Hi-Fi News

5Questions

5 Questions with v23next

When I first posted about the original Mobiüs Pro stylus by v23next in December 2013 I praised it’s balance and craftsmanship as well as the all day comfort. While I did have a few complaints like the fact that the sleek design caused it to roll away when sat on a smooth or angled surface overall it was light years ahead of most of the other rubber tipped stylus pens on the market. In the final showdown I said it was the best rubber tipped stylus you could buy. Since then the stylus market has grown and changed seeing heavy hitters like Wacom get serious about the iPad and start-up emerging from the woodwork to bring a variety of new concepts to scene. 

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I recently had the opportunity to test drive a prototype of the new Mobiüs Pro Dragonfly stylus by v23next. I used it to pencil, ink, and paint an illustration that debuted at the Mint Condition gallery show during Emerald City Comic Con. I found the Dragonfly built on the strengths of the original Mobiüs Pro and addressed the few shortcomings of the original. This is a very well thought out art tool and when I learned that v23next were going to launch a Kickstarter campaign to offer the Dragonfly directly to backers I reached out to Andrew Pischke from v23next to ask a few questions about this new and improved stylus.

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Q: There are many stylus pens on the market to choose from, can you explain what makes the Mobiüs Pro Dragonfly stand out from the crowd?

A: The mobius pro [dragonfly] originated from our own craving for a more substantial feeling stylus.  We wanted to design a stylus which felt and reacted in a way closer to the pen and paper feel, which we believe we have accomplished.  The mobius pro [dragonfly] has many great and innovative features that make using it a joy.  I think the fact that it is made from solid aircraft grade aluminum and it’s contoured, ergonomic shape make for a stylus unlike any other on the market.  The fact that we have added two interchangeable tips in both 5 and 6 millimeter with replacement rubber tips only adds to its uniqueness.

I believe these features make the mobius pro [dragonfly] so great!

  •  Made of solid aircraft grade aluminum – This gives the stylus a nice weight and balance unlike any other stylus on the market.

  • The contoured ergonomic shape – It makes the stylus comfortable for long periods of use and naturally makes the user hold it in a way that makes it less likely to touch to the screen with the palm of the hand.  The curved shape also avoids obscuring the screen which is great for doing line work and other fine details.

  • Interchangeable and replaceable tips – The tried and true 6 millimeter tip and the all new 5 millimeter tip makes using this stylus great for both general use, where a fine tip isn’t necessary, and also for fine line drawing with our new 5 millimeter tip.

  • Tip storage in the stylus – The stylus has a hollow section to hold extra tips for when the rubber tip eventually wears out.  This allows the user to quickly and easily replace the rubber tip without searching it.

The mobius pro [dragonfly] is available on the kickstarter project in 5 amazing colors allowing everyone to pick their favorite color, and if we reach our stretch goal we will be producing it in titanium with an upgrade options for earlier backers. (Who doesn’t want a titanium stylus?)

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Q: In a sea of boring beige and black the variety of colors is such a unique feature. I pledged the designer green Dragonfly and I’m wondering if one color is proving most popular among backers?

A: With kickstarter in progress currently the cyan mobius pro [dragonfly] early bird special sold out fastest but we currently have more “designer” greens chosen overall with combo deals included.  We pretty much expected this, but we expected the magenta to be more popular than it has been.  There are still currently some magenta mobius pro [dragonfly] stylus early bird specials left so if you know anyone that likes magenta / pink, now is the time to get one at a discounted price.

Q: I see a straight edge product also listed on the Kickstarter campaign page. Where did the inspiration for this come from and how does it work with the Mobiüs Pro
Dragonfly stylus?

A: We love drawing on iPads and use a lot of drawing apps.  One of the features that we believe is lacking in most drawing apps is a quick way to draw a straight line. A few apps have it, but we don’t believe the apps implement it in a quick and easily useable way.  The edgē (pronounced ed-gee) straight edge allows you to see the whole drawing through it, so it is easy to draw the line where you want it.  The edgē works the same way as a ruler or other straight edge tool used with a pen and paper but it is designed to work with touchscreen tablets.  We think the edgē makes drawing on an ipad a better experience by creating a more pen and paper feel.

