It’s been a long while since I’ve done a single thing to this website, and that’s because between working full time as an illustrator and coming home to a tiny bundle of baby, I barely have enough time to step foot in my shop, let alone keep up with blogs or posts. I have come to realize one thing, and I only noticed it after working full time: that if a person has tonnes and tonnes of blog posts and keeps on them daily, then where’s the time for real work? Some of my favourite artists have almost zero presence on the web, and I’m guessing that’s because they just don’t have the time to sit down and type out a blog post or upload their most recent work, as they’re busy working! Try doing a search for Steve Purcell, the art director on Brave, whom I consider one of the best living artists, and you’ll find nothing. That is one busy dude, and rightly so. (I guess I’m taking a stab at myself right now, since I’m writing this and not working, but in my defence, I’ve taken time off to build my house. So there!)
Okay, now on to what this post is about: my experience using what I thought was going to get me off the Intuos bandwagon. I read and read all about the pretty cool drawing software called Procreate for the iPad that’s gotten a tonne of fantastic reviews, and so I rushed out and bought myself an iPad Air2 to see if it was for me. The interface is super streamlined, and it really is some fantastic software. Heck, there are even guys and gals who use this combo as their professional setup now, and are producing just as fantastic pieces. I honestly thought that this was it- the last divide between digital and hand drawn. But after playing with it for a few weeks, I missed the keyboard and all the shortcuts I’ve gotten used to with PS. I won’t get into the hand-in-the-way-of-half-of-what-the-hell-I’m-doing rhetoric, since by now I’m sure you know how I feel about that, but the one thing that really struck me was that I was zooming in and out endlessly. I’ve worked exclusively on a 27″ iMac for over a year now, and going down to a 9.7″ screen just doesn’t cut it. I felt like I was trying to be one of those crazy guys who paints a scene on the a grain of rice- ridiculous. So, and it’s no surprise, I sold it. I guess I could see using it as a portable work station, but I love leaving work behind the minute I step out the door at 5. And if I’m travelling, my brain and hand need some much needed distance from creating art all day long, so I happily won’t carry something that connects me back to the office.
I think I should also mention that my work bought a new 27″ Cintiq since we just hired a new animator on top of another illustrator (who will take over some of my duties while I’m away building an Arctic Taj Mahal). I was the first one to use it since I’m the senior artist, and I screamed bloody murder if I wasn’t the one to unbox it- I’ve learned a few tricks from my 7 month old in terms of getting what you want! Anyway, after an hour jumping through all the normal hoops which accompany the Cintiqs, like calibration, putting nine million cables under and around tables, and figuring out where the hell you put to damned thing so there’s room left to breathe, I set to work. One thing I noticed right away: the screen quality is way, way better than the 24 HD. No competition. This is actually a nice monitor. But side by side with the iMac, or stacked on top of each other like I did at work, there’s still no comparison. The depth of blacks on the iMac screen is so much richer and the colours aren’t as artificially saturated as they are the Cintiq. Close, but no cigar, Cintiq.
I also played with the new, floating express key thingy, which looks cool, and works pretty well too. It’s magnetic, but one thing no one mentions is that it only sticks to the metal border around the screen. If you tilt the monitor more vertically, then the “thingy” will only stick to the outside edges of the monitor and if you place it on the working area, it’ll just slide off. So your non-drawing hand still has to be by the edge of the monitor, like the old express key placement. Unless you’re working almost horizontally, then it can be anywhere. Close again, Cintiq, but I think you should have stuck with the old express key placement along the sides.
Like the 24HD, the 27″ Cintiq doesn’t rotate like their sexy little cousin, the 22HD. I really liked working on the 21″ and 22HD before I really got used to the Intuos, almost entirely because I could rotate the monitor as you would a piece of paper as you’re sketching. It makes a little swishing sound as you do this, and since I did it so frequently, I was driving my fellow students at the Imaginism course a couple years ago mad! Sorry, guys.
This is no small thing, and probably my number one complaint with Cintiqs which I should have known couldn’t (can’t) be resolved if you draw onscreen: back problems. I have chronic back pain from a long ago accident, and after two hours use of the Cintiq, my lower back was screaming. You just can’t have good posture being bent over as you draw on a monitor. I have tailored my workstation with the Intuos and iMac so that I’m looking at my monitor with my head level to the ground and my back straight. Since I’m 6’2″, I’ve even raised my 27″ iMac about 4″ up off the table top. I rarely get pain in my back from drawing now. To be honest, since this is what I do 9-5, I honestly can’t afford to have back pain. It’s as simple as that.
So, for now, I’m still unchanged in my love for the Intuos. That ridiculously simple device, essentially unchanged in 20 years, still wins me over. Did I mention the incredible artists like Dice Tsutsumi and the digital drawing god Craig Mullins still prefer the Inutos? Look at the top professionals in the art field, and you’d be surprised at how many stick with their Intuos.
On another note, I can’t wait to show the world some of the really great work we’ve been doing in-house over this past year, but for now, here are some blasts from the past all done for UpHere magazine. Enjoy!