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 432 - How to get more readers

Jun 24, 2019

2 likes, 2 comments

Just Banes and I for this one! Today we have 3 topics: 1. Being positive and how that really helps us in online communication and social networking, as well as giving a boost to those we talk to- very important in comic communities. 2. How to get more eyes looking at your work. We always need to build our audiences! 3. Updates for drunk duck to modernise the site… We're going to have to raise a lot of money for this! How is the best way?

Episode 415 - lazy solutions cause plot-holes!

Feb 25, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

This Quackcast expands on my newspost from Friday about forgotten abilities causing plot holes, but now bunny Banes and Lady Tantz wade in to lend their genius to my silly ideas and we chat about what the real issues are: bad writing and laziness! This is when a character gains the ability to walk through walls or become bullet proof or go back in time and then forgets it for the rest of the story or in the sequel When basically 80% of the problems they encounter could be solved by it… And you're mentally screaming at them “Use your damn power that you got 20 pages ago… Remember that thing that would help you avoid all this trouble!?” Using easy solutions to get out of problems causes plot-holes! And your audience will hate you for it.

Episode 388 - Coding for Men and women

Aug 15, 2018

2 likes, 0 comments

In this Quackcast we discuss the artistic coding used to represent males and females in comic art in a simple, minimal way. Pitface joins us, along with Banes and Tantz Aerine! Much like an expert physicist is able to simplify enormously complex equations into something seemingly simple like E=MC2 a good comic artist simplifies the essence of what they're drawing into something that's immediately recognisable without a lot of complexity. We're mainly talking here in terms of drawing men and women. It sounds like the most basic, silly thing, but even pros with years of experience have trouble with it. Some of the art for the new She-Ra cartoon is a great example of that.

Episode 332 - The trouble with immortality

Jul 17, 2017

3 likes, 2 comments

In this Quast we talk about immortality, which is a common trope in literature. Who seeks immortality in stories? It's usually bad guys, and it usually has some sort of extreme price,catch or dark side, so much so that people actually believe that if immortality WAS real that it would somehow be an evil thing. The fact is that most of the possible downsides are cultural constructions or justifications for our own mortality, if immortality WAS a real thing we don't really know what the down sides would be… But this means that the trope of immortality is not as limited as we've come to believe; it's wide open to be re-written and redefined. And a not, the story mentioned in the Quackcast was The Trouble With Lichen and it was by John Wyndham, not Roald Dahl. Gunwallace's theme for the week was for The Beard. This one is creepy and magical, just the type of music you’d associate with alien hair follicles, it brings to mind strange activity on a microscopic level inside the skin… unsettling!

Episode 182 - Biggest mistakes made in starting a webcomic

Aug 14, 2014

5 likes, 5 comments

This Quackcast came about in response to an article that was supposed to be about the biggest mistakes in starting out with a webcomic, I felt it was incredibly superficial and that it was mainly focussed on someone who wanted to go straight for the “pro” side, jump right in and make it BIG right away… The trouble is that there's WAAAAAAY more to the subject than that! Hence this Quackcast on the subject. I've seen thousands of webcomics come and go over the years, most fizzle out in the first few weeks or months for a whole lot of reasons, but even the ones that have staying power still run into many issues at the beginning. Here we cover a lot of the big mistakes webcomic creators make early on. We've also got some great contributions too!

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!

Episode 63 - Working for a living

Feb 7, 2012

7 likes, 16 comments

Dressed in a long, tight fitting sparkly black evening gown and elbow length opera gloves, the lovely Skoolmunkee dashes from the scene of the murder of poor Banes to arrive breathless on the Quackcast set and establish her alibi! This week we talk about what us amateur webcomic artists do to support ourselves, or just in those few brief moments when we're not actually making webcomics, and how that affects, influences and changes our webcomic work. We have many interesting contributions from interesting people! I must once again apologise for the sound quality though, major computer trouble I'm afraid. Episode 63 re-issued! How working life affects webcomicing.


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