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Q: The price for the Mobiüs Pro Dragonfly stylus starts at only $30 which seems like a bargain for a product of this quality. What do backers get for their money and what options can they add on?

A: We actually are charging $25 for the mobius pro [dragonfly], but the way kickstarter works shipping can’t be a separate fee so we included 5 dollars for shipping into the price.  The mobius pro [dragonfly] comes with two different sized tips and an extra of each by default.  We have upgrade options to either get a metal carry case or an edge with the stylus.  We also offer a combo of two styluses including a clear (silver) and any other color.  This allows you to mix tops and bottoms (the colored and silver is pretty cool together as is black and silver).  For people who like handmade things and really want to support our project we have a combo including a stylus and a spin-top, the spin-tops are all individually handmade by me, as a token of our appreciation.

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Q: What’s next for v23next?

A: Once the kickstarter is funded we will be busy fulfilling it. We really like the way kickstarter works and have a few more ideas in the works.  We designed the mobius pro [dragonfly] in a way that we could easily make add ons or new interchangeable parts so we may have some in store at a later date. (So keep an eye out!) Through making our original mobius pro stylus we have realized that a stylus is not only used by artist.  The mobius pro [dragonfly] may have been designed with the artist in mind but every feature makes use easier whatever the use.  Whether you’re an artist, a designer, a writer, a doctor, just doodling, or just a general tablet user browsing the internet, the mobius pro [dragonfly] is the stylus for you!

 Thank you Andrew, I already thought the Mobiüs Pro Dragonfly was a great stylus and after learning more about the design and craftmaship behind it I’m more excited than ever. I backed the Designer Green stylus on Kickstarter and can’t wait for it to arrive. If you are interested in the Mobiüs Pro Dragonfly and edgé from v23next take a look at their Kickstarter campaign and choose your favorite color. 

Mobiüs Pro Dragonfly on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/998843186/mobius-pro-dragonfly-stylus

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Let’s get Hi-Fi Color for Comics back in print!

Six years ago Hi-Fi Color for Comics revealed the secret tips, tricks, and techniques of digital comic book coloring in a way that made it fast and easy to learn how to color comic book art the way professional colorists do. In the years since its release, Hi-Fi Color for Comics found its way into the hands of over 10,000 enthusiastic fans, students, and aspiring comic book creators around the world. By Fall 2012 every copy of Hi-Fi Color for Comics the publisher had printed were sold out. With the book out of print used copies of Hi-Fi Color for Comics started trading at double, triple, even quadruple the original $25 cover price. Clearly demand for Hi-Fi Color for Comics existed but with the entire book industry in peril the original publisher was not in a position to green light additional printings of the book.

Flash forward to 2014, Kristy and I have now obtained the publishing rights to Hi-Fi Color for Comics and we are looking at our best options for getting the book back in print. Several publishers have shown real interest but sadly too, a lack of vision wanting to simply reprint the existing book and shuffle it off to schools and libraries to make a quick buck. In the past six years much has changed in the world of digital color and comic books. The current version of Adobe Photoshop dwarfs Photoshop CS2 which was new when we wrote Hi-Fi Color for Comics and in our minds a reprinting of the book just won’t do. Kristy and I want to bring you a fully revised and updated version of Hi-Fi Color for Comics.

We have chosen to walk away from the old way of publishing books and to team up with you, our readers, to build a new and better Hi-Fi Color for Comics. We plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign in March to fund the printing of the revised and updated Hi-Fi Color for Comics. We have reached out to Original Hi-Fi Color for Comics editor, Amy Jeynes, who has agreed to come an board to ensure the new and updated tutorials give you clear direction while challenging you to push beyond your comfort zone. Eric White (HueDoo.com forums moderator and creator of the Hi-Fi Color for Comics Facebook Group) working behind the scenes with content delivery and printing companies to bring you the highest quality book and bonus content. We are also working with friends in the industry like Comicraft and Comixology to lend their expertise to this project. Whether you choose the print version, digital version, or both the new Hi-Fi Color for Comics will be best resource for learning the art of digital comic book coloring.

