I’m exhausted. I’ve had a full day of proposal writing, coding, and conference calls. I’m also under deadline for this month’s The Burg illustration, so what better time to procrastinate!
Last month, I did my illustration using Procreate for the first time (while visiting a friend in a hospital room in Denver). As I was about to get started on tonight’s illustration I remembered that Procreate has a cute little playback feature. So, here’s last month’s illustration captured on video (you can check out my son standing in as a model, and here’s the article).
It encapsulates the rushed nature I always get when doing these illustrations, as well as the luxury of working with multiple layers and resizing on-the-fly.
I made a recent trek to Colorado for a more somber reason than sighteseeing, but I certainly made the best of it. I sampled eggs Benedict from a different city every morning, sampled libations from various breweries after work sessions at coffee shops, and otherwise subsisted on sushi and Voodoo donuts every night.
My favorite portion of the trip (besides visiting friends) was on my last day visiting Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Some shots below (along with a few less-scenic shots from my trip).
This was by far the most beautiful electrical box I’d ever come across (in Fort Collins).
I spent my evenings playing XBox in a hospital room.
Representing Pennsylvania in Denver. Alas, my team lost to the healthier one.
I’ve been drawing digitally for over eight years, most recently on a Wacom Cintiq 22HD Touch. I know there are some that still appreciate the feel of physical art materials, but the ability to work in layers, scale elements, and switch colors has become ingrained into my workflow.
So, after nearly a month of anticipation, my Apple pencil arrived, and with it the promise to draw digitally on the go. I’ve fantasized with the idea of being able to lounge around in a coffee shop and draw on my iPad, but that scenario never came to fruition.
Wacom Creative Stylus 2 (top), Cintiq/Intuos Stylus, Apple Pencil
One reason is the hardware–I couldn’t find stylus that felt comfortable. I tried using a Pogo stylus back when it [seemingly] was the only stylus on the market, but found it compromised my drawing–it was an unwelcome restraint that handicapped my process. Later, I invested in both the Wacom Creative Stylus and its successor, the Creative Stylus 2. The first version had the precision of a child’s marker, and while the Creative Stylus 2 slimmed the tip, the palm rejection did not agree with this southpaw (a task that is partially the responsibility of software). Furthermore, I also didn’t care for the slippery plastic tip contacting my Otterbox, which I could only be exaggerated by a disc-tipped stylus.
In both cases, pressure sensitivity wasn’t an issue, but the experience felt so foreign that I intuitively made paperweights of the devices.
Another reason the coffee shop fantasy never came true is software. The iPad doesn’t support Photoshop (which remains my drawing software of choice). Sure, Adobe has released iOS apps, but many of them come across as demos compared to their Creative Suite.
Lastly is setup, I often need to draw from reference, so my office is the perfect environment. While I’m drawing on my Cintiq I can pull up image references on one of my other monitors. I toyed with the idea of getting a Wacom Companion, but the reportedly mediocre battery life paired with the fact that most artists work in their studios made me decide against it.
Multitasking on the iPad Pro allows for drawing from reference
I’ve been using the Apple pencil for a few weeks now, and…I actually use it. It’s easily the best stylus I’ve ever used for the iPad. It’s as responsive as my Cintiq, it doesn’t suffer any parallax (though, to be fair, the Cintiq is MUCH bigger), the tip offers a more natural resistance, and palm rejection just works. Sure, there are some things I don’t like–it doesn’t have an eraser ‘button’ on the other end (no iPad stylus does), it doesn’t have buttons along the side, and the cap, despite being magnetic, is just screaming to be lost. Determining the amount of charge the pencil had was also a bit of a challenge (look into widget notifications in settings).
As for native iOS apps, I migrated from Autodesk Sketchbook to Procreate and haven’t looked back. Procreate sports a simpler UI, supports a layered canvas up to 2732×2048, and exports to PSD. Just to make my iPad Pro productive, I invested in Screens for remoting to my laptop. It’s not intended for drawing, though, so I also bought Astropad, which allows for remote drawing in Photoshop and uses an ingenious delayed cursor effect to mask any lag.
The iPad Pro’s multitasking is a game-changer, as well, as I can simply pull up a reference image directly in Photos or Safari.
So, between the two, which is better? If money is no object for you, I’d still go with the Cintiq, as it eliminates the proxy to a final file and has a comfortable stylus with an eraser tip. Still, for nearly a third of the price, an iPad Pro with pencil is probably the next best option on the market.
On a recent trip to Philadelphia (primarily to hear UX expert Jared Spool speak at Wharton) I just so happened to drive by Eastern State Penitentiary. I was first introduced to this landmark by the work of several of my photography students, and the allure of its decaying state forced a spot on my bucket list ever since.
Many of the images birthed from peoples’ cameras are the same symmetrical, cliched pinups (including mine, below), but it remains a photographer’s playground. It was definitely worth the visit, if only to hear Steve Buscemi’s voice guide me around.
Using include files in my HTML templates has become an essential part of my web design workflow, and I’ve been using gulp-file-include in conjunction with generator-gulp-webapp. While gulp-webapp includes a gulpfile.babel.js file, it needs a few modifications to get HTML include files to display both when serving and when building.
I came across a helpful thread here on GitHub, though as I stated in the comments, I couldn’t get includes to display when building. Below is the complete solution. Basically,
I create a fileinclude task (L44)
I modify the html task to include a fileInclude() call (L57)
I include fileinclude in the serve task (L95)
I check for include file changes within the watch task (L114)
Okay, so it’s a misleading title (especially now with this post), but it sounds cool.
Before I apparently became famous as the guy in this photo, my former claim to fame was as the “TorchBearer label guy.” I’m (finally) revisiting my past identity by working on the Psycho Curry label, and I figured I’d share a set of labels that were seen exclusively by the trade show circuit.
The good folks at Datum Storage Solutions are fans of both TorchBearer’s sauces and their labels, and they commissioned me to do two custom labels for mini-bottles for trade shows. The theme: spartans and zombies.
In what’s become a rarity in my workflow, I actually did some starting sketches on paper before moving to digital. Here’s some of the sketches along with the final product.
I recently squeezed in a bike ride around the Greenbelt before the autumn’s breeze proved unbearable. I lugged along my SLR and my tripod, and while my tripod bag didn’t survive the trip, I made it out with these infrared photos.
I’ve always found the state hospital grounds to be some of the most tranquil parts of the ‘burg.
With a daylight white balance the shots come out very red (below). Personally, I find these far more interesting than converting to B&W, although I realize it’s not for everyone.
I once compared a color-to-black-and-white conversion against an infrared one and was able to generate pretty similar results. Trying to emulate an infrared image in Photoshop would be much more difficult, if not impossible.
I was really surprised to not be able to find an equivalent of the Channel Mixer in Adobe Photoshop’s RAW window. Tweaking the red channel yields some pretty wild results.
I'm a creative technologist at Hauck Interactive, Inc. and an adjunct instructor at HACC. I live in Harrisburg, Pa. with my wife and two boys. I enjoy good coffee, Trappist beers, Orioles baseball, and good design.