Clip Studio Paint on iPad Pro

One of the biggest reasons I acquired the iPad Pro over a year ago was due to the portability of the device and pressure sensitivity of the Pencil. However, I had long hoped that the company responsible for Clip Studio Paint , formerly named Manga Studio, would finally come to their senses to bring it over to the iOS ecosystem. Because I've had excellent experience with the desktop version for several years for my illustration work, it would be such a boon to be able to carry the native file formats and continue the work on the go and back home.

The wait would end just recently as of this month of November when I had just discovered that it was released to the iPad Pro. I was quite shocked and excited. And so I went to download it for FREE to test it out. 

But there IS one huge drawback to it. It would be a subscription of $9.00 a month AFTER the six months of free trial is used up. Fortunately, I have until May to give it a try when the subscription kicks in. I just hope that the developers at Celsys would change their mind and go with the one time payment fee for the license OR reduce the monthly subscription to no more than five dollars which I would not mind paying for. It's a huge app at around 500 MB in size to download which is something to be prepared for. 

However, having tried it out briefly, I can certainly say that this application is awesome. It behaves EXACTLY like the desktop version to my amazement and the half tones being used were perfection. All the tools I was familiar with on my desktop were replicated well onto the iPad Pro. Despite the beautiful UI on it, the rotation on the canvas is a bit choppy and not as seamless as Procreate. I'm hoping Celsys will clean up the code and make the scaling and rotation of the canvas much smoother without any slowdown. 

Keep in mind that there are a lot of tools in this app that takes time to get used to and using the Materials such as half tones work beautifully. In fact, one can convert half tones to a solid in monochrome or in color. I will continue to test it out some more, now that I'm in the trial mode to see if I can move my original CSP files from the Mac desktop to the iPad Pro, hopefully they might allow the use of Files on iOS 11 to interact with Dropbox. 

I've taken some photos of my experiment with CSP on iPad Pro and have had to download some gray tones for starters. Most of the effects and material tones are free on Celsys' website but one would have to register to have a profile to access them which I recommend. 

The tools from pen, pencil, eraser, brushes and so forth are a godsend on this. One can produce comic panels or dialogue balloons in this. Even text. One can also change the canvas resolution from 75 to 600 DPI but I suspect the higher it goes, the more it may slow down on iPad Pro, although I haven't gotten to that point yet.

Would I recommend this app? For a hard core CSP fan and one wouldn't mind spending a subscription per monthly, the answer is HELL. YES. I would go so far to say it would complment Procreate and Sketchbook Pro nicely as well which I also highly, highly recommend. It's great for manga creators and/or digital artists on the go. 

 

The CSP icon

Introductory panel to CSPThis is the only big bummer of this deal, although six months is quite generous.At close up, you can see the default DPI and canvas size.The entire user interface of CSP for iPad ProThe pencil tool works beautifully like the desktop versionOne of the few color palettes I can work fromHere's the Pen tool sub-menu. I chose the Real G-pen.Layers section works flawlessly. The Materials menu with the halftone dots. Works beautifully. Love them.You can see the half tones up close. EXACTLY like the the desktop version.This is a test image to see how the ink and tone lines work. I'm really impressed.

The Long Summer Is Over And A New Pen

Summer has come and gone which has kept me away from this blog due to other personal things and getting another car to replace the old one. But also the heat which truly tested the creative juices to no end and doing what I can to stay busy. 

Nevertheless, the cold wave has arrived to such glee and I'm all for it. But winter is where my creative energy shoots through the roof. Perhaps not all creative people are wired in similar fashion and have their own energy flow at different times of the day. Or year. 

Now that October, or should I say Halloween, is so close by, I decided to show a small update of a great fountain pen I just bought and love the line art came out as seen on my Instagram page.

Below is a photo of the fountain pen up close with the new refills I ordered recently that should last me a year or so. The ink it uses is smooth and does well for hand writing on fine paper or notebooks. But I would suggest using a notebook with thick paper to prevent any spidering or bleeding of the page. It does interact nicely with a sketchbook but as long as it is smooth textured without the tooth, so that there's no accumulation of paper on the tip of the quill. 

The pen works beautifully with the cartridge reload and is comfortable to hold. I find it addictive to sketch with it producing crisp lines of spontaneity. It's really worth checking out the Ooly pen at ooly.com. 

On another note, I may be moving my site to a version 7 engine, from the old one, on Squarespace so it will have a different look slightly but more mobile ready. I'm also considering keeping the blog down to a minimum with a new focus on illustration and storyboard work in the near future. So, keep an eye out for future changes.

 

Ooly fountain pen

Airbrushing Once Again

Years ago, I got into airbrushing during the time I was in art school and owned the classic HP-C Iwata airbrush. This thing was an engineering marvel which never broke down on me The Paasche was the other I had and it worked pretty well except for the certain times I had difficulty creating thin lines. The problem, at the time, was that I had a small air compressor which was a single motor without a tank and it was quite loud. I had to pull the plug every time it got hot and waited for it to cool off in order to resume the work. 

But I enjoyed the airbrush process and how the paint flowed onto the surface was fascinating to me.

I got into it when an old neighborhood friend of mine, who's a talented artist, purchased an airbrush with a huge silent compressor. When I first saw it, I was stunned to see the incredible details he was able to pull off and the medium was new to me. I owe it to him for opening my eyes on this incredible tool, among other techniques. 

