Episode 464 - The current digital art landscape

Feb 2, 2020

I recently had to upgrade my main computer because Windows isn't supporting Windows 7 any longer and I don't want to install Windows 10 on the perfectly functioning old one in case it ruins it and my main programs can't run any longer… SO I had to get a new PC. This got me thinking though: The barrier to getting into digital art is lower now than ever!

Topics and Show Notes

Back in the day it was hard to get into and very expensive! Getting a powerful enough machine with all the programs and hardware wasn't cheap. Back in the early 2000s Photoshop was the only really good art program, you needed a PC with at least a gig of ram, Wacom were the only people that made real tablets and the big sizes were only for industry professionals. My 12x12 was the biggest size they made and was intended for clothing designers and engineers. High end digital animators and illustrators used them too but Wacom didn't consider them their target audience. I had to go through a specialist supplier to get mine

It took a few years for the industry to wake up to the fact that digital artists even existed. Till then we had to have advanced knowledge of computer specs and enough money to spare. I've spent many thousands on powerful computers, programs and digitising hardware.

Now however it's VERY very simple. You have a big choice of digitiser tablets you can buy, not just Wacom, ANY modern computer can run them, the art programs are cheap and easy to find. There are also Android tablets like the Samsung Tab S, or Note phones, the Apple pen with the Ipad pro, and many Windows 10 computers that come with pressure sensitive styli.

That is the route I decided to try this time: a mid-price non-gaming 2 in 1 tablet ultrabook. i7 processor, 16 gig of ram, 512 gig SSD, and only integrated graphics, which are decent specs to do any 2D digital art, video or sound editing I need. I don't know how it works with direct input from its pen since I haven't got that accessory yet, but it works fine with my old Wacom Cintiq.

The most important thing about getting into digital art is to beware of bad advice from people concerned with status! Don't be tricked into thinking you have to spend too much on something because it seems to be “THE THING”. At the moment that would be the Apple iPad pro and the pen you get with it or HD Wacom Cintiqs with over 8000 levels of pressure. They will do the job, certainly, but so will almost all the other options too: just as smoothly, fast and trouble free.

It's not the program or the hardware that makes the great picture, it's your skill alone. All you need from your hardware and software is enough pressure sensitivity to be good for natural drawing (1024 is enough for that, more than 2048 is mainly just marketing), low latency (the pen makes marks as soon as you touch it to the screen): Do not fall for marketing numbers here, try it out and see for yourself, it depends on your art program, your processor, and your ram, not just the tablet or pen. You also need enough ram and processor speed so that you can work at a big size if you like and have a lot of layers. Back in the day that would be expensive, now $200-$300 4 year old Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 can handle that super easily.

I'm a classically trained artist in traditional materials. I started playing with digital art in the late 90s and got into it in a big way after 2000, so I've been doing this for over 20 years. I've gained a bit of experience in that time. :)

Some programs that're available and good for digital art: Clip studio paint, Manga studio, Toon boom, Gimp, Photoshop, Artflo, Sketchbook pro, Procreate (iPad), media bang. What are you using right now for digital art?


This week Gunwallace has given us the Music to Tag Forester’s theme - Gunwallace says: Tag Forester is the hero in a number of comics by rickrudge. Rather than do a theme for a specific one I've just done a theme for the character.
Cool, simple, calm, relaxed, while also tough and capable. Tag Forester’s theme moves like a big jungle cat: full of a slow grace, totally fearless, hiding the true extent of his power. The sound is a classic 70’s!

Topics and shownotes


Links

A review of the Samsung Tab S 3 and 4 - https://www.parkablogs.com/picture/artist-review-samsung-tab-s4-vs-tab-s3-drawing


Featured comic:
Arcadia Project - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2020/jan/28/featured-comic-arcadia-project/

Featured music:
Tag Forester’s theme - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/rickrudge/, by Rickrudge, rated M to A.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes
kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/

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Episode 433 - everyone is a beginner

Jul 1, 2019

2 likes, 0 comments

Today we chat about a furore on Twitter focussing on a artist who made a tutorial about the differences between the line work of beginners and advanced artists. Many people identified their art style with the work described as “beginner” and took extreme offence at that characterisation. It's the contention of Tantz that “beginner” is not a dirty word. We're all beginners at something. We can all stand to learn things.

