Turning a corner…

As you know from my previous post, I ordered and received my first Wacom tablet in the mail this week. I’ve only been using it for a few days but I am head over heels in LOVE!


Check out my “first” illustration in progress:





I’ve been working in Photoshop since (*cough*) 1997… and have even been teaching seminars and workshops on the program for the past few years. Knowing that, it is just plain ridiculous that I haven’t bought a tablet before now. RIDICULOUS! When I got it, I was expecting the normal 3-4 month adjustment period people claim that it takes to get used to using the thing… but oddly enough it fits like an old cozy glove.

To get a better feel for how to get started, I went ahead and bought/watched Will Terry’s first Digital Painting in Photoshop course.


I was expecting to pick up a few tips here and there… but I ended up watching all three hours in total amazement… taking notes feverishly the entire time. He is a MASTER at color. And, believe it or not, he does his illustrations using only about 2-3 tools in Photoshop. That’s it. He advocates becoming an illustrator in traditional media and then finding a way to create the same technique digitally (Props to traditionalists!). When you look at his previous acrylic work alongside his newer digital work you literally can’t tell one from another. It’s a beautiful thing in a world so smothered in digital art and it convinced me that it just might be the “medium” I’ve been searching for.

As soon as I got an hour or two into painting my illustration I was sold. I’ve been searching for a way to get the detail I need and want, without losing the raw beauty of the texture you see in traditional paintings. By adapting Will’s methods to suit my own style, I think I may have turned a really incredible corner with my technique and who I am as an illustrator.

I’ve still got a long way to go on this piece. The process for this technique is very slow and quiet. It is amazing to me how much it feels like when I work in colored pencil. However, it will be much easier to make corrections when I need to make changes. AND, I can get much richer color and incredible detail without worrying about the piece becoming muddy… something I’ve struggled with.

The Gods are beginning to take shape and I love all the “special moments” that are just starting to form in this illustration. I can’t wait to get back to work and finish this one… so I can move on to the next. It’s going to be a beautiful year… and I don’t think I’ll struggle trying to enjoy the process like I was before.

I feel incredibly inspired!

9 Responses to Turning a corner…
  1. Cindy
    January 20, 2012 | 7:55 pm

    Hi Andi,
    I like what you’re able to achieve with Photoshop!I’ve had the Wacom for about a year and I haven’t had the same results. I was beginning to think that I needed to get Painter and try with that instead. How did you work with Photoshop pre-Wacom? Did you scan in your traditional art? Perhaps I need to watch the Will Terry course.

    • Andi
      January 20, 2012 | 9:27 pm

      Thanks Cindy! I actually have been using Photoshop for graphic design work and photo manipulation (very intense graphics work though… not just cropping and red eye reduction) for 15 years. I’ve always done my illustration traditionally, and I enjoy the feel of pastels and color layering in colored pencil. I was doubtful that I could get the look I wanted in Photoshop… even having used it for as long as I have… but I’ve been pleasantly suprised. I would HIGHLY recommend Will’s videos. He gives a lot of information about line quality, tonal values, color, etc. that would be applicable to any illustration… digital or traditional either one.

  2. Helga Pearson
    January 21, 2012 | 1:20 am

    I’m so, so happy for you Andi. It sounds like things are really slotting into place! Can’t wait to see how it all comes together. I have a few years experience in Photoshop, perhaps not as much as but I’m HOPING I take to it as easy, when I can finally splash out and get a tablet. So exciting, wow, just keep going Andi… 😀

  3. Melissa
    January 21, 2012 | 3:34 am

    Hi Andi – great illo! I must agree with Will about making it right traditionally and then working with digital to accomplish the same. I was watching the S. Hughes video Helga put up and she made a point about digital art being very one dimensional. I believe if we use it wisely we can make digital as amazing as traditional. It’s about learning how to use it.

  4. Lisa Thompson
    January 21, 2012 | 9:11 pm

    Andi – Love this one. And you’ve convinced me I need to buy Will Terry’s classes. They’ve been on my radar for a while, but have never talked to anyone who had purchased them.

  5. Meridth Gimbel
    January 21, 2012 | 9:32 pm

    Hi there Andi! :)

    Wow! You are fast! I like the tone of the illustration and the layout. Beautiful composition and you certainly are a very proficient draftsman. Nicely done.

    I’m sure you are working on this, but the values of the god to the left and the rest of the background (besides at the horizon) are too similar and the god disappears.

    I actually have a blog called Illustration Workshop that is a private blog between me and my friends, that we sporadically use to put in progress works on it. If you’re interested, I could invite you to join. If not, no pressure and no worries.

    You are awesome… I’m excited about your project!

  6. Bonnie Branson
    January 22, 2012 | 7:27 pm

    Beautiful illustration and it’s awesome that this is your first one with a tablet. I used to do watercolor and gouache paintings before I picked up the tablet but I find that I do overlays and transparencies and build up my colors in a similar way I do with real paint. I agree that you should have knowledge of traditional painting before moving onto the tablet. The tablet is a tool and not a crutch. If you don’t have the know how, the tool is not useful at all.

  7. Michelle Munger
    February 4, 2012 | 12:32 am

    When I first used my wacom, I didn’t like it, after a few hours of use, I put it down and never touched it for about three months. Then i found a new art program and tried it out again. This time, I loved it. I don’t know what I was thinking before. Now I have a Cintiq and literally can’t live without it. Your art is fabulous and you do a spectacular job with your wacom. I was looking to subscribe to your blog but couldn’t find the button. I’m going to list your blog on my page.

    • Andi
      February 6, 2012 | 2:23 am

      Thanks for your compliments Michelle! I think I already feel the same way about my Wacom… still don’t know why I didn’t buy one years ago.
      You were the second person to suggest a subscription link so I added a few on my blog. I noticed that you are a WP follower now… but that will give you the options to follow me by email or RSS feed. Thanks for the suggestion!

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