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Bill LaRocque demos cartooning on an iPad

For those interested in using their iPad for more cartooning (you bought it as a business expense, right?) Bill LaRocque did a demo of how he uses his iPad to do cartooning and talks about the benefits and drawbacks. He notes most of his artwork nowadays is digital.

Community Comments

#1 Alexander Hoffman
August/30/2012
@ 1:09 pm

This is definitely a long overdue presentation. I was one of those who originally mocked the iPad since I couldn’t for the life of me tell why someone wanted a large iPhone that couldn’t make calls. Only after I found you could draw on it did my mind change. I bought the first generation iPad in the late summer of 2010 and found it to be hard to use at first, but after a few months, drawing on it became second nature. Now I use the iPad nearly exclusively for my art.

I love the fact there’s a presentation on why artists should turn to digital tablets for art, but I feel the title of this entry is more fitting “Bill LaRocque demos cartooning on an iPad” than the presentation name, “Cartooning on an iPad.” There are too many drawing iPad apps to count so demoing each one is going to lead to so many different functions that apply only to one specific program. In my opinion, digital artists are capable of figuring out the basics of each program. To me the real discussion is over the benefits and limitations of drawing on an iPad. For instance, if your work is going to appear purely on the web, an iPad is perfect. I understand with the iPad 2 and 3, the programs offer higher resolution exports and more features depending on the program, but I find even the iPad 1 is perfect for my political cartoons that are published online.

Print is the problem though. Most iPad drawing apps offer only a 72 dpi export and require an iPad 2 or 3 for dimensions larger than 1024 x 768. If your work needs to be printed it is going to be a problem. With the iPad as your tool you are limited to certain dimensions and image quality. While not everyone may need to export their artwork to their desktops and laptops for fine tuning in photoshop, the iPad at the moment is not yet a stand alone device for creating cartoons.

Clearly there are elements to the iPad that show the lack of foresight in using it as an digital art tool. No pressure sensitivity is one example (although I’ve learned to live without it very comfortably), another is finding the right styli. Months after the first iPad was released, artists moved from stylus to stylus, trying everything they could find, hoping for something that felt like drawing with a pen. After trying brush like styli to ones that highly limited the angle with which you draw, the best one turned out to be one with a rubber ball tip. All in all it is clear that using an iPad for art is a creative idea in of itself given all the steps that need to be taken to actually do it.

While I love drawing on the iPad, I don’t think it’s the end all for digital drawing. It’s really just the first step in a logical direction. Tablets will get better and better as time goes on and once we end up with a tablet PC that runs with as much ease as an iPad, but is as powerful and versatile as a laptop, only then will there be an end all tool for digital art. (Samsung Series 7 Slate, I’m looking at you.)

#2 Stephen Beals
August/30/2012
@ 4:07 pm

Agreed. For me, it’s all about resolution. The Adobe Ideas app produces vector art that can be imported into Illustrator and reproduced at a good resolution, but there’s not much to it. It’s much easier just to ink everything by hand and scan than it is to do this.

But I expect it to evolve rapidly. Very soon I will be doing what I do with all digital art: spending way too much time making miniscule adjustments. Perfectionism is a bad trait to have when you have the tools at hand to easily change things.

#3 Dale Cipperley
August/30/2012
@ 5:10 pm

I cartoon as a hobby so I purchased the Samsung Series 7 Slate and run Photoshop CS6 and Illustrator CS6 on it quite happily. The lack of screen real estate and hot keys can be worked around and admittedly took a little getting used to (use Adobe workspaces within AI and PS and a bluetooth pocket keyboard).

The screen is pressure sensitive but not stylus tilt sensitive. The stylus does not have the same rocker button options like a Wacom so you’ll need to set up actions within PS and AI.

I am currently working on a 4375×6841 page with over 70 layers in PS. I made the purchase after reading posts on various concept art forums and could not be happier with my purchase. I do wish the solid state drive was bigger tho’ (128gb).

If you need to generate maquettes to figure out lighting or perspective, it can run SketchUp and ZBrush.

It was much more expensive than an iPad but with add ons less than an Apple laptop with a Wacom tablet.

#4 Tom Falco
September/4/2012
@ 10:38 am

My next step is to buy a laptop, not an iPad, but a laptop with the Wacom tablet built in, this way I can use Photoshop still and Illustrator. There were ThinkPads that had this. I don’t know if they still do or not, but that seems to be the perfect fit. A “real” computer, with real programs and the Wacom tablet all in one.

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