Ash Tree on the iPad

As the light faded, I drew one of the ash trees at the edge of the wood using a new version of Clip Studio Paint for iPad. For the next few weeks, there’s an opportunity to give it a six month free trial.

It feels so much more direct than using the iPad with a wifi link to the same program running on my main computer and I appreciate the thought that has gone into redesigning the interface to make it more suitable for a tablet.

I started with a pencil drawing then, on a new layer, added a suggestion of colour, finishing with an ink layer for drawing with the G-pen.


Clip Studio Paint for iPad on iTunes

Desk Top

It’s been a month since we had a weekend at home and my desk top is in need of sorting out but how could I resist drawing these tottering piles of books and magazines?

I’ve drawn it with an Apple Pencil on my iPad Pro. I’m using is Clip Studio Paint EX on my iMac, which is connected to the iPad by wifi through the program Astropad 3. Sometimes pen and sketchbook just isn’t enough!

I like trying to learn new programs and I thought that the best way was just to launch into it and do the simplest of drawings. I say ‘new’ programs but I’ve been trying to get proficient in Clip Studio Paint, formerly Manga Studio for the last five years.


Clip Studio Paint EX


Pink Pigs

Useful to have the option of next day delivery as I needed these Pink Pig sketchbooks in a hurry. It’s not that I’m short of sketchbooks but the new format for my Dalesman articles is A5 portrait.

I ordered a batch of Pink Pig’s Posh Eco sketchbooks with smooth Ameleie 270 gsm watercolour paper. Hope that the fresh sketchbooks inspire me to get back into regular drawing.

My friend John Welding has, so far, been out drawing every day for the Inktober challenge. He’s been using a Pilot Parallel Pen to good effect so when I spotted one in the studio, I thought that I’d give it a go. It must be one that I used for calligraphy as it’s filled with red ink.

I’ll stick to my Lamy Safari and Vista pens but it’s good to occasionally try different media.


Pink Pig

John Welding on Twitter

Pilot Parallel Pen

Buzzards over Whitley

7th September, 10.50 a.m.: Two buzzards land on the grassy embankment of Whitley Reservoir. A smaller bird – it looks like a kestrel – swoops down on them and they fly off after a minute or so.

11th September: The view changes every few minutes as grey curtains of rain sweep down from the hills across the Calder valley.

18th September: Just one more drawing of the view from Charlotte’s Ice Cream Parlour at Whitley, a regular date to meet up for a coffee with Barbara’s brother.

28th September: But we do visit other cafes: here’s the view from the Seed Room Coffee Shop and Bistro in Overton, looking across the Smithy Brook valley to Thornhill Edge.

14th September: And we do get even further afield, I made a quick sketch of the old lime kilns at Rheged visitor centre, Penrith, on a brief visit to the Lake District. Two grey wagtails flitted about on the rocks by the nearby pond.

Rheged was a good stop for us: after an hour driving through the Dales and along the M6, it gave us an opportunity for a short walk around the centre and along the adjacent country lane. You can’t do that at some motorway services.


Trees in September

However ingenious it might be, drawing on an iPad doesn’t have the familiar feel of pen and watercolour on paper. On an iPad, I feel that any mistakes I make betray a shortcoming in my technique while in a real-world drawing, such as this autumnal tree I drew yesterday, the ‘mistakes’ – wayward squiggles, ragged lines and minor smudges – are very much part of the medium.

On Friday, at the Thyme cafe, Cannon Hall Garden Centre, as a change from my usual pen and wash sketches, I launched straight into watercolour: the pale featureless sky first, then the lighter background foliage and finally the darker patches as the watercolour dried.

I’m a bit out of my comfort zone in pure watercolour though so, visiting friends yesterday, I drew my mug in pen and resisted the urge to add colour.

Digital Turnip Pen

I’ve often drawn the view from my studio window before but this is the first time I’ve drawn it using an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

Once again I’ve got it connected to my iMac and the point of the exercise is to become more familiar with the comic drawing program Clip Studio Paint. So, I’m using a different virtual nib with the pen tool today; the turnip pen, which I leave set to size 5.

