Working on a Cintiq: Pros and cons

To get, or not to get a Cintiq? I get this question quite often ◠◡◠ It may be a big step for the hobbyist, but a nice investment for a professional artist.

I recently got this question:

What do you think about the differences between using a Cintiq and not using this tool? I’m an illustrator and I have some difficulties illustrating some of my works digitally.

I work with web design, but that is not what I want to do for live, you know? And I feel that my pencil & paper works so much better than my Illustrator/Photoshop techniques (even with years of experience on this programs, it isn’t as intuitive as using a pencil or a pen). It was a big step, talking about money, for you to get one? Do you think that investment comes back after increasing the illustration qualities with the Cintiq?

I’m trying to convince myself with the cost x benefits. It’s a big step for me buying one, but I think there is some future for me on this field.

Hey, thanks for asking! For me, it was definitely worth it. When I gradually moved from traiditional, to digital art, I started out with a mouse at first(Yikes!). Then with a Wacom Intuos2. I loved it, it was awesome for painting, but my hand wasn’t really steady for drawing line drawings. So in 2009, I decided to invest in a used Wacom Cintiq 12WX(I prefer the smaller models) And till this day, it still works like a charm  Actually took a while before we became friends(I almost sold it again..!), but today I’d say that it’s been a life saver! At least for me, been using one ever since ◠◡◠

Here’s my experience of pros and cons working on a Cintiq.

Yours truly, Z and my Cintiq

Pros:

Precise sketching

Most of us probably know the difference between fine lines, and shaky lines. I find it extremely hard and time consuming to draw finer sketches or line art on a regular Wacom tablet. So when it comes to sketching, you can guess by now, which one I’ll prefer using ◠◡◠ 

You speed up and save time

Just sketching itself will become so much more efficient, once you get used to it. For instance, transferring to a Cintiq, I don’t even scan my sketches anymore. I just scribble down the ideas on a piece of paper, and then I just draw it again using the Cintiq. I love shortcuts!

Cons:

The display is not quite there yet

For rendering and painting, an additional regular monitor is still a must. Since Cintiqs(in my opinion) don’t really have the capacity of showing accurate colors and contrasts… Yet! It’s getting there, though ◠◡◠ 


So yeah, hope this answered your questions!
If you ask me then YES. It’s a great investment. If you aim to draw and paint for a living, then this will definitely make your life easier. Oh and no, I’m not sponsored, in case you wondered ◠◡◠

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Thanks for reading! 

I painted a tree

Some pine trees made by yours truly

 

I love forests. And I love trees. Wish I had a small cottage in the woods, with a secret little lake and a meadow nearby. Even though I love living in the big city, I’ve always had this little dream of living in a house one day. I envy the ones who do, but don’t know if I would be able to pull it off myself? Am I in love with the idea itself, or would I actually enjoy maintaining a house? Hm.

Here’s a pine tree study for you. It’s a nice complement for that short comic thingie I’m working on, the one with the fox, hence the loose little fox in the thumbnail seen above ◠◡◠
Done in Photoshop using a Cintiq. The colored version may have turned out a little flat, not sure yet. And the shapes are pretty much the way I always draw pine trees. Probably because I didn’t really use any references other than googling forest real quickly. I’m bad with copying photos, I wish it wouldn’t bore me.

Making some further style explorations would be smart I think.  And I wanna be a smartist, not just an artist. Hehehe ◠◡◠

Hope you’re having a nice evening ♡
I just got home after Stockholm Sketch Tuesday, which I can tell you more about in another post. Now I’m off to chill and cuddle some kittehs!

Sunday recap No. 1

I came across this neat idea that I saw at Nevnarien and Rowantree lately. They’re making these awesome weekly recaps every sunday, so I thought that I wanted to give it a shot myself! Could be a neat way to get momentum, creating content for this blog on a regular basis, now that I’m slowly getting back on track ◠◡◠

Let’s start by having a look at 4 images from this past week.

Pics from the past week

  1. Some sketches from the life drawing session at work. Yes indeed, we actually have a forest in the studio ◠◡◠  More about that later!
  2. Freelance mornings with my ehm.. Totem? I had a busy week, since I still had some work left on those illustrations for KP. Zimba was a pain in the butt as usual. He’s in my face as we speak, while I’m trying to write this blog post…
  3. Morning routines, and I can’t even be alone in the bathroom. I swear I’ll end up severely hunchbacked because of him constantly wanting to ride on my back or shoulders, haha.
  4. Been picking up the camera again, to practice taking nicer shots. I tried shooting some photos for this blog, but ironically, I still ended up using the ones I took with my phone instead… Most of my photos were out of focus. Ghah. Needs more practice, I guess.

