Saturday, 14 December 2013

Columbia Road Market

The full framing of Columbia Road Market
Here is the rendering of Columbia Road Market, done in the style of an anime.
The original thumbnail for this artwork was made on November 13. Altogether it has taken a month to finish this picture, but most of that time was spent on painting the background. While I enjoyed painting some parts of the background, it really took too long to execute. I am really more suited to drawing characters. But the next time I get around to doing this type of artowrk, I'll have a better idea on how to really economise on painting.

I'm also not sure how the colours look on other monitors, as the colours on my tablet seem to display more vividly than on this current monitor, which oddly gives the picture a slight orange-pink tinge.

The artwork also looks alright when cropped to a 16:9 frame

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Some work in progress

Here's a preview of an artwork I'm working on. It's an emulation of the Japanese animation style of characters and background, but set in London. Lately I've been watching more anime, and I'm still surprised how captivating some shows can be. I was also shocked by how the detailed background paintings really add to the experience.

I've always wanted to properly render London, but was scared off by how detailed the cityscape is. It's also immensely populated, so emulating it truly would be a real challenge. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a go.

The subject here is based on Columbia Road Market. Though I lived in East London, I've only been to this market once in three and a half years. I have no interest in flowers, which this market is specially known for. But I did enjoy the scenery, the colours , and the coffee.

Here is a picture I decided to base my artwork on. London is full of alleyways, and this one is memorable for its coffee, which I needed after walking up and down that market.
I'll post more as I progress with the artwork.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013


Oh look, eggrolls!
I figure I should draw some food, because everyone loves food, especially deep-fried eggrolls. They seem cheerful despite knowing they will be eaten up.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Paint Tool Sai Practice

I finally made a finished piece of art on my Cintiq Companion. The program I used was Paint Tool Sai, which is an application made specifically for drawing. It's used often by Japanese manga artists.

It has been a while since I posted a more polished work. With work being not as busy (relatively!), I've slowly been getting back on track with my own personal artwork. Though this artwork here doesn't have very much to say, it's a good practice for gesture, anatomy, textiles, expression and colour. Unfortunately I could not incorporate some interesting story into the image...

Unless you count the story of the trouble I went through to even finish this image. The original gesture drawing had the character smiling. As it was a long weekend, I was looking forward to getting a lot of drawing done. However, as of late I've been feeling anemic, and had to take quite a lot of iron pills. As soon as the long weekend hit, my energy plummeted, and I was too exhausted to sketch. I was frustratred that I couldn't even find the energy to practice my art. I wasn't going to lie down all weekend, so I tried very hard to fight my fatigue. When I cleaned up this sketch, the character went from smiling to angry. You could say determined.

Though I'm not happy with everything in this work, I'm just really happy that I even achieved my goal! 

Another interesting thing about this picture; the colours display very differently between both Cintiqs. I accept that difference though, but it makes me wonder, which display is more colour-accurate? Hmmm...

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

My Experience with the Cintiq Companion

I'm experimenting with Paint Tool Sai and slowly getting a natural feel for the device.

A brief personal review of the Cintiq Companion:

Wacom, the manufacturer of top-of-the-line digital art tablet displays and styli, have released the Cintiq Companion this past month. After reading several reviews, I have decided to buy one for myself. If you are an artist contemplating on whether you should purchase one or not, let me share with you my personal experience with the Cintiq Companion 256GB Windows8 tablet so far, with a few points that some other reviews may have missed. (There also exists a Cintiq Companion Pro 512GB tablet, as well as Cintiq Companion Hybrid Android tablets, but I have not used these models).

I've had the fortune of purchasing my own Companion this past month, and have been really enjoying my new tablet so far. This is the third Wacom product I have bought for myself, having used an Intuos2 for the longest time before getting a Cintiq21ux for freelance work. My justification for buying the Companion tablet was to have a more mobile digital art setup, as my old Intuos2 finally croaked after ten years of service, and my current laptop is an unwieldy 7 kilograms. With this new tablet, I would be more ready to work remotely if need be. It would also provide an opportunity to create art away from my computer desk.

Other drawing tablets I have considered were the Surface Pro, as well as Samsung Tab and Asus Transformer. But Wacom's Cintiq Companion was made specifically for the digital artist, which is why I chose it over the alternatives.

One of the things I am really impressed with is the fine tooth of the glass on the screen, which gives a sense of friction that I don't find on my Cintiq21ux. The tooth also gives a matte finish to the glass which prevents me from seeing my own reflection or distracting light sources. I also love the high resolution of the Companion's screen, which is full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels. Drawing in detail with the Companion is just as fine as drawing on paper. It has a pixel density I am really comfortable with, much finer than on my Cintiq21ux. menu items don't appear too small, as they would appear on other smaller-sized tablets.

