A Lot of Duckweed

I haven’t turned on the hose pipe during this long dry spell but this weekend the pond had got so low that I felt I had to. The surface was entirely covered with duckweed, so I put on my arm-length waterproof gloves and pulled it out around the edges, then used a pond net to scoop up the remaining clumps in the middle.

A A Milne’s poem Bad Sir Brian Botany came to mind. The bit where Sir Brian gets his comeuppance from the villagers:

“Sir Brian went a journey, and he found a lot of duckweed . . . “

I left the piles of duckweed at the water’s edge to give the pond life a chance to find its way back and gave a helping hand to a few ramshorn snails, dragonfly larvae and black water beetles that I spotted struggling.

I didn’t see any frogs or newts but I was skimming the surface layers and they were probably lying low.

Monochrome Expression

Monochrome pen work on Layer 1, painting layers, plus small painted details below and, at the bottom of the pile on the background paper, my original photograph.

I’ve been following some new video tutorials for Clip Studio Paint, focussing on how to draw with a Wacom tablet. Since Clip Studio Paint for iPad was released last year, I’ve rarely opened the iMac version but the videos were a useful reminder that there are advantages to working on the big screen: you get a larger image to work on plus more room for the toolboxes and toolbars you might need.

Plus, when you’re drawing with a Wacom stylus, you can use the other end of it as an eraser, saving a lot of switching tools. You can’t do that with an Apple Pencil.

The tricky thing for me is getting the line to go in just the direction that I want it to. I use a  Wacom intuos 4 graphics tablet, so I’m drawing down on the desktop but keeping my eye on the screen in front of  me. Tracing my photograph of the pond net gave me some practice.

Close-up of Clip Studio Paint drawing.

I drew it in line to start with but instead of using grayscale, I set the layer to monochrome, meaning, in this case, that each individual pixel is either black or transparent. That’s why in close-up you see a jagged line (left), which hasn’t been smoothed out by antialiasing.

On the colour layer that I created below, I worked exclusively with a ‘Blurred Edge Watercolor’ brush.

However much I practice, I think that the iPad will always feel nearer to normal drawing but the iMac – plus the intuos tablet – offers more space for working on the full page layout of a comic, or a double-page spread.


Clip Studio Paint

Clip Studio Paint Part 1-1 Ι Overview the first in a series of short video tutorials, about twenty in total, on using a Wacom graphics tablet to draw in Clip Studio. Although I’ve used Clip Studio for years, I learnt about a few processes that I’d never come across, such as a way of cleaning up scanned artwork using the line correction tool and an ingenious way, in fact two ingenious ways, to allow drawings to break out of panel borders, an effect that I’ve struggled to create.

Wacom Intuos graphics tablets: drawing without looking down at my pen is an  unfamiliar for me so I’d love to try the new Wacom Cintiq Pro 32, where you get to draw directly on a big 4K screen.

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