Without the resources of a large publisher our biggest challenge will be alerting supporters about Hi-Fi Color for Comics. This is where you can help now, before the Kickstarter Campaign launches. This project will be of interest to everyone with a passion for comic book coloring and we invite you to spread the word. Share this blog post and sign up for e-mail updates below to receive updates leading up to and during the Kickstarter campaign for Hi-Fi Color for Comics.

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Stay tuned for new information including news about new art and artist for tutorials, what you can expect from the new Hi-Fi Color for Comics, and of course how you can get involved and ensure the success of the campaign to get Hi-Fi Color for Comics back in print.

Let’s do this!

Brian Miller is the founder of comic book color studio Hi-Fi colour deisgn and the co-author of Hi-Fi Color For Comics

SDCC13

Hi-Fi at SDCC 2013

Is it that time of year already? The largest comic-con in the universe is upon us as the comics industry grinds to a halt and makes the annual pilgrimage to San Diego, California for Comic-Con International, or as it is more  commonly referred to, San Diego Comic-Con. Once again Hi-Fi HQ will be at WORLD FAMOUS COMICS booth #5560 (if you are new to SDCC booth #5560 is in the main hall just inside entrance G).

Members of team Hi-Fi will be on hand to sign your favorite comics, review your portfolio, and answer your questions about digital color and iPad art. Hi-Fi is dedicated to art education and to that end we are presenting 2 panels this year:

Painting Comics with the iPad

The iPad has transformed the way you read comics but did you know you can create comic art on it too? See a comic book character come to life as Hi-Fi’s Brian Miller (Wolverine: An Origin Story) and Kristy Miller (Meet the Marvel Superheroes) demonstrate how to paint comics on the iPad. Learn the basic tools and techniques, including which apps work best and how you, too, can transform your iPad into a portable art studio. Q&A session.

Thursday July 18, 2013 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Room 30CDE

Digital Color for Comics

In print or digital comic books need color, but do you know how comic books are colored? Learn about the creative art of comic book coloring as Hi-Fi’s Brian Miller (Batman: The Dark Knight) and Kristy Miller (Spongebob Squarepants) demonstrate the step-by-step transformation of a comic book page from black and white to full color. Learn the basics of flatting, rendering, color holds, and special effects, along with top digital coloring tips. Q&A session follows.

Friday July 19, 2013 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Room 30CDE

Other talented creators will also be featured at World Famous Comics and there will be amazing original artwork and prints for sale. See you there!

PHXCON1

Summer Convention Season kicks off

Hi-Fi is attending Phoenix Comicon Memorial Day Weekend and gearing up for San Diego Comic-Con in July. At each convention we will be signing comics, demonstrating digital color and paint techniques for Photoshop on Mac/PC as well as creating comics with the iPad. We hope to see you there!

 Hi-Fi’s Kristy Miller greets fans at Phoenix Comicon

Hi-Fi Schedule Phoenix Comicon 2013

Appearing all weekend long at booth #2235

Friday Noon: Story time with Wick & Kelty in the READING CORNER

Friday 3PM room 124B Digital Color for Comics – Learn how to color comic books like the pros

Saturday 3PM room 124B Making Comics with the iPad – Learn which apps and stylus pens work best

See you at Phoenix Comicon and stay tuned for SDCC info…

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Follow the yellow brick road…

Follow the yellow brick road to Emerald City Comicon March 1-3 at Washington State Convention Center Seattle, Washington. Emerald City Comicon is celebrating its 11th year with a great mix of guest from film, television, and comic books including your friendly neighborhood Hi-Fi comic book colorists and authors of How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad and Hi-Fi Color for Comics, Brian & Kristy Miller.

