After a few years using cheap styluses (stylii?) with an iPad I wanted to get a better tool as a Christmas present for myself. After some research, I decided for the Pencil 53. I finally received it last Friday and decided to take it for a test run sketching on location.
My first impression has been very good so far. It definitely feels much better than the tiny cheap stylus I had before. This time I sketched on the Paper 53 app instead of the more familiar Procreate, as I just wanted to try out the Pencil. The app is certainly simple and straightforward but I’d need to practice with it a lot more. I’ll also try the Pencil with different apps to see how I can get the most of the digital sketching experience.
Line sketching was surprisingly smooth; the rubber tip provides a little resistance, just enough for me to feel in command. Using color was a little difficult. It’s not easy to replicate a watercolor brush stroke, but the convenience of being able to color a sketch quickly is intriguing. I guess I can’t think of it as a replacement for my traditional media, it’s simply a different thing. I still prefer using pencil, ink and watercolor on paper, but this is worth a try, especially to use while on the train to work.
My family and I have recently moved from Puerto Rico to Wilmington, Delaware. We’re looking for better alternatives of treatment and rehabilitation for our son. A change was probably very needed in so many ways though.
This means I have not only one, but two cities to sketch! If everything goes well, I’m about to start working in Center Philadelphia next week, and Philly has so many interesting things to sketch. Besides, in the first few days I met Joshua, a local caricaturist with whom I expect to practice the craft a lot. I’m attending with my wife a figure drawing class on Wednesdays at DCAD, getting dirty with charcoal… And of course, also I’m still participating on the weekly caricature challenge on Facebook, Caricatura Puertorriquena en FB.
I haven’t sketched that much outside, as it’s been raining most of the days, but here are some of my latest:
The world of caricature drawing has grabbed me in such a way I never thought possible. I have been learning a lot and can’t have enough of it. This morning I watched a video of the phenomenal artist and illustrator Joe Bluhm. He was sketching a caricature of Kanye West, and explaining his thought process while doing it.
He was sketching it directly in Photoshop, I’m guessing with a Wacom. Although I do own a license of Photoshop, I don’t have a Wacom, so on the iPad it is. He explained that he likes to constantly switch between defining shapes with lines and with shades. This seemed interesting, and judging by his results, I definitely needed to try it.
Another interesting thing he said was that sketching celebrities is a good way to develop your portfolio and show how you’re able to achieve likeness more than by posting caricatures of people no one knows. Well, so I decided to do it myself, and if I’m sketching a celebrity, I have to start with my all-time favorite musician, Sting.
I’ll be posting my progress with this caricature; this time I started directly on the iPad, using the app Procreate and a stylus. Here is how the first stage is at this moment:
I have always been amazed by how caricaturists work, especially when drawing live. To capture someone’s likeness, abstract it and somehow make it look funny, while tens of people are watching as you go must be a bit frightening. Although I’m used to having people watch me sketch, I’m mostly sketching buildings, while my drawn people have usually been silhouettes. I have been practicing sketching people in action for a while now, very fast scribbling.
Last weekend at Festival de Claridad someone told me I should visit the Facebook page “Caricatura puertorriqueña en FB”. Even though I had only done just one caricature before, I’m always trying to learn new things, styles and media, so decided to stop by.
I have been blown away by the posted images! There are so many different styles and media, from pencil and pastels to digital, so I have had my hands full learning. And the artists have been very friendly and welcoming. So for the past three days I have been crazy drawing and dreaming about caricatures. I have even been thinking of how to make my architectural sketches more emphatic and even exaggerated, much like an “urban caricature” if you will. I’ll definitely give it a try sometime soon.
Last night I did the personality of the week, José Miguel Class -“El Gallito de Manatí”. I looked at reference photographs but I wanted to include some of his charisma while he performed so watched a few videos of him on YouTube. I was just a little kid when he had his TV show so I barely remembered his music. So I studied his gestures and attitude while he sang. I made the first sketch with a 4B pencil on paper and for rendering I wanted to try out a new app I recently got, Procreate. I photographed it with my phone and transferred it to my iPad.
After a few minutes I was feeling comfortable with the app, so it was very easy to learn the basics. It feels a bit like Photoshop, 16 layers, layer modes, opacity settings, transform tools, good drawing and painting tools. For just $5 it really is a powerful and useful app. I know I have just scratched the surface with it, so will look more carefully to all the tools and settings.
Here is the original pencil drawing and the rendered image: