By – Jesper Ejsing

Jesper and Peter at the game Studio

I recently started doing a lot of digital artwork. The reasons are not just one. I have been toying with the idea for many years, but never really took the leap of faith to switch medium. When it comes down to it I am a very habit ruled person. I hate new things. But that is also the the main reason for switching. To be perfectly honest I was getting a little tired with the acrylic system I had worked myself into. I have been painting aggressive monsters and wizards in the same style for 18 years now. I needed something new to jolt me back into the thrill of creating…Feel almost embarrassed just to say it.

What I wanted was to be more spontaneous and I just felt that the way of sketching, transferring to board, greytones,  color rough and all that pre-work before I could start on the fun stuff, the actual painting, was holding me back.

But I still needed an excuse to take the jump. It came from my friend Peter, from my roleplaying group. Peter is producing computer games. He was going to start up a new and very secret production and he asked me to be the only concept artist on it?

   “But, its gonna be digital painting, right?”
   “I never painted digital before Peter. You know that”
   “I know. Learn fast”
   “Okay, but I will suck for the first 2 weeks”

This is more or less what the job interview went like.

I sucked the first 2 weeks and well into the forth week too, but now I feel more confident. I really like a lot of things digital painting can do, but mainly it allows me to have fun.

– I can start sketching directly in color ( sure you can argue this is also possible in acrylic, but “come on? who does that in illustration”)

– I can continue on the same sketch going directly from rough to color to cleaning up and back again, thus keeping the freshness and dynamic of the thumb. Because it is actually the same piece I am working on all the time.

– I can work on the same painting in the studio and back home in my living room on a laptop. ( I did that before too, but riding a bike, with a giant wooden plate holding a stretched up water color paper and the wet palette with the mixing paints, is a bitch.)

– What I really like about it is that digital painting has kicked my spontaneity in the butt, ejecting me back into Fun Land of Painting. That was the main reason, even though I still tell people that it is more convenient and practical and that it is better for digital product to be painted digitally and all the rest of the small reason that I flaunt around on parade.

I still paint acrylics. I think my drawing skills and my brush slinging has gone from careless to effortless. At least I can feel that I am more free when going back to traditional media.

…But I got one issue I really want to ask you digital painters out there:

I still think drawing in line is a bit clunky. It just do not flow like I was used to in pencil. I tend to sketch more in blocking in large structures and silhouettes sculpturing a figure out more that fencing him in with outline. But when I have to do line I fell off. I am working on a large widescreen Wacom. But I am starting to think that the big Cintiq will safe my life.

What do you guys and girls think? Is Cintiq the way, or should I just ease myself into drawing on the good old tablet, by actually practicing?