Between Digital and Analog Design
I spend a lot of time in front of a screen. Perhaps you, too, have this problem? A painful amount of time, if I add up all the work and leisure time. But that’s where I am making most of the things I make. As a salve, and to reconnect to my hands a bit, I picked up painting and illustration more seriously in the last couple of years. Over time, I drew a hard mental line between my digital and analog work, and as time went on, I saw less and less connection between the two: one was for a pixel-perfect brand, one was for leisurely, organic mess-making. There wasn’t a lot of in-between; it’s almost impossible to paint a perfect circle, and it can be incredibly tedious to make something digital feel handmade.
Then a few months ago, I stumbled upon Gal Shir’s Instagram account. An extraordinarily talented artist, he was doing gorgeous digital illustrations with the Procreate app, and I was completely hooked by his process videos. It was the first time I could see the bridge from pen and paper to screen in a way that actually made sense to me. There isn’t any mimicry of analog style here; the illustrations are clearly digital. But they have the organic motion and wobble that is so difficult to mimic when you are drawing from a mouse. They are vibrant, colorful, layered, and textural and, in the process, look like they were super fun to make. Basically, they look very much like how drawing feels.
So, I finally picked up an iPad, and I’ve been playing with Procreate for a couple months now. Worried it’d be just another screen in my day, I’m happy to say it hasn’t stopped my painting. In fact, it’s become a valuable tool for sketching out ideas and making more art, more quickly and on-the-go. We also used it for the first time to design a brand identity here at Block Club. I am really excited about the results and to bring more illustration work to branding projects.
Gal Shir continues to make inspiring illustrations, you can follow him and watch his addictive process videos on Instagram @thegalshir. For more examples of people doing exciting digital illustration on tablets, check out @mollyjacques, @summerkid_works, and @somewandraws, or the Procreate showcase.