My Digital Creative Process

Just when I was getting in the drawing groove, my Apple Pencil ran out of batteries. So instead, I will jump over to Pages to write some blog posts. Do you use technology as part of your creative process?

Last year, I could tell my computer was in its slow decline towards its end of usefulness, so I decided to purchase an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil. I had purchase my MacBook Pro over 8 years ago and it was feeling sluggish. Eight years is a long time when it comes to technology and my laptop had served me well. It really owed me nothing.

I am a Mac girl through and through. My brother started me on his Mac mini back 20 years ago and since then I have been living in the Mac world. Brought up around PC’s, I understood why the world had fallen head over heels for Apple and I don’t think I will ever go back without kicking and screaming.

The thing with Mac’s is that they are super expensive. So when my laptop started to become a bit of a problem, I started down the research rabbit hole to figure out what my next step would be. 

I ended up purchasing my iPad Pro, thinking I would at least be able to postpone the inevitable and take off some of the heavy lifting my laptop was doing. I quickly fell in love with my iPad Pro and, especially, my Apple pencil. Over the years, I had tried to find a decent stylus to go with my previous iPad Mini, but was never able to find the drawing tool I could live with.

The Apple Pencil has a really nice feel to it. It has a bit of weight which I appreciate. But for me, the beauty is in the tip. It has such a fine tip and I am able to recreate lines as if it was a real pencil. The tip is also pressure sensitive, so I can get thick and thin lines depending on how much pressure I use. It does hold a charge for a few days and charges really quick.

The only issue I’ve had with it is my poor little charging adapter has cracked. So sad! But I was able to find a charger that I can stick my pencil into standing up. It does the job quite nicely.

Now as far as my iPad Pro, I soon learned after purchasing it, that it was not exactly adequate to replace my laptop. With the iPad, I purchased a keyboard/cover that I am happy with. But the way the iPad operates is a bit basic. 

It was a bit too much of a learning curve for me to completely get away from the way a laptop operates. But I keep learning things daily about what it can do and I am being won over, even though at the beginning of this year I finally broke down and purchased a new MacBook Pro.

The thing that I didn’t expect was how much my creative process would change having the iPad Pro. Being brought up in the fine art world, I am used to creating with paper and pencil or paint and canvas. But now, I absolutely love creating on my iPad Pro. 

It is so easy and there is no mess. Digital drawings take up way less physical space than the stacks and stacks of dusty drawings I have collected. Plus, I can create anywhere from coffee shops to my deck overlooking the Okanagan mountains. 

Adobe Draw

I have been using the Adobe Draw app. The app is quite minimal but it has just enough features to suit my purposes. For the most part, I just use the tapered brush and I am super happy with my output. This brush creates a lovely calligraphic line at any thickness I choose. I have been able to achieve the look I am wanting with drawing these kinds of lines with my Apple Pencil. It’s truly a lovely experience.

When my drawing is complete, with a simple push of a button (and a bit of a wait for my internet), the drawing automatically shows up in my laptop Illustrator like Magic where I can manipulate the drawing further into repeat patterns for fabric designs.

The other awesome feature, I just discovered, is that my drawing is automatically recorded which can be downloaded as a short video. I am excited to show them to you in the near future on my instagram account. How exciting is that!

Adobe Fresco

The second app that I have just started to use which I really enjoy is Adobe Fresco. I still feel like a “noobie” when I use this app but I love its potential. Adobe Fresco’s focus is watercolour and oil painting. It is the best digital painting tool that I have discovered so far that mimics watercolour. 

With this app, you have the capability of adding water to your paints, so the effect is really fun. It doesn’t exactly drip like watercolour does but it does puddle and gives you wonderful watercolour textures. I’ve downloaded a bunch of free brushes available through Adobe which I am excited to utilize and explore. 

Will this new digital creative process completely replace the physical art world for me? I don’t think I will ever completely give up making things things with art supplies. I do love drawing with charcoal and will never part with this particular process. There are times that I love making a mess and experimenting with paint.

For me, I think the thing I love the most is being able to take something I’ve created with traditional art supplies and taking it further into the digital world. The two processes compliment each other so well. 

For instance, if I have completed a drawing on paper, I can scan it into the computer and erase some of the lines I am not happy with. This is not something that is easily done on paper. Often times, erasers leave imprinted lines on paper. I can also rescale certain parts of a drawing for better proportioning.

But the best part is being able to be super intentional about the colours I choose. I have always felt traditional paints were so limited on the available colour choices. Mixing paints can be tricky to achieve the actual colour in your mind. Digital colouring has infinite possibilities with tools to help you choose the exact complimentary colours. 

For now, in my art journey, I am loving what I can achieve in this digital realm. And now, that I’ve told you a bit about my creative process, I do believe my Apple Pencil is charged and I can resume my previously schedule drawing program.