May 12, 2021New Tricks

Posting to social media isn't the only technology a curmudgeon has trouble with.

I have spent my entire life practicing and perfecting how I wield a pencil. It started in my childhood when I loved drawing horses, but I never could get those front legs right. It was a challenge that began there and has continued my entire life with most any subject I was drawing.

Every artist knows that a few perfect, bold, confident strokes of a brush or pencil are the gold standard and the high goal to get past the timid, choppy scribbles that result when you’re inexperienced and just simply not sure of what you’re doing.

And arcs and curved lines … you’ll never master them if your fingers are locked in a death grip down at the end of the pencil. Pull your hand back to the middle or top third of the pencil or brush handle, hold it lightly and move your wrist, not your hand, in a broad, sweeping motion … perfect!

When the computers showed up a couple of decades ago, the inevitable happened, and a lot of artists began drawing their art directly into the computer using a stylus and a tablet. I didn’t pay much attention at first, because those early versions were rather clunky and I found it easier to it do the old fashioned way and scan it into the computer.

Fast forward to my book illustrating days and I'm discovering all these amazing artists who are illustrating children's books and drawing comics and graphic novels ... with pens and tablets! Gorgeous, gorgeous work!

I love my colored pencils ... no way I'm going to change that. But watching those artists work really sparked up the old brain cells ... a tablet would save me a lot of work, because I could block in and size layouts directly in the computer. Less scanning of all the preliminary steps. And I do t-shirt art for a couple of clients leftover from my freelance days. Their art could be drawn directly into the computer instead of drawing it, scanning it, and vectorizing it ... woo hoo! Let's get a tablet!

So I did ... and what an adventure it has been!

It's not quite as intuitive as a pencil.

I've spent decades training my brain and hand to draw free and loose and not so tight and sketchy. But with the pen, I need to do the opposite. It gives my brain a good workout and requires a lot of concentrated effort. It's fun, but some days when trying to block in drawings or sketch layouts, I get frustrated with it and resort back to pencil and paper. Every time I practice a bit, I get a tiny bit more comfortable with it ... it's just a matter of time.

So see ... even a curmudgeon like me is willing to try something new ... old dogs CAN learn new tricks!

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  • Dixie Cooley says:
    2021-05-12, 05:32:26
    Good for you.
    Yeah ... I'd really like to believe I'm not this old, but it's true!!!- Sherry A Mitcham