I’ve went through a long period of time where I refused to do digital art because it never looked the way I wanted it to. Back in 2004, I was happy with my digital work up until about 2008, when I decided to switch to traditional media. Traditional media always felt more ‘free’ to me because I wasn’t limited to the functions of a program and my lack of how to make said functions work for me.
Towards the end of 2012, I decided to invest in a (refurbished) tablet PC to draw on because I certainly couldn’t afford a cinitq. I still can’t. I bought a Motion Computing LE1700 and while it made digital art a bit easier, I certainly wasn’t happy with the quality of work I was producing versus what I was capable of doing on paper.
I spent a lot of time, sitting around and dissecting other people’s photo-realistic digital paintings and thinking “why can’t I do that?” And then I tried doing that and while the lineless art with smooth shading looked pretty good… it didn’t feel like something I would normally produce.
After a while of giving up on that, a couple of nights ago, I sat around with my tablet and I wanted to do something. I wanted to use loose, sketchy lines because it was a style I always felt comfortable with. Every time I’ve tried to ink digitally, it always looked static and boring. It didn’t look like something I would normally produce. I felt like some sort of poser who didn’t have a trademark style and that was a result of me trying to do what everyone else was doing.
So last night, I gave sketchy lines another try and the final picture from this comparison is the result. I was really happy because it looked like something that I did and it didn’t feel like torture to draw or color it. It had my ‘flavor’ to it because my lines were clearly visible.
This is something I hadn’t realized. Today, it dawned on me that all of my favorite works since I started doing digital involved color thrown over sketchy lines. That style just became more and more refined over time without me even realizing it. It’s crazy that it’s taken me over 10 years to get to this point. It’s also crazy that I’ve stopped myself from doing what I was comfortable with all these years because it didn’t look like what all the other artists were doing.
So that’s what I learned this week.