Here’s also a weekly unseen sketch made by yours truly!

Fox sketch by Andrea Femerstrand

Foxy ◠◡◠ It’s an additional sketch to the one I showed earlier this week. I’m meaning to make a short motivational comic with these, hopefully you’ll see it soon! Done in Photoshop with a Cintiq.

Tips, inspiration and thoughts of the week:

⋙ This girl singing “Defying Gravity” in Britain’s got talent. So good! I’m a huge fan of Wicked, probably my favorite musical ever ♥
This eyebrow blog post written by James Gurney. He writes about his new discovery, about eyebrows, and how much more important they are for face recognition. Who knew! I always thought it was the eyes, but nope! This will come in handy when drawing portraits.
⋙ I’m getting hyped over my own work again. Feels awesome, after my unwanted a 2-year break. There’s so much I wanna do, and so little time! I wanna do everything at the same time right now, so I guess a proper list of goals and ideas would be in order. Otherwise I’ll either do too much or nothing at all. Haaa…

How has your week been? Any highlights to share? ◠◡◠ 

5 tips: How to approach a freelancing artist

Some of my tools and a sketch from 2013

There are plenty of blog posts and articles out there, that tell you how to write the perfect e-mail to clients. We’re shaped and trained to become the perfect freelancing creative, to always be available, always be polite, on time and clear. But what about the other way around?

I’m one of those who recieve tons of work-related e-mails, sometimes several ones per week. I’m super grateful and I’ve landed some really fun and exciting jobs through the years. But some dialogues could’ve become so much more effective. Many e-mails may actually sound something like this:


“Hey, I’m looking for an artist for my project, what are your rates?
Best regards// Unknown”

Awesome, good for you! No, seriously though.

It’s very hard to give a straight answer out of this, since we have no idea what the job should be about. We may not even know who you are. So I’ve made a list for you clients out there. If you’re an artist , feel free to share or refer to these if you get an e-mail from a client that’s not clear enough!

Introduce yourself

What’s your name and title? You don’t have to tell me your whole background(unless you want to of course) but at least let us know what your title is and the company you belong to, or own.

Describe your project already in the first e-mail

This would save so much time on both ends. Tell us as much as possible about your project, and think about what’s needed. How much work is actually required? You don’t have to be precise, but a rough estimation is always great to have!

When is the deadline?

This is super important. Most creatives have a rather tight schedule and we need to know whether we can plan your project in properly. The sooner you know this, the better! Time is precious ◠◡◠

Do you have a budget?

What’s your budget for the project? This can be really helpful, since we can see whether it’s doable at the moment. If it’s way too low, then I at least, may be open for negotiation in some cases. Perhaps getting paid in both salary and royalties? Never offer exposure as payment. Because really, most creatives can get that on their own, and bills still need to get paid. So, royalties or other perks might be interesting!

Do your research

I go by the titles illustrator, concept artist and character designer. My portfolio is stuffed with work that’s geared towards those areas. So in this case, I wouldn’t be the right person to design your logo for instance, since that’s not exactly what I’m showcasing or do on a professional level. Plenty of kickass freelancing logo designers may be available for that. But if you have a project that involves cute characters and storytelling, hmmm, then I may be able to help out!

 

That’s what I had to say about clients and e-mails! Is this worthy enough, my fellow freelancing, creative amigos? Should anything be added? What are your thoughts? ◠◡◠

Casual sketching while it’s raining outside

Evening sketch

Yay! I finished the illustrations last night, so now I’ve finally got time for my own stuff again ◠◡◠
I’m celebrating with lit candles and my sketchbook, getting all cozy sitting on my couch. And it’s raining outside. Mmmm… Usually I’m scared to light candles when I’m home alone, (what if I forget lighting them out.) so this is actually the first time that I do it, ever. Hard to believe, since I’m already turning 30(in 19 days, ahh holy crap!) Yeah baby, I feel so brave right now.

So what am I sketching tonight? Well, you can have one guess…

Points earned if you guessed “Foxes”! Haha. Ohh I love them, they’re so adoreable. I started coloring this sketch a while back :

Fox sketch by noukah.com

But I had to pause and focus on my freelance gigs for a while. I just got back to it, and got some more ideas that I’d like to add. So that’s pretty much what I’m doing tonight! Jotting down thumbnails and notes for some additional sketches to this current one. Don’t worry, he may seem sad, but I’m meaning to add a happy ending to this!

