When I started drawing more in pen a long, long time ago, it took a long, long time for it to catch up with pencil. I’d argue my pen work never felt as fluid as my pencil drawings, but it also helped improve my pencil work a lot, albeit in a roundabout way. Furthermore, drawing in pen has other benefits, so in the end I call it a tradeoff.
When I started drawing more on my Cintiq at the beginning of Covid, it took a much shorter time for it to catch up with pencil. I’d argue that my tablet work is flat out better than my physical drawings to the point that I barely picked up a pencil at all last year. Furthermore, drawing digitally has indeed helped improve my coloring, but not yet how I thought.
At the end of 2021 I still hadn’t gotten all that many digital reps. Linearts were still a little wonky and coloring was still all over the place. This state of things persisted throughout most of next year, between sketchier drawings, tidier paintings, and my 2022 South Bay Comickers anthology entry, which I indeed drew completely digitally.
But at the end of 2022, all of that practice seemed to pay off! Without focusing on anything in particular, I started drawing something “normally”, and suddenly the process felt natural and the result seemed good. I had experienced this kind of surprise clarity before, but it was far more common back in high school, when I was drawing more and improving more.
Furthermore, a digital process made it much easier to do casual coloring, and I very quickly started shading new drawings with color painting instead of greyscale hatching. While I originally wanted to eventually paint without lineart – that could of course still happen – I ended up getting a ton of reps on my traditional process.
Of course, I tried to redraw some things – physical, hybrid, and digital works from before and during Covid (is it over yet?). The results range from good to meh, but largely because of coloring: all of the new lineart felt strictly better. In fact, many of the older drawings had slight proportion errors that I could not see clearly without a better comparison.
As for the bad coloring, it looks like I don’t do well with dark colors: the bad painting I cited in my last Digital Drawing post also had them. This is a bit strange as I feel like I used to do these well, but something happened somewhere along the line… I do have some ideas on how to fix this, but that’s for another time.
Anyway, I’ll end with what I consider my best painting from the last twelve months. I don’t know if it’s much better than the 2021 Monarch from before, but it does come in a group of much more consistent drawings and paintings. I am hoping to do four full color pages for my Comickers anthology entry this year, so we’ll see how that goes…