Blending Mediums - Making Pro-create App Brushes
Yesterday I began work developing some brushes for the Procreate digital painting app available on iPad. It's a software that I, and many artists, really enjoy. It has a really streamline UI and some of the effects you can create feel really cutting edge. It feels like what I've always wanted from a digital painting software - and every single digital painter, software and brush developer up until now has paved the way for this to exist.
Painting digitally has come a long way since my days at college and university, painting by hand and completely destroying my carpets with ink blobs and spatters. One of my main pulls to transfer to digital painting back in the day was the release of the Kyle T Webster watercolour brushes on Adobe Photoshop. When I discovered more 'natural' or textured brushes could be used in digital painting software it really opened my eyes to the possibilities. Another reason was taking my work into the professional world and creating layered artwork that was useful for myself and my publishers to work with. In the beginning I would do all of my sketch work by hand and then colour digitally. It's not until I had been working for short while that I could invest in better tablets where you draw directly on the screen that I began working almost completely digitally.
The idea that digital painting is somehow lesser or a cheat compared to other art mediums has always baffled me. It's just your preferred tool, there's no right or wrong or better or worse. Yet time and time again I see people turn their nose up at digital art, as though the artist has just pressed the 'art' button and an 'art' appeared. Art is still authentic and heartfelt if made digitally, I think most people get that these days, but for some there is still an elitism around traditional painting mediums. I used to think like that back in college, but I've grown up a lot since then. To me, there's as diverse a way to use the digital tools as the physical counterparts, if not more so. It takes no less skill to become adept with digital painting, but skill in and of itself doesn't necessarily mean better art (But that's a whole other topic for another day!) Things don't need to be complicated, or difficult to be of merit. The sooner we free ourselves from this idea, the sooner we can play unrestrained with our options, be daring and push the limits of technology to our advantage.
The ability to create art that blurs the lines between digital and physical is incredibly appealing to many, myself included. I like scanning in textures and some elements of the art being hand painted but I also love creating art from scratch digitally that still feels authentic to me, and is imbued with my painterly, unpolished, error ridden soul. All whilst easily being able to edit artwork, adjust colours and sizes and tweak to my heart's content. (All that and not making a mess of my carpet in the process!)
So that brings me to the creation of my Procreate brushes, I've chosen Procreate as it's fast becoming my favourite software that I've ever used. It also seems to be the software that many new artists and hobbyists find most easy to use. I'm never going to stop trying to blur the lines between digital and traditional mediums, I absolutely love working this way, and whilst some might ask, "why not just draw with pencils if you like pencil textures?" And that's a fair observation, but ultimately, like many others I enjoy using the Procreate app and I feel so lucky to have access to it. I love having the undo button right there, personally it helps me be freer in my creativity, I don't worry about making mistakes or put too much pressure on myself. I think that every medium to create art is valid and beautiful and you'll like what you like. Without wanting to sound too cringe millennial, you do you. I love pushing the boundaries of what digital art looks like, I adore the brushes I'm making and I hope you will to! I can't wait to share them with you, I need to do some more testing with them and play around with them a little longer, but I'm hoping they'll be available in next few weeks. Here's a taster of what they'll be like:
Addendum: I just also wanted to add this point after the fact. I am aware of what a huge privilege access to technology is. And by no means am I suggesting that you need to technology to make great art. You can draw with anything, paint anywhere. As long as you love it, it matters. Even if you're just starting out or have been drawing for 60 years, HB pencils and a sketchbook go a long way. Technology does not make you a better artist - you do. Love L x