Coming back?

The last two days have been a hodge-podge of junk art. I *know* I am not as good as I was six years ago, and it’s a bummer.

But it’s like trying to go back to stick shift after years of driving automatic. It takes a while to get back into the rhythm.

Today at work, I spent time trying to come up with a plan on my digital art setup. What software to use, what hardware to use, etc. I’m not at the level where I need expensive equipment, so I will make ado with what I have…an insurance policy in case I get “bored” and convince myself out of this hobby.

It’s tough; you have so-called “experts” insist x software is better than y software, drawing on a tablet is better than on a computer, PC vs Mac, etc. There are so many variables you can spend hours on trying to figure out what is the best “tool” yet go nowhere with actually creating art. It’s frustrating.

Then on top of that, there’s the question of what to create. Manga? Comic Characters? Scenery? Dragons? Of course, everyone has their opinions, and looking at different ideas and designs from people who have been doing this for years is massivly discouraging.

So for that, I’m setting on what I have, and what I am used to.

Here is my setup:
Late 2013 Macbook Pro 13”
Wacom Intuos Manga Tablet
iPad (for a secondary screen).

I may consider a larger monitor this weekend, as 13” is very, very small for my eyes…but at the same time I’m limited on desk space, so we’ll see…

The software is a difficult choice. I absolutly love the vector tools in Manga Studio 5 (Clip Studio Paint), but for some reason it’s really laggy, and the GUI is not at all optimized for Retina displays. There’s other great software for OS X, but it’s hard to follow along other artists when I’m using software completly different than theirs.

So I’m left with Photoshop. I’m extremly familiar with the interface, shortcuts, and workflow…industry standard and all that stuff. My biggest concern is that it’s primarily a photo manipulation tool that utilizes raster illustration…and of course, the price. I’m done with pirating stuff…so downloading a pirated version is out of the question. Yet I can’t outright buy the software. Adobe has this subscription model, $10/month for one year…which isn’t bad, and much better than say…$500 from where it was a few years ago. It feels strange though because I am making a financial commitment, and if I change my mind on this hobby…well I’m out $120 for a piece of software I won’t use.

Yet in the end, perhaps that’s what I really need…to make a commitment and say “Fuck it, I’m going to draw again and nobody is going to stop me.”

Next, what should I draw? I’ve done it all through the years: realism, pin-up, cartoon, comic style, manga. Yet during my initial drawing experiments yesterday, I couldn’t really do shit. I felt like I was 12 drawing Spider-Man for the first time…it was embarrassing. I was discouraged in my teens from drawing manga (long story) and I since loathed the though of ever doing anime stuff again…until last year when my interests resurged (I blame great stuff like Fairy Tale, Gundam, Kill la Kill, etc…)

Looking through my artbooks a majority of them are manga related…and not only that, I still have my copy of Pop Manga signed by Camilla d’Errico. So why not get back into something I already am familiar with?

With that said, here’s a quick 5-minute sketch in Photoshop I drew out from my head to convince myself that I should go back to the manga style. It’s not great…but it’s a start I guess?

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