Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Portrait Practice

I have been feeling the need to paint more people, particularly to study skin tones and proper color and lighting. I did this one from a reference photo, but I can't say that I like the color results...the skin feels too pale and chalky. Still, it was a good learning experience. I think next time I'll spend less time on the drawing!

30 min drawing in Procreate on iPad, Sensu brush stylus

1.5 hr painting in Procreate on iPad, Sensu brush stylus

Sunday, June 24, 2012

iPad Sketch Practice

Fountain at Tiburon
2 hrs, Sensu brush and Procreate on iPad

Not the best composition, but a good exercise and I feel like I'm getting a better handle on the painting app Procreate. It started raining shortly after I started this one out in front of the office, so I did a quick block-in and finished it finally tonight.

A week into using my Portenzo custom case for the iPad, and I'm still loving it! It looks great and feels very sturdy. The IntelliStand feature is amazing, the magnets that hold it in place when upright and closed are sufficiently strong while not being overbearing. I love having the stylus holder for storing my Sensu brush, the one critique I could offer is perhaps making two elastic straps to hold the stylus in instead of just the one. The reason for this is the loop is fastened at an offset to the back of the maple plywood interior piece, which I'm assuming is because of the thickness (actually, thin-ness) of the piece. When the IntelliStand is being set up, the elastic loop twists under the weight of the stylus and it falls out of the holder, but can be replaced in it once the stand is stationary. This is a minor design improvement that I don't feel degrades the quality of this product, and I'm sure production costs could be a consideration.

I'm really glad I put the time into researching and discovering these great accessories to my iPad sketchbook! I find myself unable to paint on the iPad without my Sensu brush. Sometimes I want a normal stylus is for drawing, but painting is all Sensu! If you want to paint on your iPad, go check out this great product! I wrote more about using the Sensu here.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

iPad Painting Update

I was so happy to have received the Sensu brush stylus in the mail a few days before leaving on my trip! The folks out at Sensu were quick to respond to my email, and even quicker to get it out to me. To be safe, I had ordered a stylus from Elago on Amazon, so I wouldn't be stuck fingerpainting should the Sensu stylus not arrive in time. I used the Elago on one painting, and haven't touched it since...

The Sensu stylus comes with a nice nylon carrying case with a second pocket.

The capacitive brush tip is round, slightly tapered, and has firm bristles.

Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical about the experience the brush tip could offer. Being brand new to the iPad, I hadn't used any kind of stylus before. I did some paintings with the Sensu, then some with the regular stylus end and finally with the Elago. There are several features of the Sensu brush that I instantly fell in love with:

When fully extended to the Brush mode, the stylus is 7-1/8" long. This is a very comfortable length for painting and drawing, and there is a grippy black surface on the lower third of the stylus. As a painter, I usually prefer to hold the brush farther back, but the polished chrome handle is not too slippery and is a great thickness to maintain control.

I also did not anticipate how much I would enjoy the springiness of using the brush tip - it is one of the reasons I love using this stylus so much! The firmness of the bristles is perfect, I feel in control of the tool and also more gestural. Whenever I used a traditional capacitive stylus, I felt very rigid and the drag on the surface of the iPad was a bit too much. Not so with the Sensu brush!

Please refer to the official Sensu Brush website for additional details and information on this great artist's tool - it's a must-have for anyone wanting to do paintings on their iPad!

Initially, I had high hopes for ArtRage as well as Procreate on the iPad. I have used ArtRage many times on the PC (I highly recommend it!), where it is a fantastic application that mimics realistic paint mixing as well as other traditional mediums. Unfortunately, the application on the iPad has too much drag and is way too slow for my needs, so I quickly dove deeper into Procreate and some custom brushes.

Using Procreate, I was able to complete these sketches from life:

Carnival Dream - Serenity
1.5 hours, Sensu brush - Custom Square brush, Block Charcoal, Airbrush.
This truly was Serenity!

1 hour, Sensu brush - Square Charcoal, Airbrush.

Carnival Dream - Lido Deck
1.5 hours, Elago stylus - Square Charcoal, Airbrush.

Isla Roatan
30 min, Sensu brush stylus - Custom Leaf brush, Square Charcoal, Airbrush.
This one felt rushed. Maybe that's because the boat started moving...

Carnival Dream - Ocean Lounge
1 hour, Sensu brush stylus - Square Charcoal, Airbrush.
I had to redraw this one after a poor initial sketch.

My custom Portenzo case came in the mail while I was away, but I'm breaking it in right now and I am very impressed with the build quality! Initially, I was attracted to DODOcase, but more research revealed Portenzo's quality and features to be exactly what I was looking for. The case I ordered has a black Morocco faux leather exterior and a natural beige linen interior, magnetic cover and black elastic strap, stylus holder, camera hole, and the ingeniously implemented IntelliStand. It's not cheap, but so far I think it's well worth it! The company also offers a 30-day satisfaction-guaranteed return policy on non-engraved or embossed items. Early purchasers or contributors to the company's Kickstarter page had to wait 4-6 weeks to receive theirs, while I received mine in little over 1 week from purchase.

My iPad gear - Sensu brush stylus and Portenzo custom case 
On a side note, all the photos in this post were taken with the Canon S95, an excellent compact point-and-shoot with enough control and features to make the professional or hobbyist photographer happy!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

iPad Figure Sketch

Here is a figure sketch from today's figure drawing session, done in Procreate. Still learning the app, these were mostly default brushes with little tweaks. I also don't have a stylus yet, so these are finger paintings!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Turned to the Dark Side

Well, it's official. I have joined the brainwashed consumer masses chanting "Apple! Apple!". I'm going to use it primarily as a color sketchbook, I reasoned to myself. Never mind the Nintendo DS or ASUS netbook I've purchased in the last few years for the same purpose. A painting a day! I may have to get a plein air umbrella if I want to paint outside, as nearby shade can't be reliably found....or maybe I'll just paint at night?

I've been wanting more out of my Android devices. The lack of artist apps on Android is depressing! When I saw Artrage and Procreate on the iPad, I was sold. I am still learning the Procreate brush controls, hoping to be able to create near-replicas of my favorite Photoshop brushes! Here is a quick doodle I did while waiting at the doctor's office today.

In my search for accessories for my new device, I pored over the internet (mainly Amazon, because I have Amazon Prime) for a suitable, stylish stylus with which to create my future masterpieces. I came across many promising to be ergonomically perfect for note taking, or geared towards artists. Then I found the Sensu! It has two tips you can use, one standard tip for writing and the other with tight bristles for painting. The cap comes off to reveal the brush side, and extends the body of the stylus to around 7 inches! Intrigued, I emailed the company about placing a rush order (I'm leaving on a trip this Saturday), and they're mailing one out to me now! I was impressed with their customer service, and hopefully it will arrive before I leave on Saturday.

I've also been looking for cases, and there are seemingly millions of them out there. I've settled on a customized Portenzo case, and can't wait till it gets here!

I will keep my faithful readers updated with my adventures in iPad land, so stay tuned for more artwork, crazy adventures in foreign lands, and equipment reviews!