The battery runs for 7 hours on the lowest brightness setting. I spend most of my working day staring at a computer screen,so I like having the screen dimmer when I draw. It also attracts less attention if I'm using the Companion in a coffee shop or a pub.

Although I haven't drawn with my tablet outdoors yet, I did test out the fullest brightness setting of the screen to see if I can use it in sunlight. The screen does get very bright, and I can in fact see vibrant colours outdoors under a bright blue sky. As stated before, the matte finish of the screen prevents me from seeing the bright reflection of the sky. However, the only time I would not be able to see the screen clearly is if the sun is behind me, shining onto the screen. That is not a big issue with me really, as I could always find shade if I wanted to.

Initially I found the tablet to be quite heavy. It weighs about 2 kilograms. When I first used it, my left arm got tired in less than a minute! I'm happy to say though that my arms have adjusted to the weight, and I can easily carry the Companion gripping it with my hand, as I would have done with my old paper-and-pencil sketchbooks. 2 kilos definitely beats the weight of my old 7 kilo laptop! Quiet fans keep the tablet cool, though I haven't tried playing a video game with full graphics to see what would happen.

Still, there are a few things I wish were improved in general. There is still a wide gap between the drawing surface and the drawing itself, whereas on a Surface Pro, the screen is optically bonded, which means there is barely any gap between the pen tip and the image. I find myself calibrating the screen each time I turn it on, only because I want more accuracy with my drawing instruments. Once that is done though, the drawing experience is pretty fluid. I would just like one day for Wacom to make a display with even less distance between the pen tip and the image.

Of somewhat a lesser nuisance, the placement of the Companion's power button is a bit problematic sometimes. Occasionally I will accidentally put the tablet to sleep from placing my hand right on top of the button when I hold the Companion in a particular way. Audio is also not so great on this device, whether is is listened through the built-in speakers, or through headphones. The volume seems to go only halfway compared with other devices I use.

People have complained that the Cintiq Companion does not come with a Haswell processor, which is said to improve battery life and graphics performance. I had actually pondered whether I should wait for Wacom to release a Haswell tablet. But technology is always improving each month, and by the time a Haswell Wacom comes out (perhaps a year?), there is sure to be another new processor which promises to be even faster than Haswell. I figured why wait; my Cintiq21ux from 2009 still serves me well and has not gone into obsoletion, despite the fact more advanced Cintiq tablets exist today. I personally think this Companion will not go obsolete anytime soon.

Overall though, I really love this device! I'm glad I paid a little more for the Companion and did not settle for a cheaper, smaller Surface Pro, or other tablets. It does have Wacom's notoriously high price to pay for it as well ($1999US, or $2099CAD), but it is a very niche product not meant for everyone. If you are an artist heavily involved in the digital arts, and you're looking for a tablet computer for art creation, I would highly recommend Wacom's Cintiq Companion. If you are an amateur artist, starving student, or an artist whose medium is not primarily digital, then this tablet might be a bit overboard to spend your money on.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Adapting to new tools


Recently I've had the fortune of obtaining my own Wacom Cintiq Companion. I certainly enjoy using it a lot more than my Cintiq 21ux for the portability, high resolution and surface tooth. Perhaps I will write more of a review in the next post.

For now, I wanted to share some sketches I've done since acquiring the new tablet two weeks ago. As with any new medium, it takes time to adjust my habits to draw as I normally would. I'm slowly getting used to the weight and size of my tablet. But I also have decided to not install PhotoShop onto my tablet, and use programs geared more towards drawing and painting. The above image was made using a trial version of Paint Tool Sai. I enjoy using it so much, I plan to buy a license for it when the trial runs out.

Writing this entry from the tablet also takes some while to get used to, as I haven't connected a keyboard to the device yet. But once the experience of using a tablet becomes more natural for me, you will be seeing a lot more artwork posted on this blog

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


It's that time of year... Vancouver will have its gay pride march in the beginning of August.

We have our rights now, but sometimes we forget what a difficult road it took to get there. We forget that there are other countries that do not have the same rights and freedoms that we take for granted. And we forget that there are always other forces that want to take our rights away from us. The fight is far from over. Remember to protect your rights and freedoms. 

I would like to do a variation of this picture using a more limited colour palette soon.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Sketches of Sammick

F Sharp
Bitch Please!
I've been doing the odd sketch once in a while since my last post (When was that again?). Work is so busy nowadays, and it really does take a lot of my creative energy to do my job well. But sketching my own stuff does sometimes readjust my mind. I should make more of a habit of it.