Supposedly it’s like riding a bike

I’ve been trying to kick off the rust that’s built up on my drawing skills over the past couple years of creative inactivity. Going back through nearly a decade of cartoons and illustrations for the subscriber bonus book (which should be in the mail by month’s end) has reminded me that while I’ve never been a great artist by any means, my work wasn’t actually as terrible as I thought at the time. I suppose I’ve finally accepted that what I want to draw and what actually dribbles out of my pen are two completely different things, and it was pretty stupid of me to abandon something I’ve enjoyed doing all my life just because the quality of my work will never rise above “merely tolerable.” I can’t decide if this is a heartwarming self-confirmation or simply a lowering of my standards to embrace mediocrity, but whatever. I’ll roll with it.

I snagged a teeny-tiny (and stunningly inexpensive) Wacom Bamboo tablet to work with and promptly set about last night drawing an illustration of Capcom’s 1943 for a new project. Since I’m so painfully out of practice, this consisted of copying a reference image from Wikipedia and completely failing to do anything interesting with it!

But even if this attempt kind of sucks and is unconscionably boring to boot, it’s feels nice to be doodling again. Hopefully my efforts will improve in the coming months. Soon, I too shall once again be… mediocre.

19 thoughts on “Supposedly it’s like riding a bike

  1. Are you liking the Bamboo? I’ve been thinking about grabbing one, and Amazon has them for about $55, which might be too good to pass up. I’ve never used a tablet, so I figure it’s a pretty low-risk way to start.

  2. My girlfriend says she thinks that this is a very nice drawing, and she happens to know a thing or two about drawing (, so at least know you’ve got some professional encouragement.

    Myself? Well, it’s much better than anything I could ever hope to accomplish. Still though, I really liked the sentiment behind this post and hope you make time to mellow out with something you like doing.

  3. Hey man, I draw in stick figures. I wish I could do something like that. Don’t short-change yourself, eh?

  4. I felt a little guilty during the few times I illustrated an EGM piece of yours, Parish, because the only thing seperating us skill-wise was my Cintiq and the extra free time I had to spend on those doodles. If there was any justice in the universe you should’ve been illustrating your own damned work in the magazine (and with any luck, maybe we’ll see more of your stuff in future Gamespite publications.)

    The moral of the story? More Parish-drawings, dammit.

  5. Yeah, I am interested in how you found the tablet as well. I have been considering getting one for a while, and I hear the Wacom’s are the way to go. Was it at all disorienting to go from pencil-in-hand to tablet-and-looking-at-screen?

  6. Well, I have about 11 or 12 years of tablet experience, so it wasn’t something new and shocking to use. I bought the small Bamboo (the one that’s $55) and so my only adjustment was to the tiny size of the active area (which is more than made up for by the fact that it weighs about 6 oz. and I can slip it into my computer bag and never notice it’s there). So far it’s a pretty great device, especially for the crazy low price. Probably not ideal for serious artists, but for dabbling it’s great.

  7. Getting over the idea that your artwork should always be 100% representative of the ideas in your head is a necessary concession to practicality. Yes, you should strive to better your work, but you also need to be tolerant of your own mistakes and try to learn from them. When you let perfectionism rule your life, little will ever be accomplished. The next blank page in my sketchbook can be very intimidating sometimes.

    You should bring your oekaki board back sometime; I would do my best to not let it die a slow death! Plus, we could all encourage each other to keep drawing consistently, which is something I need to be prodded into doing occasionally.

  8. I think this here drawing looks pretty cool. (I wish I could draw something half as good.)

  9. My planned comic project was meant to have a lengthy telebunny story arc. Alas that it will never see the light of day.

  10. Looks like you’ve adapted to it well.

    I got one of those Bamboo things for Christmas (though, it took two months to ship.)

    It’s fun, but I haven’t had much practice on it yet, so I still suck.

  11. Might I ask what software you use with your tablet? I’m a pretty big fan of Painter myself, use it a lot with my Intuos. I’m desperatly trying to find a way to afford a Cintiq though.

  12. I tried drawing once.. but I couldn’t be bothered honing my skills to attain mediocracy. Damn this accurs’d rubbishness!

  13. Every time the tablet question comes up, I recommend the Bamboo (or Bamboo Fun if you want a larger drawing area). Have had zero issues with it, and everyone I’ve convinced to get one has liked it.

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