You can find Hi-Fi at booth H-15:

  • Comics & books colored & painted by Hi-Fi
  • Bring your favorite Hi-Fi colored comics for autographs
  • New Prints
  • Get hands on with How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad
  • Sketches
  • Portfolio review

 

Special Events

Friday: Mint Condition Art Show - 7:00PM Ltd. Gallery

Mint Condition is a tribute to comic books featuring original artwork and prints from over 50 talented creators. Hi-Fi’s Brian Miller will be debuting the latest in his series of Pop Culture Propaganda illustrations titled “Paradise Island” Friday evening at Ltd. Gallery – 307 E PIKE St., Seattle, WA.

Saturday: Making Comics with the iPad – 5:00PM Room 401

See a comic book character come to life as Hi-Fi’s Brian and Kristy Miller demonstrate step-by-step  techniques from their book How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad. Learn the basic tools and techniques including which apps & stylus pens work best and how you can transform your iPad into a mobile art studio.

Sunday: Digital Color for Comics – 11:00AM Room 401

Learn about the creative art of comic book coloring as Hi-Fi’s Brian and Kristy Miller demonstrate the step-by-step transformation of a comic book page from black & white to full color. See techniques demonstrated from their books Hi-Fi Color for Comics and Master Digital Color. Learn the basics of flatting, rendering, color holds, and special effects along with top digital coloring tips.

Find out more about "Licensed Art!"

Spotting art in the wild on a Superhero Safari: How Licensed Art works.

Our favorite superheroes are everywhere these days. From the big screen and video games, to action figures and children’s books, our favorite caped wonders have escaped the confines of the local comic book store and have found themselves in almost every aspect of the media.

Just some of the Marvel books from HiFi available now.

A collection of just some of the Marvel books painted by Hi-Fi.

One of the most important markets that comic book characters have remained strong in is actually so subtle that it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. Enter the world of Licensed Art.

What exactly is Licensed Art and why is it important in relation to comic books? Before we get into that, I’ll explain how the employee relationship works in the comic book industry.

In the world of professional production art, the way things work is pretty straightforward. There is an employer/employee work relationship where an employer will pay an employee to create art. This art is then used in a final product that it was intended for. For example, when comic book veterans Ian Churchill, Norm Rapmund, and the team of Color Artists at Hi-Fi create artwork for “The Ravagers” from DC Comics, the nature of the art being produced under the legal definition of Work-For-Hire is typically (but not necessarily always) intended for limited publication in comic book form. That is, the artists can expect to see their work reproduced in the monthly comic, later on in a collected Trade Paperback version, as well as in Digital Comic versions.

Marvel Super Heroes 3D Activity Center

Marvel Super Heroes 3D Activity Center, with box art created by Hi-Fi Artists. One neat thing about working on Licensed Art projects is that you never know where you'll see your artwork pop up next!

Most work contracts for big league companies such as DC Comics and Marvel are catch-all contracts, meaning that under the explicit language of the contract the art becomes the property of the company that has ordered it, and they have complete reproduction rights on it. So if one day we see a t-shirt with a scene from an issue of “The Ravagers” for sale, it is, without divulging the details of the contracts, most likely within the rights of DC Comics to do so and profit from that.

With that profit comes a cost. The old saying, “You have to spend money in order to make money” is reversed in this case; when you make money, you have to spend money. This is called a Royalty Payment. Royalty Payments ensure that there is a quid-pro-quo (this for that) arrangement when something is reused for profit. For example, if an art team is paid $X for the original production art for a comic book, and the company produces from that art a pair of shoes with the artwork printed on the sides, it’s only fair that the art team is given a portion of that profit as well. Typically, Royalty Payments are a very low percentage, and only kick in after a certain profit ceiling has been reached. Regarding Royalty Payments, a contract will typically explain that once a certain amount of money has been made from the new product produced from the old art, then the art team will get a fraction of a percent of the profit made from each new sale.

This is a wonderful setup for artists, but it can backfire on the company in some situations, specifically where the products being made are created with little profit, or even being offered “at cost” in value markets.

