Look Ma, No Paper!

The Swallowing 1-2 finalClicky to embiggen…

The answer to yesterday’s question as to what I did differently than usual in my art for the parody of “The Following” in MAD #525 is that I did the entire thing digitally. No pencils, no pens, no ink, no paper. Start to finish on the computer.

It was an interesting experiment, but I will never do it again.

I’d been thinking of giving this a try for a while now, just to see how it turned out and to see if it was a time saver of any kind. In this particular case I was a bit behind on getting the project done and I thought this might be a good time to see if doing all the drawing and inking digitally made the job go faster. I experimented with some different setting with the tools in Photoshop, including using some Ray Frenden digital ink tools. Eventually I just used a paintbrush with opacity set to 100% and pressure sensitivity only for brush size.

My verdict is a gigantic meh. While the end results were satisfactory so far as they went, I felt like much of the life and warmth of the lines were missing from the finals. The benefits of being able to zoom in to microscopic levels for detail, not needing to be concerned with the physical limitations of inks and the surface of the paper, no erasing, etc. where outweighed by the general stiffness of the results. I think the lines lack crispness. The tapers at the ends are dulled and rounded. It just looks thick and heavy to me. Don’t write me telling me to try Manga Studio either, much of the problem is rooted in the digital conversion of hand movements and pressure, and that’s a hardware issue. More truthfully, it’s a wetware issue… my brain just not wanting to work that way.

Here are some close ups of some area (Clicky to embiggen):

The Swallowing closeup 1

The Swallowing closeup 2

The Swallowing closeup 3

And these are the “pencils”:

The Swallowing 1-2 pencilsClicky to embiggen…

It actually took longer than doing it the traditional way. Too much detail, too easy to get caught up in the little stuff. Finally, with my luck I’ll be getting a call from Kevin Bacon this week offering to buy the original art for a million dollars.

No, I don’t think digital inking is for me. I’m already back to the brush, nib and inks.

EDIT: Based on the comments both public and private I’ve gotten already, I think some people have gotten the idea that I am condemning digital inking as a worthless enterprise. That’s ridiculous, and very far from the truth. I have seen some incredible digital inkers and artists, and I have as much respect for their work as I do for anyone who works the old-fashioned way. As always, it’s all about the final results. I don’t care how you do what you do, if your work is good then it’s good. Who cares if you do it with paint or pixels?

All I am saying here is that I’ve tried it and it’s not for me. More power to you if it’s your medium of choice.

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