Two summers ago, I bought a new iPad. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it because, frankly, I’ve spent a long time drawing in a sketchbook with pens and brushes and the idea of making digital art seemed kind of icky.
But the Apple Pencil intrigued me, so I made it my summer project to learn to use it to make some art. I figured, worst case, I’d give up and just use it for Facebook and Netflix.
I spent an awful lot of time trying out different apps until I focused on Procreate. Then I spent months reading books and articles, browsing inspiring illustrators and YouTube instructional videos, taking courses, and working through every feature and tool.
It was a lot of work!
My iPad journey took me in lots of new creative directions. I worked with stencils and spray paint. I did calligraphy, animation, collage, and photo manipulation. I made a bunch of comics and some maps. I even illustrated most of my new book with this amazing tool.
I found that my iPad was improving my analog drawings too. I was drawing so much more because the iPad was so convenient and fun to play with.
Eventually, I made hundreds of drawings and paintings. I did illustrated journaling and a graphic memoir. I drew a different dog every day for three months and shared them on social media. I got great feedback and lots of people asked me how I was doing what I was doing and if I could teach them too.
Finally, after two years of research and practice, experiments and mishaps, I decided to create a kourse to capture all I’ve learned. I was kind of amazed how much I now knew and I ended up making 68 fun videos. They describe the whole journey I’ve been on, from the most basic of basics, all the way to more technical stuff like using masks, layers, textures and brushmaking.
If you’re thinking, “ugh, digital art,” I hear you.
But like any medium, the iPad just takes experience and instruction to master. You can make beautiful images that don’t have that cold, computery feel. I’ve learned techniques to make art that looks and feels any way you want and I look forward to sharing them with you.
I’ll always love my Fabriano Venezia watercolor sketchbooks and dip pen — but carrying around an infinite art supply store has really transformed my creative life. I think you’ll have fun with it too.
(Republished from the SBS Zine, issue 28.)
If you’d like to know more about my experiences with the iPad, consider our new kourse: Be an iPad Artist. You can sign up today.