New Video: Making a Timelapse With Procreate And Why I Hate Digital Art

I’m calling him “Truth Seeker”. Anyway, I’ve been using the Procreate app very sporadically since I first downloaded it a few months ago….until now! The past couple of weeks I’ve been using it a lot more and am starting to see that I finally “get” it. Let me explain. Obviously, I get how a drawing app works, but you know when you use something for the first time there is a bit of a learning curve and the only way to understand the thing is to spend time with it? Well, I finally reached a point where I’ve spent enough time with Procreate that I feel a lot more comfortable with it now. I’ve seen and used a lot of the features it offers and there is no doubt why it’s become the industry standard for drawing apps. Even my 6 year old loves it.

He sort of gets it too. Admittedly, the app has so many features and ways to customize brushes and whatnot that I will never be an expert with it, but if a 6 year old can have fun and be creative with it you know you have something awesome on your hands. I sat with him and showed him a few things like how to pick/change colors, brushes, and brush size. He didn’t quite get the idea of using layers, which makes perfect sense because when you’re 6 and used to working with markers and paper there are no layers. You just draw your thing and you color it in. Done.

If you have a minute please check out this video.

If you know me, you should know how uncomfortable I am talking to the camera, but I’d like to go a little deeper about my hang-up with digital art. When you’ve done something one way for 30 years it can be a bit of a challenge to change your ways. At a very young age I stopped drawing with pencils and only used ballpoint pens. It probably has something to do with commitment issues because using a pencil means you can erase what you don’t like. In other words, there is no commitment with a pencil. With a pen I forced myself to deal with whatever I put down on paper. If I drew a face and one eye was bigger than the other eye I had to deal with that imperfection. If I accidentally smeared the ink I would have to turn that smudge into something and work it into the drawing somehow. I’ve always loved this type of inventing and letting chance play a role in the creative process. Digital drawing throws all of that out the window because it’s so easy to erase or undo your last step. Just in the past week I’ve started to get over this hang up of mine and am trying really hard to think of erasing as a tool instead of a hindrance. Using the “undo” option as a benefit as opposed to seeing it as a handicap.

This probably seems obvious, but painting with a brush on a wood panel is different than using an apple pencil on the glass surface of an iPad. Even though I know they are different my problem is that I’ve been thinking of drawing apps this whole time as synonymous with painting. Sort of like how driving one car is practically the same exact experience as driving a different car. You might have to adjust the seat and mirrors, but the steering wheel works the same. The reality is that making digital art on an iPad is wildly different than painting on a wood panel or a canvas. Instead of throwing the two in the same category and thinking of them as being synonymous I should have been thinking that the two are synonymous with creating, not painting. Now that I’ve come to this realization it’s getting easier for me to embrace and enjoy making digital art. It’s a totally different beast and needs to be treated as such. Why am I talking about this? Because making art, whether digital or physical should always be fun. It can and should be challenging at times because that means you’re making progress, but it’s not supposed to make you frustrated or mad and that’s what drawing on the iPad was doing to me. It was making me mad, which is crazy because I love creating and making things. What it comes down to is this. I was using a hacksaw to do the job of a hammer. I was putting a band aid on my elbow when I had a skinned knee. I was boiling an egg when…oh, I don’t know, but you get the picture.

I’m not sure if you’ve had this or a similar hang-up, but the lesson here is something I got from watching Big Hero 6 last night. “Look for a new angle.” If it worked for Hiro it can work for me. Thanks, Tadashi.

Thanks for reading!
– Jeff

P.S. – Spoiler alert, but Tadashi should totally not have been killed. Freaking Disney!

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I know that was a lot, but if you’re not sick of me yet…
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