What happens when you’re “just doodling.”

The other night I couldn’t sleep, so I pulled out my iPad and began doodling, with nothing in mind. At first I wasn’t feeling it and almost gave up for the evening, but the insomnia had kicked in by then, so I kept going.

Somehow I hit a zen moment where suddenly everything felt so easy and natural, and I wound up with a pile of cute little animal sketches.

They’ve received a warm reception from my online groups and various Facebook friends, all encouraging me to turn them into something. Nursery decor? Kid’s t-shirts? Fabric?

Great, right?

Yeah, not so much, because as mere sketches I created all of them at about 50% of the size I’d need in order to upload them to a POD site for production. I’m going to have to make them again from scratch at a bigger file size.

While playing, I got lost in all my fun brushes and textures, and have no idea what I used in order to create these pieces. I’m sure I can figure it out. That’s not what worries me, though; I’m dreading the loss of that zen feeling I had when I wasn’t “trying.” I dread ending up with a series of lifeless, wooden drawings, as so often happens when you switch from a study to a final piece.

ARRRGH.

Gonna do it anyway. 😌

Color Palette Rehab #2

I’m relatively new to the iPad Pro as an illustration tool, but since I can’t be the only one, I’m excited to share a super-cool feature I discovered by accident yesterday. It’s so incredibly simple, but if you don’t know it’s available, you might not think to look for it.

Creating a new palette in Procreate, the painting app, is straightforward. You just click the plus sign and a new, blank palette appears, ready for you to add swatches. Here’s the fun part:

There’s a pull-down menu that allows you to create new palettes using photos or files from your smartphone, on the iPad, or stored in the cloud. And the results are amazing.

I picked a random selfie of mine from a few years ago, one I’d taken with my SLR and enhanced in Photoshop. I always liked the combination of warm and cool tones, but when I chose the photo as a source image for a new palette, I was kind of stunned at how lush the colors were.

I also created a palette from the album cover for Dave Brubeck’s Take Five. Gorgeous. I’ve got a pile of delicious midcentury jazz album covers saved on Pinterest that will all be getting the full treatment.

I love the notion of working in the method of the Old Masters, creating tone from existing tone, but with a 21st-century machine. Best of both worlds.