Wacom Bamboo Week 2, January 26

by Marya Doery, Thursday, January 26, 2012

This latest drawing wraps up week 2 with my Wacom Bamboo:

bunny carrots and pink horse

It took about 30 minutes. That's not a lot of content for 30 minutes, but I did redraw pieces of the bunny and the horse. This is one of the advantages of using the Bamboo. If you make a mistake, it's really pretty easy to completely remove the problem and rework it without tossing the entire drawing.

I still prefer the look of inked drawings on paper. However, I've had problems with that medium ever since I started drawing years ago. Originally, I used dip pens to ink my penciled drawings. However, it was a frustrating process, because the nibs would often become unusable after doing only a few drawings (maybe I was doing something wrong; I was self-taught).

I quit drawing for a long time, and when I restarted, I began using gel pens and the like for inking. This helped, but didn't entirely solve my problems. First, I find that these pens produce inconsistent line thicknesses. Sometimes they go dry briefly, resulting in a very thin line that needs to be re-inked. This is never as good as getting it right the first time. Other times, they bleed. I don't know if this is a problem with the paper I'm using, or if it's the pen.

Variations in line thickness are not such a big problem if you're drawing a rock or a tree, but it's a huge problem when drawing highly detailed, important features, such as Little Bunny's eyes. And that happens too often. In those cases, I use Gimp to correct the errors when possible.

Another problem with drawing on paper happens when the paper has subtle waves (wrinkles) in it. The paper doesn't vary in thickness, but the paper rises and falls in a small area, relative to your drawing surface. When you put your pen down on a wrinkle like that, it pushes the paper down in some slightly random way, and your line drawing goes all over the place. I think this must be caused by some water vapor getting into my pad of paper, or even just a little dampness from my hand pressing down on the paper.

It would be interesting to know how professional cartoonists deal with the above problems. I might be using the wrong type of paper. Or maybe it would help to use gloves when drawing, so moisture doesn't get into the paper from my sweaty fingers.

I didn't have much time for drawing last week, since I was also doing a lot of work moving my stuff into a new apartment. My final day at my old apartment is Tuesday. I will attempt to get back into the swing of things soon after that.