Fear not, gentle. The next issue of N/A is still being worked...











Fear not, gentle. The next issue of N/A is still being worked on. In the mean time, a little peek into how this issue’s portraits are made.

For issue #5, which was also the first issue with the new design, all portraits were done in pencils. Halfway through the process, I ran out of pages in my sketchbook and just grabbed whatever I could find, which ended up being a medium-size Leuchtturm sketchbook, with a much smoother surface and different dimensions. This created consistency problems, starting with dimensions, and the way graphite and whites were interpreted by the scanner. Hence deeper blacks on some and more details on others.

Anyway, for a little over a year, I’ve been playing with Autodesk Sketchbook, both on the desktop and on tablets. Up until recently, I had used the app mostly to color things because I totally suck with my Intuos 4 (a very generous donation from my buddy and colleague Wil Wells), and sometimes to digitally ink them with the Steady Stroke tool. But the latter doesn’t feel very natural, even if it is useful while I am still learning.

(I now realize that most people who read this thing are poets or into poetry, and so I have no clue why I am writing this much about doodling).

I like Sketchbook. I’ve liked it since I tried it on my 1st-generation Nexus 7. The way it simulates pencil strokes is fantastic, even with a finger. And my experience of the app has been quite enhanced by the use of a Bluetooth stylus. The basic brushes on the mobile version are good enough, even though I wish they had the same level of customization as the desktop app (and I am still not a fan of the round brush … but then again, I’ve never been a fan of the round brush).

But in terms of workflow, having a digital app, as you can imagine, greatly streamlines things. Instead of scanning drawings, resizing them, hitting your head against the wall because the line weights are completely inconsistent because drawing #1 is twice as large as drawing #2, each portrait can start with the same resolution, be saved on iCloud, and everything is finished with the desktop version of Sketchbook and with Photosho.


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