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.

Brigada Graphic Novel

I've always loved graphic novels published from Europe that has such a wide scope of style, substance, and creative ingenuity. Creators like Jean "Moebius" Giraud are what inspired me to be a visual storyteller to this day especially having grown up with the Heavy Metal magazine back in the day. 

It has been a long time since I've read a good graphic novel from overseas and recently one title caught my eye while walking around in Earth Prime Comics, located in Burlington, Vermont. This shop has literally everything you're looking for especially the indies. 

The style of this particular artist got my attention because I've seen his work online in certain photo sharing websites and unfortunately, at the time, it was in entirely in Spanish. His name is Enrique Fernandez who's work can be seen at his website. It so happens to be in beautiful bound hardcover with rounded corners and in english, to my luck. 

Front cover of Brigadainterior of BrigadaThis is one of the most beautiful books I've read with lush line art, vivid colors, and the pacing flows wonderfully like animated film. In fact, this illustrator has some background in the animation industry as a storyboard artist which definitely brings the premise to life. I suspect he colors the book digitally after scanning in the line art or directly with a tablet. 

This book is actually the first part of two volumes while the second won't be released until later in summer which I hope to get my hands on to complete the story. It's got a nice mix of mid to high fantasy flavor with a bit of Norse/Viking/Elder Scrolls tone. I won't spoil the story but concept may appear simple on surface but rather more intelligent in layers more than one would think. 

One of the best books out there since Petersen's Mouse Guard which I greatly love. Highly recommended!

Contributing Art To Fencing

Some time ago, I created three prints based on each weapon of classical and olympic fencing using different gods to represent the past connecting to the present. It was also part of something I had in mind to expand on in the future as a way to introduce and educate people on this sport. For about nine year now, I've been fencing epee and really enjoy the aspects of the game but also the physical workout it provides for me as an artist to stay in shape. 

And each year or every other year I would contribute my talent to the fencing community to design a t-shirt. Although, I'll be doing the twenty-fifth anniversary shirt in Spring of 2018 instead. This time around, I've decided to contribute three prints from my Society6 online store to the Middlebury Open tournament on weekend of March 1st, which occurs every year by tradition, where they have raffle prizes to give out when people buy enough tickets. The money is used as a fund raiser to support next year's budget for the Vermont Fencing Alliance

This is also a good way for me to market myself through the fencing community and outwards., one in which I think would be an interesting experiment. The prints, having been delivered to my address, came out really nice which made me very satisfied. Society6's print quality is beautiful and they use, I quote:

`Gallery quality Giclée prints on natural white, matte, ultra smooth, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson UltraChrome™ K3 archival inks - the standard by which all other professional level ink technologies are measured.`

This is only one of these unique times when I contribute my work to the community because I enjoy this sport very much. 

 

Photo of Deus Epee printPhoto of Deus Foil printPhoto of Deus Saber print

New Art for 2017

Happy New Year to all and apologies for the late posting. I've been quite busy for some time working on a few projects and managed to complete one that's been on top of my list. I had a friend pose for me with her leather jacket and holding one of my practice swords at the martial arts gym in Burlington one night so I could use several shots to get it right and I went with the pose shown in the illustration below, especially with spikes on her jacket inspired by the artistry of Toxic Vision

This piece has been in the works for months and finally produced on Procreate on iPad Pro and then it was given the finishing touches on Clip Studio Paint ( formerly Manga Studio ). The more I worked with Procreate, the more impressed I get especially with the Apple Pencil. That thing is so sensitive that I can make wispy lines to the thickest.

Lo and behold the darkness of things that crawl out of the shadows!

Dark DesecrationIt's also now for sale as an art print on my Society6 store

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Meeting a giant at vermont comic con

Last weekend on August 27th, I had the chance to attend the third Vermont Comic Con in Burlington. It was probably one of the better shows they've had since the last year. Lots of cosplayers that I've seen were very impressive and had a great time themselves. Especially the giant Jack Skellington costume and the 501st New England Garrison was a treat to see. I think there were more stormtroopers and imperial officers than the previous show I went to and their booth was just so much fun to be around at with a bunch of props and goodies on their table.

Especially one of the sith lightsabers that was so well built that I picked it up, just to see if I can fence with it. The saber has a knuckle guard hilt to it which is beautifully crafted. The image below shows the actual lightsaber held by the cosplayer of the Seventh Sister ( I believe ). My hats off to this cosplayer.

Vader' s Fist cosplayI also had the pleasure of catching up with several local creators and managed to get a copy of Oliver Kranichfeld's book Flatlander after being published from his successful kickstarter event. And especially Stephanie Zuppo's Belchville book as well which I've been meaning to get my hands on. Both books were beautifully crafted and bound to which I can't wait to get around reading them. 

But that's not the main reason I went to the Comic Con. That reason lies in the name of Ken Kelly, who's considered one of the old school greats in the field of illustration. And the kicker is he is the nephew of the grandmaster Frank Frazetta. As soon as I noticed Ken's name on the program list, I took a double take and recognized his classic work, especially the famous KISS album cover art that I remembered all so well years ago, one in which my cousin is a fanatic of. 

The Great Ken Kelly himselfThe original drawing based on a certain KISS album cover that any fanatic would instantly know from.His works from horror to fantasy was one I would not forget even the images of Conan, Manowar, Frankenstein, Vampirella, and so on. It's endless. The color palette, vibrant. The paint strokes, purposeful and focused.

In confession, as a child of the 70s and 80s, his work has been an influence on me even during my D&D and gaming days, looking at horror magazines, watching Dark Shadows and the like. And as an artist myself, I have nothing but respect and appreciation for the old school illustrators who still do it to this day regardless of the digital nature of the industry. I think I would view his work as 'classic hardcore' in the most old school manner. 

His table booth had a plethora of beautifully painted illustrations especially some of the originals that hung behind him. It was stunning to see them in person. I wanted them all but they came at a price which is expected. Another fellow illustrator named Matt Sylvester, whom I know, was talking to him as I watched Mr. Kelly show him an original piece, explaining his process which was so fascinating. Matt and I knew exactly who we were dealing with. Standing somewhat taller than me like a giant, he spoke in such a laid back manner and was very open about the nature of his creative work. 

When a giant like Mr. Kelly walks into a local convention, you don't dare miss a chance to meet him. 

I got two prints from him with his autographed. So inspiring.

Eventually, after their conversation ended, I got two prints from Mr. Kelly with the autographs due to a favor I did for him. It was probably the most epic thing I ever did by keeping watch over his booth while he was away for ten minutes.

In the booth of one of the masters!

I chose the two that spoke to me as an artist, fencer and metal music lover. I will never forget this for years to come. 

Thanks to Mr. Kelly for the excellent work as it continues to inspire me.