April 21, 2009

Cintiq Progress and Art Post

In order to learn to use the Cintiq to its maximum advantage, as well as mastering as the Painter 8 interface, I decided to begin from the leftmost character in the Kagerou lineup sketch from yesterday, and draw one person at a time from start to finish. The upside to all this practice is that I'll be left with a great piece of Kagerou character reference, plus the art itself will be visible proof of the speed at which I adapted my skills to the new format. So far I'm surprised and delighted by the speed of improvement. By the time I hit #33 (the Black Angel) I should have a fairly decent idea of what the fuck I'm doing.

Using layers is new to me. Hell, the last time I had Painter was the 2001 version. Getting used to these new options on this new tablet will take a long time, and I'm not good with huge changes. So I'm going to keep going down that line, experimenting, trying new tools, til I'm comfortable with the setup and ready to expand into new and interesting fields using what I've learned.

Switching Kagerou to a Painter comic is a possibility, depending on how the style would change. I'd like to keep the cel shaded anime thing going as much as possible, but I would be happy to sacrifice that for a more organic look if I could do it justice. If it sped up production I'd just about have to at this point :D

But before I go counting comicky coup, I need to learn the basics like a good little newbie. No "I'll learn as I go!" crap, only to find out after years and years that I was doing everything the hard way the whole time. Nope, this time I'm going to put in as much time as it takes to acclimatize to the tools, then unleash the fury of technology upon the cities of my enemy once I'm good and skilled.

It will be tough, but I'm going to figure this shit out and make it my bitch. For one thing, it's redoubled my drive to better my skills. Also it's just plain fun to dick around with this awesome new toy. I've wanted a Cintiq since I was a kid and it was still science fiction, ever since that Supergirl movie where they would draw stuff in midair and make it come to life. Yum.

I spent all of today reprogramming the Cintiq's shortcut keys. My goal is to eliminate the need for a keyboard altogether by putting all the hotkeys on the tablet. This was doomed to failure since there are only ten buttons on the tablet itself, but then I discovered the Radial Menu and its amazing collapsing menu tree.

Now I've got every shortcut-able command in Painter mapped to the back-click button on the stylus, right down to turning the volume up or down on iTunes without touching the keys. For things that still need the keyboard, I use the XP Onscreen Keyboard.

Once that was done, I did it all over again for Corel Photo-Paint (which has different shortcut keys) and calibrated the monitor.

End result: ease of use is fucking unbelievable. My wrist is fucking killing me, but it's the ache I get from drawing for hours and hours, not the one I got every time I used the Graphire. No carpal pain or finger numbness after something like 12 hours of on-and-off drawing.

I do wish I'd gotten the larger tablet, but it would have meant waiting another year to save up the cash. I will be able to afford it much sooner if I use the 12" model to do commissions. Then I can trade up.

Other than the art, my life is in shambles. Forgot to pay a bill, now I owe $300 in medical expenses because I lost coverage. Lost my cell phone (found tonight at least), lost my medical card, ran out of medication and can't renew the scrip (which may explain the rest of my sudden fail, actually). Not sleeping well. Room's a mess. Housework is crazy backed up, and I haven't talked to my lawyer in months. I know it's going to bite me in the ass later, but I'm avoiding everything as much as possible. It's sort of congealed into a giant katamari of suck, and I don't negotiate with terrorists. The only thing I've done well all month is get my Etsy orders out on time.

But all of this is OK, because suck happens. The trick is to break the katamari of suck back down into small, manageable pieces so that it no longer has the power to intimidate. So tomorrow I'll pick a small task from the failbin and start by fixing it. Disability schmisability, I'm a powerhouse of radness. Because why? Because digital watercolor.


  1. Hey, I was wondering after looking at this, what's the right way to pronounce Tcaolin? I've always read it as 'tuh-COW-lin' but I doubt that's right...

  2. I say it sort of like "Sow-leen" but you can go either way if you like. It's gonna be a farm animal either way XD.