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 452 - Storytelling styles change!

Nov 11, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

Storytelling styles change over time for various reasons: fashion, audience expectations, competition for audience attention due to increased choice and availability of media, technological limitations and abilities, and culture. We chat about the reasons for the changes and how styles have changed.

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 362 - Triumph der Ente

Feb 19, 2018

7 likes, 7 comments

In this Quackcast we chat about all the different options for hosting your webcomic. At the moment it seems the fashionable new young kiddies on the block are Webtoons and Tapastic, but they're certainly NOT the only choices for webcomic hosts out there and certainly not the best choices. I think we make a good case here for why Drunk Duck is a better choice in many ways, but we also bring up other host sites like twitter, comic fury, comic Genesis (used to be Keenspace), Tumblr, Deviant Art, Smack Jeeves, Fur Affinity, self hosting on a Word Press site etc. In the early days of the millennium there were just two hosts for your comic: Drunk Duck and Keenspace. Drunk Duck was a better choice for most since it was a lot easier to customise and it had a friendlier, smaller community. Keenspace had a two tier system: the picked comics with all the best stuff were in their “keenspot” site while the rabble were stuck with the slower hosting and slower updates. The main thing they had going was a gigantic member base. But they even changed the site's name from “keenspace” to “comic genesis” to further separate KeenSpot from the rabble, which left a sour taste in the mouth. By contrast Drunk Duck was always dedicated to being fully egalitarian. One of our main strengths is that we accept all without stigma: manga, furry, adult comic, sprites, American style, superhero, slice of life comedy, photocomics, professional published comics or stick figure amateur work and we welcome them all the same with the same level of enthusiasm. The big young Webtoons and Tapastic have some of the same issues Keenspace used to have: a big community where you will be lost in the crowd. And no site has as solid and safe programming and hosting as Drunk Duck does. Plus we're community run so you're same from corporate oversight and interference in the content you're allowed to post. You can read more about comic hosting sites in Emma Clare's news posts linked bellow. This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Odd Days. Sometimes you just have one of those days… or many of them in a row! Odd days. The sound here has a positive, optimistic theme overlayed with a harsh zigzag of electric guitar. This tune does well to illustrate the twisted euni, the off-balance and askew takes on everyday life and situations dealt with in this slice of life, humorous comic.

Episode 337 - Interview with AmeliaP of Kings Club

Aug 28, 2017

4 likes, 4 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 325 - walk the line

May 29, 2017

3 likes, 1 comment

In this Quackcast we cover the Importance of good linework in comics and different line techniques such as Herge's Ligne claire, the traditional thick line for characters and thin for everything else as exemplified in the work of Mucha, variable line widths as in Manga, solid blacks like in American comics, and complex lines like Durer or Hyena Hell. I really seriously thought I could get an entire Quackcast out of the concept and techniques of linework, but honestly I was struggling… Okay, so linework constitutes the skeleton that most comics are built on, with the notable exception of painted comics, photo comics, 3D and vector comic among others… But for most comics line is a pretty essential element. There are a lot of different techniques involved in the use of lines. Herge popularised “ligne claire”, which means that all lines have the same thickness and that there's no line shading. A popular style that I was taut was to have thick lines around characters and overlapping elements, with thin lines for internals and backgrounds. This is popular in a lot of manga, US comics and famously the work of Alphonse Mucha. Part of my technique on Pinky TA involves making my lines grey, so that when I set the line layer to “multiply”, the lines take on some of the background colours beneath them and don't show up as darkly as traditional black lines. The work of Hyena Hell on the Hub is interesting for her use of very complex internal shading line to build up texture and shapes, this can also be seen in the works of Albrecht Durer. Manga is notable for its extensive use of very stylised shading, crisp lines and the use of variable line widths for outlines, while American comics make heavy use of solid blacks for areas of shadow, basically extending the width of the line as far and as solidly as it can go. How do YOU approach your linework? The music for this week by Gunwallace is for The Wallachian Library. It's a dark, black future sounds, neon glows, pulses of energy and ideas, vectors and virtual circuits.Sorry, no link to this comic, the user deleted it from the site.

Episode 290 - Characters coming alive

Sep 26, 2016

3 likes, 1 comment

The idea fr this Quackcast was inspired by a Korean TV series that Tantz Aerine recommended called “W” (http://myasiantv.se/drama/w/). The show is about a manga artist who does a super popular webcomic. He wants to quit doing it and has decided to end by killing off his main character, but his main character seems to have ideas of his own about that… Tantz and I thought about how that could apply to us real webcomicers. That's a fantasy situation, but if it could happen, which of your characters would do that? Which one is independent enough from you that they would want to take on a life of their own and fight you? Incorporated in this are the idea of characters “breaking the fourth wall” and the fictional characters becoming so well realised and independent from the author (so to speak), that they seem to influence the direction of a story against the intentions off the writer. People will often talk about characters seemingly writing the story themselves or taking things in directions the writer never wanted to go. So that's what we chat about! You really should check out “W”, it's a great series! This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to HardLuckComics. It's full of energy and vive, driving. This is working music! This is the intro to the drive time program on the radio! This is “the news”!

Episode 230 - Getting the formula RIGHT

Aug 3, 2015

4 likes, 6 comments

We've talked about formulas before, but mostly in the context of escaping formulas and reinventing them. NOW however we're talking about using existing formulas to create a story, or creating new formulas and sticking to them to come up with your stories. Formulas can be a good tool to write with, along with their close sibling “the trope” they take elements that are proven to work and stick them on a solid framework for you to more easily create your story around. All you need to do is plug in your characters and situation and see how it all fits. Formulas are comfortable for people and make it easier for a writer to structure their story faster AND in a way they know should appeal to people. Enjoy Gunwallace's lovely theme for Rismo!


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