So at the end of September I finally made the leap into DIGITAL DRAWING! I've been feeling for some time like my current all-by-hand approach might be inefficient and limiting, but having never got on with screenless tablets, my only options seemed like an expensive wacom or similar, or an ipad. I opted for the latter as I know many people vouch for them as a solid drawing platform, and because it's multipurpose (I'm having to do a lot more reading of PDFs and websites with my MA, and it's nice to have an easier way of lying in bed to do that)
Anyway, I love the iPad, and the apple pencil I got to go with it, and I got the whole lot for just under £350 second-hand from CEX. A bit of an indulgance, but I have had a huge amount of use out of them already, so it's really feeling very worthwhile.
Anyway, the software that most people seemed to recommend for drawing was Procreate, so I decided to commit to doing a month of inktober prompts to get some concerted practice in.
I hadn't seen any on social media that particularly inspired me, so I did a quick google for 'Inktober prompts', and eventually settled on this list — I'm not normally into 'worlds'/imaginery landscapes, but I'd been playing so much zelda recently that I felt inspired (though quickly regretted it)
I'm going to share ALL my drawings here — the medicore, the bad and the ugly (there are no good, lol), because I figure it might be kind of interesting to some people, maybe.
My first attempt, and it's.... bad?! Who knew this was going to be so hard? (Though my apple pencil hadn't arrived yet, so I did this all with my finger, which maybe explains some of that) Even though I suspect the prompts focus on a more mystical, rural world, I ended up coming to most of these from a decidedly realist viewpoint, because that's what I am interested in, and what I have the most experience of/visual reference for. So here's some slightly grimy orange brick tumbledown buildings with ubiquitous Buddleia and some very silly graffiti. About a million layers, all very sloppy and ugly, bad colour selections, oh dear.
A little waterfall? Probably somewhere near Hebden Bridge? I don't know. This is ugly as hell, mainly because I got really carried away when I discovered all the fancy texture brushes. It took me a few days to realise that they're just not really very... me?!
I really love treehouses, so I tried to draw a treehouse with no visual reference (I did google 'ancient tree' though it really doesn't look like a tree at all). More texture overkill. Desperate attempts at shadows which fail. Blegh.
Deep in the woods
More woods?!!? Come on you're killing me here. This is BORING. I decided to take a different approach for this one, with more of a focus on clean lines and lighting. It's still not good, but it's... different?! (Also I discovered how to draw straight lines, YAY)
Inspired by the previous days use of cleaner lines, I went hard on the minimalism, and this might actually be one of my favourites of the whole month? Mostly because I love the seaside, but also because I love the way the shadows fall. Fianlly, something I don't hate!
Given the previous day's success with the sea, I decided to revisit that in as similar a style as I could muster. It's not as good, but it's something, and I kind of like it. I decided that my 'world' has only orange bricks. Gotta try and build in SOME themes here I guess?
What even is this prompt? Platfoms?! The only thing which sprung to mind for that was train platorms, so here's a minimal but overgrown abandoned train station.
Hall of Deities
Ooh, we're INDOORS for the first time, that's exciting. Got massively over carried away in a google image reference search for 'flying buttresses'. Enjoyed mixing clean lines with the softer pencil/charcol brushes for sketching here. It's not perfect but it's definitely kind of cool and I don't hate it. Excellent!
Ancient Altar Room
Ugh, bit similar to the previous day? Come on prompt writer. I avoided it yesterday but I decided to try and create a God/Deity for this world, mostly based on my cute little York Ghost model from Dav and Justin. I don't love this, but I did it during a long zoom meeting, so at least I was multi tasking, eh :)
Windmills and grasslands
This one is pretty whatever, but my world is definitely powered by renewables.
I've always wanted to visit one of those beautiful beaches with a stone archway. Enjoyed playing with the pencil brush in this one. Still prone to getting a bit texture happy though (it's just all very new as someone who mostly just does line-work). Going back to this I definitely would add some shadows on the beach too, and then I think it might actually be quite good.
Path along the water
Channeling my longing with a seaside shore defence/promenade that could be any one of many beaches that I have loved. I miss the ocean. Enjoyed minimalism and shadows here.
Not really that interested in this prompt, so went hard on CORAL (there is a temple there too though). Enjoyed trying to convey depth and light shining through water, even though I've got a long way to go with both those things.
My world's 'God' making an Easter Island Head style appearance on a beach. Trying to experiment with different times of day/colours, but guys, did you know, this stuff is real hard?!
Fun fact, this is based on Halifax's Peace Hall! Experimenting more with the pencil tool, which I increasingly enjoy, and wibbly lines.
Totally uninpsired by this prompt, and the drawing is shit as a result. Would have probably liked to attempt a murky interior with hundreds of exciting items hanging and standing on display, but didn't have the time or a reference shot, so you can have this, and it's bad.
An evening square. I'd like to go on holiday here I think. Heavily based on a reference photo of possibly Provence?
Inn in the middle of nowhere
This is one of the worst of the whole month, but just trying something new. Wasn't super excited by the prompt so loosely tried to recreate somewhere in my imagination, and failed miserably. It's really nice here though, I promise!
This is bad, but it took me ages and I didn't realise it was bad until the very end. Sometimes it be like that!
By the Docks
This is based on somewhere in Cornwall. A different style, much too sloppy but I like it in some ways (the colour of the sea, the little boats, the shadowing)
By the beach
Kinda nice. Pencil tool in WHITE! This is based on beaches from my childhood home of Anglesey in North Wales. I mostly don't like it there very much, but the beaches are probably the best part.
A diferent style again, but quite a different kind of prompt. Thinking about flowers I saw in LA (which is a place I DO like)
At this point mostly thinking 'why did I choose these prompts?! They all suck!' (for me anyway, at least). I don't want to draw a cemetary. So here's a very close up on an old gravestone covered in lovely lichens!
It's night time in the desert! This is real sloppy if you look close up, but from a distance I'm really pleased with it. Some cool stylised sand dunes with a watercolour night sky.
My 'God' makes another appearance! This is probably the closest of anything I've done this month to my regular style of illustration. Normally in analogue mediums I'm limited by what colours/materials I have, but in procreate I can have any colour! Any material! Decided to revert back to a single colour approach as a reminder that that also is possible, and sometimes better.
Ugggghhhhh these prompts are HAAARD and impossible to do justice with my skill level. Opting for a more abstract style here to get past that. It's not good but it's something.
Man, could I have made those crystals any gaudier colours? This month of exercises really made me realise that my colour intuition is very under-practiced digitally, so leaning into that ugliness here with a big loud sunset.
Attempting a return to earlier minimalist approaches, but uh, too minimalist here. Spiky mountains. Nice chilly colours and a good glacier though...
Ugh, MORE FORESTS. Come ON. Decided to return to some of the more textured brushes with the benefit of a month of practice, and this is less bad. Enjoyed trying to create a foggy vibe. Also very ready for this to be over now though.
Look, this prompt sucks, I had a long day at uni, it's a very crude lake hole, okay? I'm tired.
Spent ages trying to draw a good galaxy sky then discovered there's a galaxy texture brush in procrete. Phoned it in. We're done here.
All in all though, despite my grumbling, this was a really good way to get to grips with drawing digitally and using Procreate. I'm feeling excited about commencing with some work I'm actually passionate about :)