Digital sketching...

Wow, it feels like forever ago since I last posted...  It's been busy and hard to find the time/energy for this, thanks Ryan for encouraging me to post more.

So anyway, after a little more than a year of using a Cintiq I finally come to the conclusion that my sketching has gotten worse as a result.  Was it the control+Z, the few mm's of disconnect which seperate me and display, the disconnect of sketching in the digital rather than physical medium or was it sketchbook pro?

Whatever the reason, today I decided to correct the issue.  To do this I looked back at how I used to sketch, it went something like this: paper sketch>scan>orient sketches on single page in photoshop>render = Example here. This sounds time consuming but it took a little more time when compared to all crtl+z, layering, etc. in sketchbook pro. And when I compare the previous sketch to how I feel I am sketching now, it was worth it.

So the question became, how to recreate the paper sketch experience with my cintiq. In the sketch below I tried to recreate the quality of the sketch example above (see link) but using only my cintiq and sketchbookpro.
To recreate the hand sketch experience, I came up with a few rules that I will always try to remind myself as I sketch.

1.  Stop using ctrl-z and the eraser (unless you REALLY need it) - The little extra bit of mess adds emotion and a human quality to the sketch.  Before my sketches were bland and overworked.

2. Use less layer - I used to get lost in a sea of layers.  When I'm searching for a layer it breaks my concentration and rhythm then everything falls apart.  I've decided to keep only 4 layers from now on: the line work layer, the shadow layer, the highlight layer and an optional color pop layer.

3. Don't shade, sketch! - When I sketched by hand I would often shade using the pen.  This brought texture, rhythm and life to the sketch. Then I would add color and greys on top of that sketch digitally. As you can see below I tried to recreate this effect.

4.  Zoom-in less - Zooming in always seems like a good idea, but I've decided that it adds to the digital disconnect when using a cintiq. Kind of like using a magnifying glass to sketch on paper.  You can't see the full image and thus you are removed from the process which always means bad news bears.

5. Custom brushes - I created custom brushes matching the line weight I would normally sketch with (a ball point pen and a paper mate flair).  This creates some uniformity to the sketches and speed up my sketch (b/c I'm not constantly trying to find that perfect size brush because, just like real pens, the size is preset). Also stock brushes are boring so create/download new ones, particularly for shading.