Years ago, I had Painter 9 for my older Power Mac G4 desktop tower and enjoyed it, however it had an antiquated brush engine that lagged badly especially for inking sequential art until Clip Studio Paint came along which saved me a lot of trouble. The original CSP I had was entirely in black and white and then they released a color engine with new brushes that rendered Photoshop and Painter almost pointless with a focus on comics and fantasy illustration. It was a godsend. That is, of course, until Procreate arrived for the iPad Pro market that became a very strong contender, impressing me big time. Recently, I downloaded a trial version of Corel Painter 2019 and thought they did such a nice job fixing the brush engine and it shows. I’ve had no trouble using the brushes on my 2010 iMac workstation with my Wacom Intuos4. However the tablet didn’t have multitouch which made the process very awkward, now that I’m so used to my iPad Pro’s workflow. I’m seriously contemplating replacing my Intuos with a new Wacom 16 inch Cintiq or an XP-PEN tablet which is a bit cheaper and gets the job done although I’ve never seen or used their products before. I need to make sure my iPad Pro to desktop flow goes smoothly with multitouch so I can use the tools better because the Intuos 4 does tend to put a crimp to the projects. Corel painter 2019 is a big update and quite expensive, however it’s UI layout made it a bit awkward to switch around brushes and other functions despite the short keys that are available. The art in the following photos I did are not meant for finalization but as a test drive on the software. I’ve had less than a few days in the trial and just wanted to experiment with it out of curiosity. I do recommend Painter for those who are used to the interface and have experience in the painting realm. For now, I’ll be sticking with Clip Studio Paint, Procreate, Paintstorm, Sketchbook Pro and Concepts as my main tools of choice.
In the very early 1990s, I was fortunate enough to grab copies of the vaunted Aliens book 2 series that were four issues long, illustrated by the excellent Denis Beauvais who has inspired me at the time with such vivid colors and masterful use of lighting. Before that, Dark Horse Comics brought out the first ALIENS comic done in black and white by Mark Verheiden and Mark Nelson which I also loved. But it was the second volume that cemented it as a masterpiece of tone, grit, and horror with ‘cinematic’ flair.
At the time, I didn’t have an airbrush until a very talented neighborhood friend of mine showed me his Iwata brush which opened my eyes on how it worked. He explained to me that Denis’ work was airbrushed and hand painted which perplexed me at first until he demonstrated its use while connected to a large floor air compressor that was silent. I was hooked and eventually got an Iwata airbrush from my parents as a holiday gift which I’ll never forget.
It was to my amazement that Beauvais had a recent interview at an AVP Galaxy site which fascinated me and confirmed the use of his medium of choice while discussing his views on digital versus analog. Not only did he do the series, but was also responsible for the famous Dragon magazine cover showing ‘Bridge of Sorrows’ which I also own an issue of.
And to this today, that very same airbrush I own still works intact, originally made from Japan. I do want to stress that it had been years since I last used my airbrush in the 1990s up until recently earlier this year painting two fencing masks. I had to rebuild my airbrush set up from scratch with a new air compressor and new paint.
I plan on doing more of it in the future since it’s such a fun medium to work with, in my opinion, that digital airbrushes don’t come close to in terms of texture and quality.
Old school never dies.
Now that October has gone by recently, I’ve added an Inktober 2018 gallery page of a few selected images that were posted on my Instagram page. Since Inktober has been popular with artists around the world, Mabs Drawlloween Club has been gaining traction as an alternative with a focused theme and that alone does tend to make it easier to decide on what to draw than, shall I say, randomized. I’m sure by next year I’ll add another gallery page to it for 2019 with selections of my choosing. I’ve learned, and hearing from other creatives, in the last two years that Inktober can be quite time consuming which can put constraints on project time tables, making it a bit of a challenge to get things done. It can be a method of building discipline by professional creatives to stay on top of things. Sometimes they have such a full time schedule that it’s a miracle they manage to find time to do an inktober sketch, especially when scrolling through Instagram for inspiration. This is why I didn’t have many Inktober drawings for that month due to juggling between things and fencing.
But it’s not to say Inktober is bad, rather it’s more of a visual exercise and form of experimentation. Plus, it’s fun to try a few things here and there.
My Oni Demon illustration is now available as an art print and poster on my Society6 store. I finally got around to fixing the resolution size from the iPad Pro to fit in a Photoshop document and adding text from a famous Musashi quote from The Book of Five Rings. As a fencer and martial artist myself, I find the supernatural Oni mythology to be quite fascinating and think the imagery of a Hannya half mask used by samurai is so cool. It's one of the reasons I airbrushed my fencing mask to kind of simulate that level of badassery.
I've been experimenting with Clip Studio Paint that's a full version, paid by monthly subscription, on the iPad Pro which is really amazing and useful. It's especially great now that Celsys has lowered the price of the iOS version so that it's more manageable for the budget and keep on using it. Lately, I was getting into the japanese oni demons and wanted to tinker around with the tools of CSP to see how I can work with the layers in order to observe how closely it behaves compared to the desktop version. Incredibly, it is literally the exact same thing and ports over native files well enough through Dropbox, in my case, however I found uploading the image to the CSP cloud via iPad Pro to the desktop a bit of a problem but I'm sure there's a way to do it on the Mac platform.
It is nearly completed as I've to fix a few areas before adding the text quote marks in the negative space and consider having it available as a printed piece, probably on Society6. I believe with more experience on this particular platform, it would make it easier to work around the UI and workflow process more seamlessly. I'm really liking CSP on mobile so far.