Everyone needs a bit of encouragement once in a while...
With so many interesting creative techniques that I have yet to try, the development of my IT skills has never ranked highly. This was until an IT savvy friend downloaded Brushes XP to my iPad and challenged me to have a go.
I approached the activity with a degree of disinterest, but quickly found the app was pretty straightforward to use, even if I used undo and re do on a regular basis.
My first images were quite simple line drawings, with the occasional use of colour. I used one layer, as you would if creating a traditional drawing on paper, then gradually explored different marks, the application of colour and adding more detail to my images. My subjects were predominantly portraits and figures, which I hadn’t completed for some years, so keeping the drawing and painting processes as simple as possible was important.
My digital work was enhanced and developed as a result of being artist in residence at Scarthin Books in Cromford, Derbyshire. It’s a fabulous, quirky bookshop, with staff who are equally unique. With regular visits to the bookshop, I found that using my iPad was a really effective method of working and much less likely to cause damage to the fixtures and fittings than more traditional materials, such as charcoal or pen and ink. A number of these images can be seen on my website: www.lizwellby.co.uk.
As my skill level and confidence grew, I began to explore the more complex aspects of the app and the potential for using layers. This allows adaptations to be made to an image, which, in the first instance can be temporary, so allows for lots of experimentation. My more complex digital paintings can feature up to 10 separate layers; imagine 10 separate paintings which are seen as a whole.
Creating digital work has a number of distinct advantages over more traditional processes, which require space to work, time and potentially lots of pieces of equipment and materials. As long as I have my iPad, a stylus and somewhere to sit, I can work for 5 minutes or several hours; it’s a great process to pick up and set down.
For the present I am focusing on the more traditional processes of drawing with pen and ink and creating collographs and woodcuts, but Brushes XP still has its uses. I can take a photograph of a piece of my work, export it into the app and quickly experiment with adding colour or try creating more detail, and all without making permanent changes to the print or drawing.
Liz will be running an afternoon workshop from 2 - 5pm on Sunday 23rd June - An Introduction to Digital Drawing and Painting on iPads and iPhones.