I first began exploring design because I had a profound love for computers. I was that kid. I had a Palm Pilot at age 10 because I was fascinated by it and liked to keep my “schedule” on it. Can’t go missing important appointments when you’re 10, am I right? When I started self-teaching design, I went directly to the computer - not surprising given my history. You need a logo? Computer. Album cover? Computer. Painting? I will do that digitally because technology.
It wasn’t until college that I started experimenting with analog mediums. I had one professor in particular drill into my head that EVERYTHING must start on paper. Pen, paper, paint, erasers, glue, scissors...everything analog. And then, ONLY after you have something you like, you can bring it into the computer for refining and retouching. At first I was extremely resistant to this way of thinking. This was wayyyy out of my comfort zone. I am a millennial, I thought. Don’t make me use a *scoff* paper and pen.
Gradually, after months of being forced to do everything this way, it became my new norm. Painting, sketching, cutting, taping, textures, fabrics...everything was so much more authentic and raw when doing it the REAL way. I became addicted to the process and I’ve now been doing it this way for years.
After much thought and deliberation, I recently purchased an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil. Now that I’ve had extensive experience with both digital and analog mediums as a part of my process, I thought it would be interesting to see where this took me. I tested this out on an invitation suite for a styled shoot that I was asked to participate in. Instead of starting on paper like I (now) always do, I went straight to the iPad. iPad for ideation, for sketching, for refinement, for execution, for everything.
This was...interesting. I tried out some “watercolor brushes” in an app called ProCreate to see if I could simulate actual watercolor. While it was more realistic than I had expected, it was nowhere near the real thing. Lettering on the iPad, however, was amazing. It is smooth and consistent and easy to refine.
I ultimately ended up bringing everything into Adobe Illustrator for extra refinements and file exporting, but 99% of the work was done on the iPad. I have to say...I don't think I would work this way again, especially for something involving simulated paint. There really is nothing like ACTUAL paint. However, I have been using the iPad Pro for some botanical sketches that I've been playing around with and it’s amazing.
What it really comes down to is balance. There are certain things better done on paper, and other things that lend themselves to the computer. I think what’s important is to remember that it’s okay to use both - doing it one way or the other doesn’t make you any less or more of an artist. DO YOU.