What’s up at your end? Hope you’re having an awesome evening ♥

Freelance weekend and a terrorist

I rarely have time for freelance work nowadays, but sometimes I make an exception. It mostly depends on whether the project inspires me, and if I can make it justice. This time I’m working on two illustrations for a short story that will be published Sweden’s largest kids- and teen magazine called Kamratposten. Nowaday’s it’s been shortened down to “KP”. I really enjoy working for them,  which I’ve been doing since 2010, mostly because it was my favorite magazine back when I was growing up. Most people from my generation get all nostalgic when I mention that I work for them. But I’m probably the biggest nostalgia-junkie of them all, if you knew me in person you’ll surely know!

I’ll probably spend most of the day working today, the weather outside is rather dull so I don’t feel guilty staying inside. Mjehehehe. However, I wish I could’ve been more productive though. Currently trying to draw with one hand and fighting off this little a-hole with the other.

Freelancing with cat from hell
He had 5 timeouts the other day, for some reason he needs to be in my face as soon as I zone in and try to draw. We’re having a love-hate relationship, Z and I.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Leaving my comfort zone with Boston Terrier sketches

Oh the irony. I was actually considering leaving Instagram a couple of weeks ago. But I’m still there posting! Addicted much? Anyway,  I’ve just started with something fun over there – Felt like i’ve been stuck in my comfort zone lately, drawing the same horses and foxes over and over again, so I asked my followers to tag their pets under the hashtag #noukahdrawspets. Now I’ve got a bunch of images to choose from and use as reference, many of them even are way too adorable to wait with!

First out is a Boston Terrier named Quincy. I died a little when I saw him, all snuggled up in a blanket. I felt excited and cocky at the time so I started sketching solely with my inks.

boston terrier sketches

Oops. About 20 failed attempts later, I realized that I was rustier than I thought. The sketches had nowhere the quality I wanted them to have, I found them too messy. I’ve barely drawn dogs before, other than wolves or foxes, so that explains things. hehe comfort zones, remember? Felt a bit tricky to draw a Boston Terrier. Gotta do my homework! So I made some studies:

boston terrier sketch

dog sketches

Boy, they’re hilarious. JUST LOOK AT THEM CRAZY PUPS!

crazy boston dog sketches

Seriously, what is this I don’t even…
After I’ve calmed down and collected myself, I managed to paint my iteration of Quincy. In Photoshop this time. Here’s the sketch and final painting, took me a couple of hours:Boston Terrier painting

I’ll definitely continue doing these. Hmm which per should I pick next time? Really enjoyed this approach. Making studies, and then make your own idea based off what you’ve learned. In my case, it was Boston Terriers and blanket folds(Note to self: make more studies of drapery!) It makes so much sense, and it’s probably the most effective way to improve your art.

Do you agree or disagree?

 

Ink: My 4 favorite pens for sketching

inkpens

I really enjoy sketching with ink. I revisited my pens earlier this winter after a long break, and I’ve actually forgotten how much fun I used to have whith them! Inks look so pretty, I love the contrasts and the more you use them, the braver you become. They force you to stay bold and it’s perfect for practicing simplicity. I always try to keep my sketches fast and subtle, and with as few lines as possible, making them stay rather effortless.

These are my top 4 pens that I tend to pick up when the urge kicks in.

  1. Pentel Brush Pen: My baby. Dunno what else to say. The brush tip with actual hair gives you such freedom and variation to your lines. It was love at first sight, back when I discovered this pen in 2011. I understand why this ink pen is so popular among artists!
  2. Pilot Hi-tecpoint V5 Grip: This pen is so comfortable to use. It runs smoothly across the paper, and beside sketching, I also use it a lot for taking notes. It’s a nice allround pen to carry around everywhere. It’s also my favorite one when I scribble small ideas on post-its.
  3. Lamy Safari: A newly discovered sweetheart. I’ve never really understood the greatness of fountain pens and I’m actually quite embarrassed that I realized that so late. Where have you been all my life?! I sketch very rough with it, trying to stay as loose as possible. This one, and the brush pen really complement each other.
  4.  Pilot G-tec C4: Another recent discovery. A friend introduced me to this gem. It’s super thin and precise! Perfect for the tiniest details, and awesome when you want to add those final touches to your sketches.

ink strokes

It would be very hard to pick only one out of these four, I love them all! Oooohhh I’m nerdy and I love it.  Hehe, nope I’m not sponsored in case you wondered!

What are your favorite ink pens?

New blog in the making

Hey!

Soooo Voilá! I’ve finally jumped on the WordPress wagon! Been thinking about it on and off through out the years, so I feel really excited that it finally happened. I hope that you’ll like this new site and I can’t wait to fill it up with lots and lots of content. Any topic suggestions are welcome, so if you’d like me to write about anything in particular – shoot! I’m all ears as usual, and will try to make things happen.

Obviously I’m still organizing things on this site, so sorry about the mess and emptiness.

Welcome! I hope that you’ll enjoy it here!