Drawing on an iPad
Every now and again, I manage to make it along to an amateur life-drawing class that’s run by a group of friends in London. It’s held in a fetish shop, and volunteers get up to pose as models for the group. Let’s pause for a moment to look at my favourite gimp-mask of the night, then I’m going to talk a bit about drawing on an iPad.
There you have it. Gimp mask of the night, there.
I’m quite late to the game with drawing on an iPad, just as it took me ages to get my head around drawing with a graphics tablet (best advice I had was to move it further to the side, rather than in front of you, then spend a couple of hours just drawing basic shapes like triangles so you can get your proprioception used to watching the screen, not your hand). In fact, it has only been in the last couple of years that I’ve actually learned to draw at all, after a very long hiatus of just not liking any mark I made. So, bear in mind with all of this that I’ve gone from marker pen scrawls on post-it notes for a zine to making a 200 page comic where the artwork’s central to the story in the space of four years, so there’s bound to be a lot of key points I’ve missed and things I slip up on.
First off, choice of weapon is key to getting a good experience with drawing with any new method. I started trying to draw with my fingers, then didn’t want to switch to the loose, painterly style that suits, where you smudge things into shape and don’t even try to get lines to join. A standard little pen for the iPad was great for point and click stuff, but it wasn’t sharp enough for drawing the way I prefer to draw, so I wound up getting a JotPro pen. The reason for that is that it has a little ball set in some clear plastic instead of a fingertip-type nib, so you can see where you’re drawing.
I also prefer Sketchbook Pro to other drawing apps, although ArtRage seems great for painting and Ink or Adobe Ideas are great for more solid line-work. There’s others that I’ve tried, like ArtStudio which just don’t keep up with you as you draw well enough to avoid brain-ache while sketching.
Next, just take the plunge and get used to it.
Yep, there was an Olympic theme to the life-drawing session, and this was a man lying on the floor pretending to be underwater. He wasn’t actually this colour, I just wanted to have a go with some more options in the app. For me, where I sketch by exploring first with light lines to give the shape, then return to give the drawing definition, colour’s something that’s quite alien to me, and I’m never entirely happy with how colour looks in my hand; I think I just prefer black and white and I’m not going to panic about not having the same grasp of colour that some people quite naturally seem to do.
Actually, that takes us nicely to the last point, which is that although it’s important to work at how you draw, there’s no point in struggling. In every kind of mark-making from pissing in the snow to crayon to charcoal to ink, to paint, to photograph, your body and your personality (and, possibly, what you’ve been drinking in the first instance) will change how your image forms. You’ll concentrate on the things that fascinate you and you’ll sketch over the things that aren’t compelling for you.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t stretch and explore your drawing, that’s part of the beauty of creating new things, but what I’m saying is that you can’t get too caught up in wishing you could do expressive arms like Joe Decie, or be as cool as Jamie McKelvie or as clever as Lizz Lunney. What’d be the point in that? Sure, there’s technical stuff like knowing how to use layers or what brushes work better for particular kinds of ink, or which papers bleed with which types of ink, but ultimately, Joe is the best Joe, Jamie’s the best Jamie and Lizz is the best. You get the picture?
So, um, that’s why this is a tutorial with only very little technical information in it and a few five-minute drawings of some naked men without the traffic cone selection of dildos behind them included. For me, Sketchbook Pro, a layer of quick, loose lines and maybe another sweep of heavier lines, seems to work, and I like the JotPro pen. I’m not going to suggest either of them’s right for everyone, but I don’t mind them for quick sketching.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the naked men pretending to be athletes. I’ll let you guess what he was really holding in the picture of the man fencing or what the trio were stood on.