Everything seems to be moving towards going digital – even making comics. But are you ready to make the jump?
While the digital possibilities are vast and very tempting, I still see advantages in the oldschool method of drawing on paper. Here is a list of pros and cons as I see it.
Pros of going digital:
Since you’re drawing your art directly in the computer, there is less hassle scanning and cleaning up your original artwork.
Being able to move and scale ANYTHING, including reference pictures, sketches and word balloons is definetely an upside. With a CINTIQ , you can even draw directly on the pressure sensitive screen (which also turns for maximum line control) and you have everything in one place.
Am I the only one who sometimes find myself searching for the “undo” button, when I’m drawing on paper? Granted, the so called “lucky accidents” that come from working with a pen or a brush can be a pro as well, but more often than not, you end up with plain old UNlucky accidents – and correcting is a lot easier to do digitally (and with nicer result).
It seems for some artists, the possibilities of going digital also offers more speed and momentum to their work. They are simply able to get to a nice result faster. Used efficiently, digital saves you a ton of time.
Cons of going digital:
In my experience, any task I take to the computer takes double the time. You can zoom in way too much and nitpick details. You’re working on a device that also has Facebook, Twitter and a gazillion other things running at the same time. I believe “PC” stands for “Procrastination Central”. And the speed of your work depends on the speed of your computer, your software, your file size and all sorts of other fun factors which you have little control over.
You can work digitally with just a computer and a Wacom tablet. But if you really want to go all in, with all the advantages a Cintiq has to offer, get ready to throw almost two thousand dollars on the table. Ouch! You better be sure you can make that money back. Remember though, that equipment you use for your business is usually tax deductable (depending on where you live).
Updates and breakdowns
When has a piece of paper ever asked for an update, or asked for you to plug in the power cord? The reliability on hardware and software is slightly scary (at least for me) because those things can go flaky on you with no warning.
This is a big issue for me. I like being able to sit with a sketchbook or work out of the house for a day. If I had a digital setup, it would most likely be at my studio and too bulky to bring anywhere. However, Wacom has put out a 13.3″ Cintiq that is really lightweight and portable – But you still need to hook it up to a computer to work on it.
A piece of Bristol board doesn’t suddenly crash on you and leave you to have to reconstruct hours of work. Unless you spill coffee all over your original art, it will usually outlive any computer. And if you scan it in, you have a digital backup as well, a lot safer than having just one file.
No original artwork!
Having drawn it all on the computer, you have no originals to sell at conventions or exhibit at your local library or whatever. Sure, you can make nice printouts, but that’s just not the same, is it? Note that this con could be a pro, since you don’t need storage space for your original art! You can put it all in your Dropbox or on a portable harddisk.
So, what’s the conclusion?
Given the price, low mobility and given the fact that I don’t have the time for the learning curve that going all digital will require (at least before the result is anywhere near what I can produce with pen and paper), I don’t see myself going digital anyt time soon. And I don’t like having to rely on power and technology to be able to make comics.
What do you guys think? Are there any pros or cons I missed? And what do YOU use to make comics? Comment below!