In comes Licensed Art. In essence, all art in the comic industry is licensed. What we refer to with this term, however, is when art is produced for the company who has complete, carte blanche rights to its use from there on, and may sell the rights to that art to other companies for the creation of new products.

Licensed Art is vital because it permits comic book companies to use, distribute, and reuse artwork while keeping a budget.

As artists, of course we want to ensure our own financial safety by making as much money as possible, so in the production of Licensed Art we are typically paid slightly more up front. Think of it as a Royalty Payment in advance.

This allows for a new market of low-profit, high distribution products to be created and to then saturate the market.

Coloring books, greeting cards, stickers, school supplies, lunch boxes, Frisbees, shoes, the list goes on. All of these products you can find at the local department store, supermarket, dollar store, and even the corner gas station. These things are all great, but even mighty companies like DC Comics and Marvel aren’t big enough to have their own footwear division, Frisbee factories, etc.

Art from various sources has been used on this neat movie projector!

Art from different sources has been assembled together on this cool movie projector, included with an activity book! Here you see Captain America on the projector (Left), along side the original painted artwork (Right).

Because they’re produced in such high quantities to be offered at such a low price, it would be nearly impossible for the company to recover any profit if Royalty Payments were a consideration with these products. The idea here is to respond to consumer demand, by offering these things. There isn’t always a lot of money for a company to make, but the tradeoff in having “The Mighty Avengers” coloring and activity books in the dollar store is that a consumer demand has been met, the company has “broken even” on the sale of the product, and now there is a happy child with a coloring book, who in ten years may remember how cool he thought “Spider-Man” was, growing up, and that may lead to him visiting his local comic book store and catching up with his old friend Peter Parker.

Hi-Fi Artists are responsible for much of the Licensed Art you may see from Marvel today, with much more to come.

The Mighty Avengers Look and Find

The Mighty Avengers Look and Find, featuring Licensed Art from Hi-Fi Artists.

We illustrate and paint Marvel characters for children’s books, activity and coloring sets, and many other products. As Marvel and its parent company Disney brainstorm to create new products, many times our art will be reused. For example, I recently saw a page I had painted for “The Courageous Captain America: An Origin Story,” where Captain America is running to battle in World War II reused as the image on an audio button for “The Mighty Avengers: Play-a-Sound” book and more Hi-Fi artwork can be seen on the cover of “The Mighty Avengers: Look and Find” both of which are published by Publications International.

HiFi painted artwork used beautifully along the margins of a children's activity book.

Hi-Fi painted artwork used beautifully along the margins of a children's activity book. Youngsters couldn't ask for better reference! This Captain America image is very popular.

The art keeps coming back in different products, and that’s great news. Marvel and others are pleased with the work we’ve done and is continuing to reuse much of it as Licensed Art. I even saw an activity book where some of Hi-Fi Creative Director Brian Miller’s paintings for the protective sleeve covers of the Marvel Origin Story books were re-purposed into face masks. What a cool added value for the activity book, to be able to pop out a die-cut mask and wear it to become your favorite Avenger!

There are many teams producing Licensed Art for the comic book industry, but much like every product, there is a dwindling contingency that is American-made. Because of economic hardships, following the example of what happened with the 1980s Cartoon and Animation Industry, many companies have opted to look to the artists of Asia to produce comic book art. Though they’re very talented, because of lower standards of living they accept a lower rate of payment. The comic book industry has pushed and tugged towards this end, but American artists are pulling it back. Hi-Fi Colour Design, despite the British “u” in Colour is an American-based company and many Hi-Fi Artists and colleagues live and work in America.

Veteran comic book penciler and Pittsburgh’s own Pat Olliffe produces much of the preliminary pencil work that we use as the framework to what we do. Brian and Kristy Miller have the heart of Kansas City and the hip-factor of Arizona. They manage these large projects as well as provide art from the Hi-Fi Mothership in Arizona. Hi-Fi Artists like “yours truly” provide art from around the nation. Some pages that I painted in “The Incredible Hulk: An Origin Story” were painted on an 18-hour bus ride to New Orleans. A battle between Iron Man and Hawkeye in “Hawkeye Joins The Mighty Avengers” was painted at the same table in the family home where my whole family encouraged me to draw when I was a child.

