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 195 - The DeadFingers of Peipei

Nov 30, 2014

4 likes, 3 comments

Peipei, artist of the very long running story comic DeadFingers in on-board for the Quackcast today! Peipei has been drawing the popular DeadFingers comic regularly for forever on DD, in addition to running her own successful business as a professional illustrator, AND being a great cosplayer who guest cosplays at various conventions around the US! She's one talented, dedicated, and interesting individual. Listen as she tells us about the great odyssey that is DeadFingers as well as what it's like to run your own illustration graphic design business as well as a cool titbit about the her wonderfully realistic CG art program of choice: Artrage!

Episode 129 - Wizards of Webcomics and Their Marvellous Techniques

Jun 10, 2013

7 likes, 5 comments

Quackcast 129 fits in with our technical series of Quackcasts when we investigate different comic making tools, like pen and paper, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Toon Boom Studio, Manga Studio etc. except this time we asked people to tell us about the tools they use to make their comic, the pros and cons, how much it costs, how long it took to learn how to use it, where other people can get it... all that sort of stuff, we wanted to know- that info can help others too so it's good to share it! And thankfully the wonderful wizards of webcomics graced us with the secrets of their best methods.

Episode 122 - Ozoneocean on Adobe Illustrator

Apr 22, 2013

5 likes, 0 comments

Continuing our technical Quackcast series, Banes and I talk about vector art illustration program Adobe Illustrator, what it is, what it does, and some of its uses in comic art. It's another one of those big, expensive, industry standard programs with a LOT of power and potential to do many different amazing and cool things that you'll never more than scratch the surface off in comic art, but what it DOES do in comics it pretty much does that better than anything else. Next week we hope to interview the awesome, amazing, mysterious, and frequently featured Abt_Nihil!

Episode 121 - Banes talks Toonboom Studio

Apr 15, 2013

5 likes, 6 comments

This is another Quackcast in our technical series focussing on the stuff people use to make webcomics. This week we focus on the art program chiefly used by Banes in the making of his comic, Typical Strange, and that program is Toonboom studio! Toonboom is mainly for doing cell style digital animation but it's also pretty good for doing drawings and Banes tells us just exactly HOW. Next week we'll be looking at Adobe Illustrator.

Episode 85 - lba's Modern Life

Jul 9, 2012

3 likes, 2 comments

Today lba/Alex Groh is the subject of Quackcast 85. He speaks about how webcomics had a part in his higher education and his transition to his working life as a professional illustrator and graphic artist. This Quackcast was troublesome to setup: on the day it was slated for I was deathly ill with a severe migraine. Alex was kind enough to wait another day. But in the end I had to call Alex/lba on his cell phone to make the skype call,because the net and his comp weren’t too reliable. Fortunately it was pretty cheap, but the quality isn’t that great, so please bear with us! Alex had some fascinating and very useful things to say about working as a professional artist!


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