Drawing with a Tablet

Art

Self portrait from mirror

Yesterday I took an hour and sat down with my drawing tablet and a small hand mirror which I propped up on my desk.

I have been feeling like I wanted to do more drawing lately from real life things since it has been too many years since I used to regularly do that. I’ve felt some of my illustration skills slipping a little and I am going to try to draw at least one hour a day.

For fun I took a time lapse of the drawing. I took shots every 30 seconds and turned them into the following video:

I’m continually amazed at the both the flexibility that my drawing tablet offers as well as the way it lets me get every pen effect I used to be able to get with an actual pen and paper.  I use a Wacom Intuos 3 tablet and it has really changed the way I approach drawing.  Instead of having to labor over storing and scanning my drawings in order to post them or use them in a game I can now work directly in a digital environment.  Plus I have become accustomed to the nice tweaks you can do when roughing out the initial drawing’s form.

If you watch the time lapse video you will see where a few times in the beginning I am able to resize the initial shape and size of my head.  It is a pretty common thing when drawing to get some of the proportions a bit wrong. In my case I often tend to make things elongate too much vertically.  I was able to squash the vertical dimension down and then later resize my facial features to more accurately represent what I was seeing in the mirror.

Once the proportions were right I was able to start defining the shape by laying down the shading.  Another nice benefit of digital drawing is I can use the pen set to a white color to come back in and hatch light areas. In a traditional drawing I would do this by erasing an area if I was using pencil or by carefully laying out pen over pencil guides so that I would leave the area white to begin with.  Being able to just come back over with white pen and flip to black pen again and again can really let me focus on getting all the form and feel right without worrying about the logistics of meticulous planning and allows me to flow along with the drawing in a way I enjoy a lot more.

I was trained classically as an illustrator way before things like tablets existed. I was initially quite worried when I bought my tablet if I would be able to adjust to looking at the screen while my pen hand drew on a different surface. What was striking was how quickly I did adjust until it became like second nature to draw while looking at the screen. I didn’t need to watch my hand anymore. I think a lot of that has to do with getting a tablet that is large enough and in the right proportion to your screen’s aspect ratio.  I have a fairly large landscape tablet and the pen is mapped from the relative position on the tablet to the same relative position on the screen.  I think this helps with the transition and learning curve a lot.  The pen has so much sensitivity and angle sensing that I can pretty much get every effect I could out of a traditional pen or pencil.

Anyone else out there have thoughts or experiences to share on drawing with a tablet?

The Results Are In

Art Game Business Games

AVOIDAL Concept Art IllustrationThe results for Ludum Dare 18 were posted last night and I’m excited to report that my latest Flash game AVOIDAL was in the top 20!

AVOIDAL placed 14th out of the 172 game entries submitted to the the competition.

Ludum Dare is a solo game making event where participants have 48 hours to create an entire game with all content from scratch after the theme is announced. This time the theme was “Enemies As Weapons.”

I wrote up a detailed post mortem about my experience creating AVOIDAL and created a timelapse video of the entire process.

This was my most successful Ludum Dare yet and I am happy to continue to meet my goals when I participate as I try to raise my personal bar for success with each event I enter. I wanted to get a top 10% finish again and I was able to get top 8% so my goal was met.

I’ve been able to predict pretty well how my games will place each time which I think is a good exercise in trying to be self-aware about your game and the potential audience for it. This can matter when you are trying to make a Flash game that you want to stand a chance of being enjoyed by millions of players rather than thousands.

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AVOIDAL Post Mortem

Games

Play AVOIDAL!

Play AVOIDAL

Gameplay Trailer (watch me score 1.5 million points!)

Watch my TIMELAPSE

Play the LD48 Official Compo Version of AVOIDAL

Play the Original LD48 Compo Version


I had a lot of fun this Ludum Dare! After missing the past few it was good to participate again for sure. I’ve never done one of these post mortem entries but I enjoy reading the other ones people post so I thought I’d take a crack at it.

You can read my detailed post mortem below:

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Angry Caverns – My Entry for Ludum Dare 15

Games

This past weekend I participated again in the 48hour ‘from scratch’ game development competition known as Ludum Dare. It was the 15th such event run since early 2000. This time around the theme that won the voting rounds was Caverns.  I created a Flash game for the competition called Angry Caverns which you can play here in your browser.

screenshot-v1-menu

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