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 454 - Are Marvel movies "Despicable"?

Nov 24, 2019

2 likes, 0 comments

This week we look at the famous quote by respected film director Martin Scorsese that “Marvel movies aren't Cinema” and also the quote by fellow director Francis Ford Coppola that Marvel films are “despicable”. We try and look at the proper context of these remarks outside of the twitter garbage and social media outrage to see if either had any point or whether they're way off the mark and deserving of criticism.

Episode 429 - Bad ends, not bad fans

Jun 2, 2019

3 likes, 6 comments

This Quackcast was inspired by the fan reaction to Game of Thrones, a series that I haven't watched but Tantz and Banes have! Specifically it's about poorly written endings and gas-lighting fans rather than admitting to faults.

Episode 413 - Breaking structure

Feb 11, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

It's just Ozoneocean and bouncy Banes today. This time we're chatting about breaking and subverting structures, formulas and conventions in webcomics. Commercial creative projects need to use formulas and familiar structures because that's what audiences expect, it's also what studio executives, creative editors, publishers, producers and all the people that greenlight those projects need and expect as well. The Hero's Journey and other conventions and formulas aren't just used because they make good stories but because of the commercial realities and risk averse nature of the industry (there's a lot of money and jobs on the line). Webcomics don't have those pressures so we're talking about why webcomics shouldn't necessarily adhere to popular formulas and structures and why many don't.

Episode 337 - Interview with AmeliaP of Kings Club

Aug 28, 2017

5 likes, 7 comments

This week we interview the artist and creator of the comic Kings Club, AmeliaP! Her comic was featured and Gunwallace also gave it a theme tune that was featured in Quackcast 335. AmeliaP is a talented professional comic creator and game designer. We couldn't interview her directly because she's not confident enough in her spoken English, so what we've done instead is read out a written interview that I did with her especially for this Quackcast. Amelia has some surprising and valuable insights for comic creators. You can read the full text of her interview bellow. Gunwallace's theme for the week was for Abejitas - This tune bounces in like a wild thing, spinning and buzzing crazily, full of black striped yellow techno sweet honey madness and rapid wingbeats of energy, this will sting you into full awareness!

Episode 139 - Telling Gender From Comic Styles

Oct 28, 2013

5 likes, 7 comments

For Quackcast 139 Banes and I were joined by Kawaiidaigakusei, who had an amazingly interesting subject to talk about: “Telling Someone's Sex By the Way They Draw". Kawaiidaigakusei says:This has been a subject matter that is of great interest to me since college, and I am sure a lot of people who draw webcomics can relate. The early periods of Western Art have been mostly dominated by men. Female artists were rare during the Baroque Period with the exception of a key figure, Artemisia Gentileschi, whose dark interpretation of Judith Beheading Holofernes can be read with psychoanalytic overtones of a woman asserting her dominance over a man by decapitation. The twentieth century welcomed an influx of women artists during the Feminist art movement that began in the late 1960s. In the present day, with the introduction of webcomics and the Internet, women and men now have a level playing field to showcase their art to the public. Now the question remains–Is it possible to tell a person's sex by the way they draw?

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 118 - The Industry Standard

Mar 25, 2013

6 likes, 5 comments

In Quackcast 118 Banes and I approach the subject of Photoshop, attempting to give a quick intro to the dark, mysterious, primordial creator god of webcomics... in our own rambling way, well in MY own rambling way since I'm the on bumbling through pretending to know what I'm talking about while Banes asks sensible questions to prod me along onto the correct lines again. We chat about layers, setting stuff to "multiply" and what that means, mention short-cuts, pallets etc. One of the conclusions we come to is that good old Photoshop is such a gigantic behemoth that as a webcomic artist you don't really need it anyway since it's massive overkill and there are many specialised art programs that are more streamlined and more clearly focussed on the art skills you need, BUT if you really MUST have a pro photo-editing tool like Photoshop hopefully this gives you at least some brief info on it- as much as you can without screen-shots and stuff. :)


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