How does digital painting compare with traditional oil painting?
“For painting, I just feel that digital painting is so much easier. Hand oil painting doesn’t have the same usability as drawing does, you have to wait for each layer to dry, and mix colours. So whereas a pencil feels like a very well-defined tool – you can erase anything, you can draw it again –, you don’t have that luxury with painting, so I find digital painting much better in that regard. I keep trying to do more traditional painting, but I just keep finding it not very practical for the kind of things I want to do. My goal isn’t usually to have an oil painting to hang up, it’s to have some concept art or a graphic for a website. It’s usually quite practical, for another project I’m working on like an asset for a game, so I almost always gravitate towards digital.”
Artistic vs technical UI
“The UI is the main reason I use this software instead of Photoshop.” Sketchable has good support for gestures, like scaling, rotating and panning the drawing canvas, and Elle finds these “fiddly” in Photoshop. The UI is decidedly more focused in Sketchable as well. “[Photoshop] lacks a certain conciseness in the UI. There’s a lot going on, a lot of it is not relevant to illustration, which just makes everything take too long, and every tool is buried down four different menus. You lose efficiency.” The positioning of controls and use of icons allows Elle to focus on her drawing, instead of the software.
On the other hand, some of the tools in Sketchable are not powerful enough for Elle’s use cases because of this focus on a simpler, more artist-friendly UI. “Photoshop, I would open up if I knew exactly what I wanted to do and do it fairly precisely.” An example of this is the smudge tool, which she demonstrates on some antlers. “What would be really nice would be if I could apply this effect in a more structured way, like if I could select part of it and just blur that to a certain degree, and have the blur vary along the length of it, that would be much faster.”