I got to a point with my digital art where, while I liked what I was doing and the tools I was using, I felt I hit a wall and the work I found myself creating felt repetitive. This is why I turned away from it for a while and everything I created in the past few months was done traditionally.
Sometimes we need to take a break. To step back and give ourselves some time to analyze where we're at and exactly where it is we want to go. Stepping back and doing something different really helped me this time around.
For me the problem was the tools I was using. They felt unnatural. As if they couldn't deliver the look and feel I was looking for. This is, as a matter of fact, a complaint I've heard plenty of digital Artists make. And this is a recurring point used often by those who think digital is inferior to traditional art. Taking a break and coming back with fresh eyes and renewed spirits brought me to realize that the problem wasn't the tools, the problem was me.
When things start to go wrong with our work it's easy to turn around and say, it's the computers fault or, this brush is old and I need to replace it. Maybe we find ourselves saying something along the lines of, this ink is too grey or this program doesn't have the features I need. Sometimes, these complaints are valid. Sometimes we find ourselves using the wrong program or a brush that's reached it's time or cheap ink. But sometimes, it's us.
For me, it was realizing that I had some amazing digital tools at my disposal, yet my frustration was pouring out due to the simple fact that all along, I wasn't using these tools correctly.
I've been working on the image bellow for a few days now (yes, I've been milking it). But in the process, I've been experimenting. Shaping and reshaping it. Now I'm at the inking stage.
For me, this is the best stage of my process. I like penciling. I don't enjoy coloring much. But inking, yeah, that's where my blood starts pumping. For me the inking stage is a stage of discovery. It's where you find out what all that hard work laying down the foundation in pencil was for. Inking is the stage where you take something that's good and make it better. I've always said that the penciling stage is where you lay your foundation, but what everyone sees in the end are your inks. And you can have a solid foundation, but if your inks are weak, unfortunately, your final image will not hide that from everyone else.
With this image, I'm discovering my digital tools all over again. Before, I used to grab one pen (The G Pen) and ink away. I'd do entire images and comics with that one single pen. Yet at my disposal was an array of amazing tools begging to be used. I was a fool to ignore their cries. So with this image, I'm not only using a different more looser style of inking, for the first time, I'm digging through my tool box and pulling out some new toys to play with. The difference may not be noticeable to everyone at first, but it's there. And it's igniting my passion for digital inking all over again.