Episode 420 - Substance abuse and use

Apr 1, 2019

4 likes, 0 comments

The entire gang is here this time again. This marks number 420 of the Quackcasts we've done. 420 is code among some for smoking dope, so going with that theme we're talking about the influence of substances on creative endeavours. People try and use substances to facilitate their creativity, we chat about why they do it, how it works, why it fails, the benefits and the issues. We DO NOT advocate taking illegal things in any way at all. This includes ANY substance, from dope, to coffee, to redbull, tea, wine, beer, cold and flu medication, headache pills, opium, adderall, ANYTHING at all, as long as it produces some mental or physiological change, it counts!

Episode 406 - Amateur Vs Pros Merry Christmas DD!

Dec 23, 2018

5 likes, 2 comments

Merry Christmas one and all! And all that stuff. This year our release date falls exactly on the 25th! It was a busy year for us, lots happened. But in this Quackcast what we chat about is something rather different: the difference between pros and amateurs, specifically when it comes to comics. There's this common misconception that an amateur is a novice that will produce work of a lower quality, while a professional is an experienced person who knows what they're doing and will always produce things of the highest quality… The REAL story is more complex than that.

Episode 384 - Brandcast, PR

Jul 23, 2018

4 likes, 2 comments

You may have read about how a conspiracy theorist dug up some 10 year old tweeted jokes by director James Gunn and got him fired from Disney… Well that incident inspired this Quackcast, which is a re-take on the whole personal brand idea that we discussed in Quackcast 289.

Episode 380 - Going back, retro style

Jun 25, 2018

3 likes, 0 comments

Retro is GOOoooooooooood! Damn good. Don't underestimate the power of retro. Old material and the past is where pure gold hides. Mine that stuff for all it's worth! But it can be overdone and when it is it's like warmed over fish and chips, it becomes tired and stale… Lets not talk about that though. What we chatted about here was the idea of mining your old work for good stuff. What was great, showed cool promise, or was some awesome but forgotten thing from your old comic work? You are perfectly free to revisit it, shine it up and impress the world. Many of the great artists and musicians of the world made their mark with that. Sometimes the world is not ready for your good stuff at the time you publish it, so many you're later you can go back and re-release it to one that is! Bands you to do that ALL the time. The past is a great place to look for inspiration. This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Redneck: Bluegrass dubstep! Fast tasty beats, lyrical guitar and a bass that drops right onto your head! Disturbing, unsettling and yet strangely compelling.

Episode 376 - Comic Tutorials

May 28, 2018

3 likes, 0 comments

kawaiidaigakusei makes a return to the Quackcast! Together with the crew we chat about some of our favourite comic making tutorials on DD. Yes, there IS a tutorials section on the site and people have created some amazing and clever tutes on how to both write and draw better when making your comics. There are some cool instructions on how to make better pages, write scripts, do rain effects, all sorts of shortcuts and clever tit-bits of info to have you creating like a pro. This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Potato and Kraut. Feel the gigantic weight this music layers onto your shoulders. A synthesised torrent of gravity, followed by the heavy, deep notes of a piano dropping on top of you like frozen slabs. The torrent slowly eases, brings light and relief, then fades away.

Episode 338 - Shared DNA of ideas

Sep 4, 2017

3 likes, 6 comments

The saying goes that “Good artists copy, great artists steal”, it's attributed to various luminaries such as TS Elliot, Picasso, Tantz Aerine etc, but the important thing is the true meaning: there are very few original ideas, culture is built up out of inherited inspiration that is built on and developed by successive generations, many artists will just repeat ideas though (“copy”), without adding much of their own flavour to them, while clever artists take the ideas as influence and inspiration and reinvent them in their own individual style. It's best when an artist brings ideas together, like the shared DNA of two parents, to produce something new and marvellous! This goes for artists, musicians, webcomics, everyone! We reference Penny Arcade, Ctrl Alt Delete and PVP which were the super popular me-too gamer webcomics, we bring up music and cover versions, and my favourite example: the AT-ST from Return of the Jedi and all the other similar two legged mecha like the Zentradi battlepods from Macross/Robotech, the mecha from Mechwarrior, Ed 209 from Robocop and of course my very own Trompers from Pinky TA ^_^ Super Impact High was the theme for this week by Gunwallace. This track really calls to mind the modern, frenetic style of the artwork on Super Impact High. It’s wild, high energy, off balance, and aggressive! This should really get you in the mood for the story.


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