The Mighty Avengers Play-A-Sound Book

The Mighty Avengers Play-A-Sound Book. I was pleasantly surprised when I first saw artwork I had painted for another book now appearing on one of the sound effect buttons on this. Neat!

I believe that these are only possibilities for the American artist. We’re free to be mobile, and not confined to a studio in . The office of Hi-Fi is virtual, and the work week of the Hi-Fi Artist is flexible. Our art can and has been made from our homes, coffee shops, libraries, and even in unexpected places like on interstate bus rides. With the advent of Tablet computing, and great how-to books such as How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad I can’t wait to hear about what interesting new places people will create artwork from.

We’re all very proud to serve you in bringing your favorite characters to you. From the Color Art found in the pages of DC Comics’ “Green Lantern Annual #1” at your local comic shop, to Marvel children’s books found at the book store and on iTunes, to anywhere else the art may appear.

Keep your eyes open for more Marvel art from Hi-Fi Artists in the near future!

Matthew Swift is a Painter and Color Artist with comic book color studio Hi-Fi Colour Design.  Hi-Fi provides color and paint services for publishers like DC, Disney, Image, Marvel, and more.  You can follow Hi-Fi on Twitter at: twitter.com/hificolor and see more comic book art on Hi-Fi’s Facebook page at: facebook.com/HiFiColourDesign

SBP2-6Update

What’s new in SketchBook Pro for iPad 2.6?

Autodesk recently released SketchBook Pro for iPad version 2.6.  This update is FREE for users of previous versions and includes several new features and a revamp of some user interface elements.  You will notice some icons and menus have a revised appearance when combined with previous versions, including what is shown in How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad.  This post covers what is new in SketchBook Pro for iPad 2.6.

Copic Color Library

If you sketch and draw using traditional media, odds are you are familiar with the colorful dual tip markers made by Copic.  You will find the color panel in the SketchBook Pro for iPad brush editor has been slightly revised. The icon that was previously used to swap between the color swatches and the color wheel has been changed and now resembles a color wheel with 4 grayscale swatches inside.  When tapped, this new icon reveals a pop-over menu allowing you to select from three options: color swatches, color wheel, or the new Copic color library.

The Copic color library presents you with three user interface elements from which to select colors: A spectrum column, color swatches, and a color preview area.  In the spectrum column you can tap to select a family of colors like reds, greens, or blues.  When you tap on one of these colors the selection of Copic color swatches in the panel changes to reflect your selection.  The number of swatches and variety varies depending upon your selection. Tap any Copic color swatch and the color you tap will be displayed in the color preview area indicating your selection as the active color.  Any brush strokes you make will use the active color.  To the right of the active color in the preview area you will see a small display indicating complimentary colors for the active swatch.  You can tap one of the complimentary colors and now the complimentary color will become the active color and variations of the new active color family fill the area displaying Copic swatches.

Most artist will find the addition of the Copic color library a welcome one.  Copic has supplied a nice variety of colors and if you want to do a bit of customizing you can always use a Copic color as a starting point then customize the color using the color wheel and save the as a custom color swatch in the swatches panel (not the Copic color library).

Revised Marker Brush

What fun would adding the Copic color library to SketchBook Pro for iPad be if the marker itself did not behave a bit more like a true Copic marker?  The marker brush gives you more of that wet edge feeling and while the colors don’t bleed like a true marker there is enough spread to the brush tip that you can achieve the look of overlapping and mixing of colors when adjusting the opacity and size of the brush.  The refinements should tempt you to utilize the marker brush more often.

