets have become incredibly reliable tools for comicking––from the tethered and mobile units made by Wacom to the early entry from Microsoft to, of course, the iPad. Combined with the praise of these devices from artists I admire––and who are producing wonderful work on them––I figured, getting one of these, I could at least go to a different part of the house and still be working instead of just sitting at the computer.

The drawings of the members of Twisted Sister have probably been the most involved pieces of digital art that I have done recently.

While I’m not shy about digital art––many Sketch Fridays have been digitally made––I was wondering how a mobile experience could possibly be more advantageous and useful than using a tablet at my desktop computer. Within days of noodling with the device, I do prefer making art on the iPad to making it on my desktop computer––especially as it relates to comics (for reasons I’ll get into at a later date). When it comes to actually drawing comics, though, I still prefer ink on paper, but I’m seeing ways this can speed up the process significantly.

This drawing of Rogue was my first challenge to make a completed drawing on the iPad. I learned a lot from this drawing and have already learned lessons beyond what I learned here. Currently, I don’t think I’ll switch back to fully digital art; however, as a more robust sketchbook, a place for ideation and discovery, this thing has definitely filled a space that my creativity desperately missed.