I’ve been drawing comic books, and comic art since I was in grade school, as you can imagine not all of it great. But this just meant that I still had many basic and otherwise fundamental things to learn about drawing, about the craft, and really letting my muscles mature enough in control that I could create the lines as I saw them in my mind.
The amazing thing about life is that where ever you are in your growth cycle this is always true. You can keep learning new things, not just about drawing, but in seeing, in interpretation, in conveying meaning and intention. All contributing to the visual language that you are creating.
In the last two years, if there’s any one single idea that has trickled down from the hands of the top talent in the industry, even locally, it is that you will hit a roadblock with your talent and the only way to over come it is with a drawing tablet. A user interface device that allows you to directly draw on the screen of your device.
And yes! Having a drawing tablet will enhance your range of performance, all with the collective power of digital tools that can be used to add colour and clean up any mess without damaging the images that you have drawn until now. At present it is an industry must, as digital artistry can shave massive amounts off production time. Meaning more content more frequently, with less labour behind each product. With a few exceptions, comic books have completely moved away from colouring images on paper, adopting a whole subcraft of computerized colouring methods, techniques, as well as do’s and don’ts very specific to comic book art. This projects this massive cloud, that pours down until you are drowning in the sentiment that, you’re dead in the water if you don’t have a drawing tablet. Presenting a harmful expectation for artists both now and in the future.
Plain and simply, you DON’T need a drawing tablet.
While it is the next step in visual creativity. What you need is the fundamentals, polish yourself, relearn the basics over and over until they become second nature and then do it all over again. Life drawing, basic shapes, lighting and shading, anatomy, contrast, colour theory, and shape theory. Then go beyond that, because art is not a cornered off box of skills and ideas separate from all other knowledge spheres. Learn elements of photography, discover story telling techniques in film and televison, and probably one of the bigger things to learn is the biology of the human eye; and how it interacts with light and information.
A roadblock in art is not a dead end signifying improving your tool set, it is more so an opportunity to take new avenues to build on your skill and yourself. A drawing tablet will only enhance whatever abilities and knowledge you DO have, it does not suddenly grant you skills and knowledge spheres that aren’t present in your mind. In truth it will dull and chip away at your learning curve – with all the short cuts it presents you so easily.
Instead in the mean time, invest in real world tools: copic markers, inking pens, gloves, mathematical sets, rulers, perspective tools. All that jazz.
Let’s get to drawing and evolving.