After I finished art school, I stopped using the airbrush and went into other media. I moved around a lot back then and lost two air compressors. The loud motorized one and the other was a pitch black box from Aztek, I believe, were the only ones I had. When I moved to Vermont, I lost both of them in the process and could'nt locate the items. 

But the Iwata still remained in my possession. Until now, when a friend of mine privately hired me to custom paint his HEMA (historical european martial arts ) fencing mask based on the heraldry of the design I did for him over a year ago.

All of a sudden, it was my chance to get back into it. So I had to get a new compressor and start all over from scratch. My Paasche then broke down due to the nozzle tip that snapped. I couldn't use it again and had to buy a second hand vintage Paasche V from a local person. This brush was much older from the 1980s and surprisingly, it worked. 

But the Iwata is still my favorite workhorse which had not failed me over the years. And that needle which was inside of it was still there since the last time I used it in the old days. It was in perfect condition that shocked me because ordering airbrush needles are not cheap, let me just say. 

My Iwata HP-C airbrush. A solid classic revered by many.Zeny airbrush compressor with a motorI had to order new Wicked Color paints from Createx so that they would flow better through the airbrush than the opaques which were causing problems to the needle and nozzle areas. The new air compressor from Zeny did the job perfectly well for the level and scale of my project. Especially the new paint had to adhere to the apparel surface of the mask which was important. And best of all, it's got a tank with the moisture trap which was badly needed. 

Worked out the visuals on the Concepts app on my iPad ProI then got to work on my iPad Pro to visualize on the Concepts app of how the mask would look and the way his creature's mane would flow. I swear by Concepts for many things and made things more streamlined. It took several iterations to get it right. The final results can be seen below.

Front of the maskThe side of the maskThe back of the maskIt took me a few days to complete it after some re-adjusting to the compressor and getting the paint volume right. This was a lot of fun and my client is very please with it. Especially since it's part of the SCA form of fencing that's partly related to my interests. As an epee fencer myself, it's really a great way for me to run wild with this and learn from this experience on how to airbrush again. 

Now the thought of doing a large scale airbrush illustration intriques me especially if it's something for the Art of Horror group exhibition in October. I think I may buy one more airbrush along with a few other necessities to complete the kit and add more colors for future projects. 

 

The iPad Pro Experience

Just over a month ago, I have been working hard to acquire an iPad Pro with 256 gb of storage which is the top of the line model. With a business plan in hand, I got a special grant from a local agency to assist in my professional endeavors to make this acquisition which turned out to be a huge help. With experience using the Wacom Intuos over the years, I thought having the iPad Pro would be the next step to complement my digital art workflow because I needed the mobility outside of my studio.

The most important factor to me was accuracy and palm rejection in order to have natural flow. I'm quite pleased to say that the Apple Pencil does the job very nicely. It's no Wacom but comes extremely close even though the portability factor is what made it stand out. But the pressure sensitivity of Apple Pencil is one of the most amazing experiences I've had and the ability to tilt the pencil for a shading effect is eerily accurate. I think the Pencil and Wacom styluses are the best in the market for digital art, in my view.  

I was considering a Surface Pro but decided against it that it would take another iteration or two for Microsoft to perfect it and I'm sure they will, having seen their latest Surface Creative PC as one of their best innovations to date.  

Now that I have the iPad Pro, this will allow me to brainstorm and lay out the concepts visually, even do full size illustrations when I can, outside of my studio instead of being 'chained' to my desktop. This was the most liberating experience I've had using this tablet. 

But it's not to say I'm going to stop using my sketchbook. Far from it. I will always stay old school by hand to facilitate my thought process naturally. 

As of current, Procreate is now one of my most favorite apps for my illustration work along with Sketchbook Pro. Adobe Sketch and Draw are also excellent which I recommend. Even Forge and Concepts are fantastic which I'm starting to experiment with, especially when it comes to storyboarding when I delve back into this industry. AstroPad will be my next app to add in so that I can remotely treat my iPad Pro as a Wacom Cintiq and this will be handy when using Manga Studio on my desktop tethered to the tablet. 

There's so much I can experiment and work with on my future project endeavors. 

Drawing on ProcreateApple Pencil with my SmudgeGloveMore Procreate work

Deus Foil and WIP

Recently, I got a brand new drafting table to replace the old desk as my digital workstation strictly for that purpose a couple days ago. And with the height adjustability, I was able to work with better posture and reduce my RSI in tandem with my Wacom Intuos tablet which is a godsend.

With that new addition, it works well in relation to my older drafting table that's only for traditional art. I was able to complete the second image in the " Deus " series which is titled " Deus Foil " done on Manga Studio software.

Deus FoilThis image is also available in my Society6 store as an art print. The next and final image will be based on the Saber weapon class which will take some time, even though I have my eyes set on the annual Art of Horror exhibition coming up this October, one in which I have at least one or two images in mind.

Currently, I'm working on a new project for my client Phoenix Tree Publishing who's trying to do a second print edition of his book he wrote a few years ago. It will be in black and white on the inside pages as a way of introducing the characters in " Spy in the House of Fitzwalter ".

Here's the preview:

King John and the Plantagenet family

 

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