After reading hundreds (thousands?) of questions from the Ctrl+Paint audience, certain ones stand out. Since these issues commonly vex digital art beginners, I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly answer three of my most commonly asked questions.
1) Why is my brush behaving strangely?
A common question I get regards to the way my brushes are behaving in the videos. If you're having trouble with smooth blending, or simply want your brushes to work like mine, the first step is simple: get a USB tablet. Nothing on Ctrl+Paint will work with a mouse. Once you have a tablet, if you're still having problems, check out the following three videos:
Common problems are often solved in the Brush Properties palette. Turning on "opacity jitter" and "flow jitter" is key, and they are found in the "Transfer" tab. Depending on your version of Photoshop these settings might be named a bit differently. For older PS versions, "Transfer" is called "Other Dynamics".
2) How can I improve drawing people & creatures?
The answer I like to give this question is a bit unexpected: practice drawing boxes. Basic shapes like cubes, cones, and cylinders are at the core of improving your characters. It's easy to assume that perspective is for drawing buildings, but that characters don't need to follow such rigid structure. Wrong. Perspective is more like gravity: you don't think about it much, but nothing escapes its influence. For those of you struggling with drawing characters from your imagination, draw some cubes first. I recommend these videos to help explore the issues:
3) What tablet should I buy?
My main experience has been with Wacom tablets. I've used them for 15 years, and they are excellent products. These days Wacom offers a large variety of models, and hopefully my rules of thumb can help guide your decision:
- Starter - Your first Tablet should probably be the cheap one. Bamboo (or whatever the entry level is currently called) will meet your needs for quite a while. I used an entry level Graphire for 4 years before upgrading.
- Intermediate - If you've been pursuing digital art for a while and know it's not a passing fad, you're ready for an Intuos. These have more features and sensitivity. Medium is a good size, though some artists prefer the large one. Personally, I've had them all and prefer a medium. It's great for everything but fine linework.
- Pro - If you're able to make money with your art, I strongly recommend getting a Cintiq. They're fantastic for making linework, and make digital art more tactile. I've had one for 6 years, and can't go back. Make sure to test one out before buying, however, because some artists don't like their hand covering up the monitor and prefer an Intuos.
It's easy to worry excessively about the tools. Take it from my experience: the entry level tablet is probably fine for now. There's plenty of time for the more expensive models.
If you still have questions, make sure to check out the FAQ section, or drop me an email.