Hi! I would like to share my experience of creating this illustration with you. I consider myself new to iPad painting and still am on the learning curve, even I’ve created digital paintings using Photoshop in the past.
About tools: I have iPad2 /32GB (dreaming of a new one with 128GB someday). I work with Bamboo Stylus, now Wacom has pressure-sensitive Intuos Creative Stylus for iPad3 or newer. Recently I bought Sensu Brush and Stylus which I used while working on this illustration. I like the feel of the brush end a lot, but stylus end – not so much. Bamboo works better for me when I need to work with stylus. I had cheap ones too, but did not like them. They are too light and get torn easily. If any of you has a Bamboo stylus and the nib is torn, you can buy just nibs to replace the damaged one. I didn’t know that at the time when mine got destroyed and bought a brand new stylus. You can find replacement nibs on Amazon.
About drawing/painting: Before I start to share my experience, I would like to mention that there is a wonderful book out there with all information about apps, tools and tutorials – “iPad for Artists” by Dani Jones a super talented artist herself.
Process: I started by choosing canvas size and setting color for background. I did not use linear sketch this time, but when I do, I either take a photo from my sketchbook with iPhone using grid option to get it as straight as possible, then import photo from camera roll to Procreate or sketch right inside Procreate. Canvas size could be tricky. I prefer the highest resolution possible, but higher res you choose – less layers you have to work with. A4 at 300 dpi size for example gives you an option of only 2 layers. For this painting I had Retina size (2048x1536px) canvas with 5 layers, but it allows you to have more. My layers: Background with solid color, snow on the ground and trees, fox, hedgehog and falling snow. When I needed to make a change or add something I would create a new layer above the subject’s layer I want to revise, then merged down as soon I am ok with the change. I always keep my characters and backgrounds on separate layers, it gives me flexibility to move things around or change color. Merging layers as you go is a key to keep your file smaller and avoid crashes of the app.
I painted generic shapes for characters, by blocking the colors, like you would paint with traditional media, then worked on details by using different brushes for texture varying opacity and size. Locking alpha channel in layer options helps you staying “inside the lines” while you are painting. Procreate has a lot of brushes that simulate traditional media. I bought all additional sets, but now it seems they all included in updated software. You can create your own brushes right inside the application. Which is very cool!
While you are rendering it is important to zoom in the area where you are working on the details. It helps a lot :) Make sure you use both fingers for zooming at the same time, otherwise you might leave a mark of the tool you were using the last time and not being aware of it especially if you used very small brush. The last or top layer was “falling snow”, which I created by using one of the brushes from organic brush set with one click! That’s it!
I imported my painting to Dropbox as PSD layered file for possible future rendering. The file’s size was 15.5”x 11.6” at 132 dpi. After I changed resolution to 300 dpi it became 6.8”x5”. I think it’s OK for a card.
Procreate has tools and options similar to Photoshop like selecting, locking pixels, blending modes. It does not have pen tool to create shapes, BUT there is a wonderful Procreate community (link to it comes with software). They share tips, samples of their artwork and free brushes sets where you can find shape brushes set if you need to create perfect shape or line. There are also wonderful apps that create vector. I love iDraw and Inkpad.
I couldn’t possibly cover a lot in one post and at this point of my experience, but I will keep in touch and share my journey and hope you will share yours.
It’s a lot of fun painting on iPad. Enjoy!
Tatyana Starikova is a commercial illustrator and designer