The Difference Between A Wacom Pen Tablet and A Mouse
For people unfamiliar with digital art, the concept behind how it’s even done makes little sense but the really key thing that enables it, are wacom tablets. To illustrate this, here are just two examples of what using a pen over a mouse means using continuous brushstrokes. I think of it as: if a mouse is a pistol and a click is a bullet, a wacom pen is Iron Man and using it is like having a salvo of laser-guided fly-by-wire rockets… that play Black Sabbath.
A mouse, you click once or click and hold, it has one degree of pressure. A wacom pen is like, well, a real pen or a brush, just much more versatile. The relation between the tablet surface and the pen is one that allows it to pick up how hard you’re pressing, the angle the pen is being held at, and the way it’s being rotated in your hands. This allows single brush strokes to control opacity, scatter, texture, thickness, color mixing, and direction. I give such basic examples, because I think it’s there that you can see: “This is what you can do with literally a 1 second brushstroke” Skill-level and experience are irrelevant to being able to do basic tasks like loosely mixing two colors and laying down a line.
EDIT: No, this post was not sponsored by Wacom. When the tools you use enable you to do what you love for a handsome living AND can help others who might not know about them, you can praise them without being paid to do so. Hell, even if you like something, you can praise it without being paid for it.
People ask me what brushes I use, and really it’s a hard question because I use many (this is a small sampling of some favorites) and because I also tweak brush settings constantly and encourage you to do the same. In Photoshop, you can turn stock brushes into amazing tools by simply experimenting with the transfer, direction, texture, and dual brush settings. I say experimenting because that’s seriously the best part of it. In the digital medium, it’s easy to make things look synthetic, but often your most random and loose of efforts will yield the most exciting results. This is just what I use, but figured I would put them down for those curious enough to draw inspiration from and start fiddling with making your own.
Rampaged Reality Logo by Sam Spratt
Justin Page, who runs the stellar game/geek/film art tumblr, Rampaged Reality, was one of the early big blogs who started spreading my work across the web, bringing me from a couple dozens followers to a few thousand to the 20,000 of you here on tumblr today. I’m a firm believer in doing good by those who do good for others—especially those that ask for nothing in return. So, as just a microscopic token of my appreciation for perpetuating the sharing of my work, several other fellow professional artists here on tumblr, and many more aspiring ones—a tip of my hat and a “Sprattified” logo as thanks. You can check it out “in action” over on his site.
Remember to always pay it forward, people.
Edits for those asking questions:
-This is a Wacom Cintiq 24HD I’m drawing on. It’s a digital tablet that can pick up pressure, angle, and tilt sensitivity of the stylus on the screen, letting you digitally paint with the accuracy and nuance of drawing and painting traditionally.
-This is definitely a photo of me illustrating, not an illustration… of me illustrating.
-I do hold my pen/stylus in a weird way in between my middle and ring finger, clenched like a child would awkwardly hold a crayon. I will never change.