iPad Pro Art Revival

For a while I have been reading about various styluses as they come out, trying to determine whether one of them would help me write sufficiently better on my iPad to be worth the cost. When the Apple Pencil came out with the 13" iPad Pro it sounded really great too, but it only works with the iPad Pro and I did not want a huge 13" iPad. Then when the 10" (9.7") iPad Pro came out, I figured now was a good time to upgrade.

Since this device combo is just asking for someone to draw with it, I decided maybe it was a good time to revive my long-dormant artistic skills, little though they may be. I'm actually rather pleased with the results. I won't be winning any art competitions, but for me this device combination is working pretty well and inspiring greater creativity. I believe that's what Steve Jobs wanted.

For all these drawings I am using Paper by Fifty-Three. It is free and has a nice assortment of pen tools, including colored pencil, ink, and water color brush. It has a color mixer and an option to have finger-touches be a smudge tool when paired with a stylus that will be used for drawing.

The Raptor At Dock

This piece is of a space ship I imagined in high school and have updated every once in a while. It has a chameleon skin so it can turn a scary, militaristic black but in this drawing it is in its shiny golden yacht form, peacefully docked at a space station.

I start with the pencil tool since I am most comfortable drawing with pencils and colored pencils on physical media. I sketch out the subject and some details to make the space station more interesting.

Then I use the water color tool to add a black space background. That tool has color bleed and rough edges as well as applying alpha-blended over existing color. It is interesting to work with. Since this is digital media I can cheat and apply a smudge to smooth everything out. With physical media you can't really smudge water color like you can pencil, charcoal, and chalk (three media I am familiar with).

The water color tool and smudging is also interesting for layering colors. I got some gradients for the sun and planets. I mix in pen and colored pencil tools to help get details and shading just right. The colored pencil tool applies light enough that I can gradually add colors, so it works for finishing details whereas the smudge tool applies to too broad of an area for those details.

After coloring everything with water color and smudge, then I use the ink tool to redraw the lines and details and use ink with color picker to fix up colors around edges. I use the colored pencil to add the glow effect around some of the docking lights.

Solar Explorer Launching a Micro-Probe

This is a space ship I imagined more recently. It features a section that splits open to become a centrifuge. The idea is to have some portal-teleporting technology so exploration is done by sending small probes and drones with a portal connection in them then teleport more equipment or astronauts to their location. This picture is launching one such micro probe at an asteroid to begin exploring it.

This uses the same technique as the Raptor drawing. I added stars to the space background and used colored pencil a bit more on the shading of the spacecraft since I used less smudging to preserve some of the detail like the Nasa sign rather than redraw it afterwards.

Unfinished: Necro-Sorcerer from "Prince of Farlance"

This unfinished drawing is one of few people I've ever drawn that don't look horrible. Obviously not fantastic either, but hey, it's good for me.

It is a character from a story I'm working on (another of my creative pursuits, also not a strong skill) called "Prince of Farlance". This is one of the bad guys, a necromancer-like sorcerer who has no innate magical ability but has taken knowledge of working with magical plants and creatures to the extreme by using dead bodies of human wizards to gain access to their full magical powers. The scepter in his hand is made of a wizard's bone, skin, nervous tissue, and parts of the brain (wrapped up at the top), encased with some metal. It is connected by a chord of tissues to the crown on his head (under the hood) so that he can control it's magic. The wires on the ground similarly are tissue cords running to dead bodies used to generate magical energy.

This one is all pencil so far. Next is to color it, but I'm nervous about being able to re-draw all those details on top of the color, especially the face since I am usually quite bad at faces.