My Drawing Process, for Paper on the iPad

deadAstronaut
I was recently asked for an overview of my process for drawing. My first answer was, “Make every mistake imaginable and then keep what sucks the least”. My second attempt (below) is my process on drawing using the iPad app called Paper. So if it was helpful for them, maybe it would be helpful for others. So here you go:
1) Light blue pencil sketch out the basic shapes – This is where I make sure the geometry is correct, scale, etc, etc. Cartoonist use a photo-less light blue pencil for initial drafts that is not picked up by cameras/scanners. Not necessary in Paper, but I have found it to be less disruptive and disappears easily when drawing over versus black or grey.
2a) Black fountain pen tip - for the deliberate final lines/shapes that were sorted out in blue pencil.
2b) Black Marker tip - I have also been toying with a comic book style and doubling the thickness of exterior lines, which the effect needs a cleaner line not capable in the fountain pen. It looks great, but not for every piece.
3) Add color in marker or brush tip – Adding color scares the shit out of me, so I rarely color in physical tools. I would typically quit when I think if I spend any more time on it, I’ll ruin it. Paper has been HUGE in this regard because the ‘Rewind’ feature offers lossless experimentation which has made this the most used tool in my app. Now I am able to test out more options over in progress work and know that any mistake is just an undo away.
4) Shades & layers – This is where I keep learning and keep trying to add more and more.
5) Reflections/Glare - The dead astronaut (above) was my first attempt at adding light sources and I was extremely happy with how this turned out. Erasing lots of work in circles on the helmet and over the skull to show that there is glass reflecting the light gave me the courage to actually use the white paint brush to paint over half the skull to imitate the clear glass mask. This is the step that I am focusing now cause I loved the result… it felt finished.
Hope that was helpful. Cheers.

6 Comments

  1. Love the dead astronaut. Great work with the reflection effect!

  2. Hi Michael,

    Thanks for the great article, FiftyThree on facebook shared it but just wanted to say that this is awesome.

    Thanks,
    -Tom

  3. Arp

    Can you describe the ‘layer’ portion a bit more?

    • RE: Layers – Adding layers of color, mainly to the tune of highlights and shadows. Nothing is a flat color so brighter and darker patches give the picture depth.

  4. I love playing with Paper, Yours looks great!!! Is that George Clooney? My biggest problem is navigating the app?

  5. Sanaa

    Love the drawing! I’m just starting out using Paper and your tips are really helpful, thanks a lot for sharing.

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