Over the last couple of years, I have divided my drawing time between my regular old analog sketchbook and my dangfangled iPad sketchbook. It has been a great opportunity to stretch my creativity and to try lots of new things. I’ve learned loads about using the technology and tools like Procreate but I’ve also discovered core ideas that apply to all my drawings, digital and analog.

1. Don’t be afraid of the new. On and off, I was worried that drawing on a sheet of glass with a plastic stylus would somehow rob me of the deep visceral pleasure I’ve always gotten from drawing. But the fact is, my sketchbook practice needed freshening up. I’d gotten stale in my approach to drawing on the page, using the same basic tools — a technical pen, watercolors and a handful of colored pencils – and the initial exhilaration of discovery had faded over twenty years of filling sketchbooks. Digital drawing made me rethink so many things about drawing, about my style, my approach, my composition, my media, and the fun of creation.

2. Mix up materials. Gouache, charcoal, crayons, collage, calligraphy, oil, pastel… I’ve played with all of them on my iPad and discovered juxtapositions and emotional qualities I can now try out on paper. Best of all — my hands stay clean!

3. Experiment. Having an infinite art supply store inside my ipAd has pushed me to play and explore. With no muss, fuss or preparation, I sit down and get top work. I try things out, knowing I can backtrack and erase with a swipe. I try color combinations, compositions, materials and anything that strikes my fancy. The iPad has made me bolder and looser than I’ve ever been before.

4. Considering color and shape as well as line. I used to just think in terms of contours and hatching, but now I make images that are far more painterly. I fill the whole frame with color. I break down scene into big shapes then add more and more detail. I add shadows and texture without compromising hue and value. I see the world differently, because I can capture it in so many ways.

5. Draw more. My sketchbook has always been super accessible and convenient. But my iPad is even more so. I may use it to look at email or Facebook, but then the urge to draw nibbles at me and with a tap or two, I am drawing and painting. It’s so easy, so fun, that I draw far more than I have in years. There is so much to discover, so many ways to play, that I plunge in whenever I have a spare moment. Drawing more, in whatever form, means more creative fun, and better drawing.

Want to know more about this amazing new medium? Check out our new kourse: Be an iPad artist.

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