I add the watercolour on its own layer, which I keep behind the pen layer.

I add the colour using the brush tool set to transparent watercolour. The way I’m using the brush tool makes it feel more like a marker pen filled with watercolour. I notice that if I hold the Apple Pencil at an angle I can get a blended effect and tone down my initial brushstrokes.

Autodesk SketchBook

I drew the vase using Autodesk SketchBook. It’s designed with a touchscreen in mind which is probably why I find that colour selection is more intuitive than Clip Studio Paint but I want to stick with the latter as it offers so much more when it comes to page layout for comic strips.


Clip Studio Paint

Autodesk SketchBook

Digital Mapping Pen

Imagine a mapping pen nib that doesn’t splay and twist if you press too hard or being able to splash on India ink without getting the odd drop on your fingers and desk top: welcome to the world of digital pen and ink.

This drawing of my trainers took about forty minutes, drawing in Clip Studio Paint using the pen tool with the mapping nib selected and the paintbrush with the India ink, darker bleed option.

Like the hand I drew the other day, it’s drawn with an Apple Pencil on my iPad Pro which was linked by a USB cable to my iMac, using the Astropad program.

I hope that as well as getting more familiar with the basics of drawing in Clip Studio Paint that I’ll also learn to free up my regular pen on paper drawings.

iPad Sketch

I’ve drawn my hand here using an iPad Pro connected to my iMac. It doesn’t feel as responsive as pen on paper but there isn’t a significant delay as I draw with an Apple Pencil.

I’m using a program called Astropad which is designed to enable you use your iPad as a graphics tablet. This has an advantage over the Wacom tablet that I use, as the drawing is there on the tablet as well as on the big screen.

I’ve got various sketching apps on my iPad but I’m drawing this using the comic strip drawing program Clip Studio Paint which I’d like to get more familiar with so that I can use it for my walks booklets and local history publications.



Apple Pencil

Clip Studio Paint

Titles and Text

Hand lettering the title of my next Dalesman article, it takes a few attempts to get the ‘S’ of Semerwater looking just as I’d like it. It needs to snake around in a relaxed manner but it shouldn’t slouch or look as if it’s putting on weight.

Getting the right degree of slope of the strokes of the A and the W also makes a big difference; my first ‘W’ ends up too wide, the second looks rather undernourished.

Homegrown Lettering

I try drawing the letters just as I’d draw anything else, for instance a plant. The serifs should look as if they’ve grown from the letter, rather than been stuck on as afterthought.

I’d like the letterforms to look as if it they’d grown naturally so I draw them as I would, for example, a winter hedgerow: I’d be as interested in the spaces between plants as I was in the shape of individual trunks and branches.

I decide that I’d like the main stems to taper slightly towards the base, as the stems of hedgerow shrubs often do.

Line Sheet

So much for the titles; I’ve had a bright idea for the text too: I put the lined sheet that came with a Basildon Bond writing pad under my layout paper. That saves a lot of drawing parallel lines, then rubbing them out later . . . and often then having the clear up the smudges where the rubber caught the ink that hadn’t quite dried.

I’ve been drawing this outline lettering – and filling it in – with my Lamy Vista fountain pen, filled with a homemade mix of Noodlers brown and black inks.

The View from Charlotte’s

Three years ago, my mum, then ninety-six year old, was still with us and we used to take her to the shops every Thursday morning then, if she was feeling up to it, which she usually was, we’d set off to Charlotte’s Ice Cream Parlour, Whitley, for coffee and scones. She so appreciated this view.

But we always gave the long summer holidays a miss because, by the time we would be arriving the place would be a bit too busy and bustling for my mum.

 It’s good to have the excuse to return here as it’s one of Barbara’s brother John’s favourite places so we bring him here most weeks. He’s better at getting up and off than my mum ever was, so we always get here for a short walk along the hillside before the parlour opens and we’re always in time to get a table with a view.

For these three sketches draw during the summer vacation I used fibre tip pen and watercolour (top), watercolour with no preliminary drawing and brush pen, adding watercolour the following week. I’m already looking forward to our next visit (and the scone).