Updated Preferences

Gone is the setting for High Resolution Canvas (more on that later) and in it’s place is a new preference labeled, 3rd Party Pen Connection.  When selected this preference currently offers support for 3 forthcoming input stylus products; Adonit Jot Touch, TenOne Pogo, and Hex3 JaJa.  Autodesk’s decision to include built in support for these products indicates their commitment to providing an experience tailored toward the user. Want to use your finger?  Go for it.  Use a traditional stylus? Rock on.  Have a desire to try a pro-level stylus with pressure sensitivity? Be our guest.  This is an impressive addition and one that opens the door for other third party developers working on a variety of input products.  The question of the moment is, how do these pressure sensitive style products work with SketchBook Pro for iPad?  Several of the stylus makers have pledged to provide Hi-Fi with test units.  We will be conducting a real world, in house test of these and will report back.  Look for a full review at HowToPaintComicBooks.com in October.

Revised New Sketch & Import Image menus

As mentioned the ability to set a default canvas size has been jettisoned from SketchBook Pro for iPad preferences.  Good news is you can now choose your canvas size anytime you create a new sketch (Image Editor or Gallery) or import an image into the Gallery.  When you tap the New Sketch icon or Import Image icon you are now presented with an attractive new menu presenting the current canvas sizes to you.  You may choose 1024 x 768 or 2048 x 1536 for your canvas. Also of note 1024 x 768 canvas size now supports these maximum layers depending upon which iPad model you are using: 6 layers on iPad 1, 12 layers on iPad 2, or 18 layers on 3rd Gen iPad.  The implementation of this new canvas size menu allows for additional canvas sizes to be added to SketchBook Pro for iPad as new iPad models are introduced and future software updates are made.

File Sharing enhancements

When you tap the Export Image icon you will immediately notice the redesigned menu featuring new export options like Flickr and Facebook.  The Facebook implementation allows you to add a caption and export the image to any existing Facebook album you have previously created. Twitter and email integration in iOS5 allow you to compose tweets and emails within SketchBook Pro for iPad.  No need to jump to Mail or Twitter apps.  Other image export features work as before.

SketchBook Pro for iPad 2.6 provides subtle enhancements throughout.  The Copic color library is the major new feature and one most users will start using immediately.  The underlying changes for canvas size, file sharing, and third party stylus support prove Autodesk are hard at work to ensure SketchBook Pro for iPad remains at the forefront of painting apps for iPad while laying a foundation for future enhancements.  Several menus have been revised since How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad was published.  Refer to this post anytime you need a refresher on the changes.

 

SketchBook Pro for iPad Available from the iTunes App store.

How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad Available from the iBookstore.

Stay tuned for a full review of pressure sensitive stylus products compatible with SketchBook Pro for iPad in the future.

NotABook

When is a book not a book?

When is a book not a book?

When it is one of the new Multi-Touch books available exclusively for iPad from the Apple iBookstore.  If that leaves you scratching your head, you’re not alone.  Turns out many people have not heard of Multi-Touch books yet.  The name itself isn’t exactly descriptive.  While Multi-Touch may conjure up images of Vishnu the multi-armed Hindu deity, in Apple speak Multi-Touch means a book where gestures allow you to access rich multi-media features.  Lets take a look at some of the Multi-Touch features included in How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad.

Navigation:

From the home page for each chapter simply tap the name of any section to jump directly to that tutorial or swipe to scroll through thumbnails of pages for the chapter and tap the page you want to go to.  When reading the book you can pinch any page to reduce it back into the thumbnail view and swipe to the next section or chapter you want to visit.

Swipe though chapters and pages quickly to choose your favorite tutorials and projects.

Interactive Images:

One of the biggest challenges when learning new software, like SketchBook Pro for iPad, is discovering where all the tools are hiding and how to access the features you want to use.  With interactive images you can see the user interface for SketchBook Pro and tap to learn more about specific tools and features. Each workspace is labeled using the same naming conventions used though ought the book. As you work through the projects and tutorials in How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad you can refer back to the SketchBook Pro for iPad overview at any time as a refresher.

 

Interactive images allow you to explore important information.

Tutorial Galleries:

When Kristy and I authored Hi-Fi Color for Comics and Master Digital Color the most shocking moments were seeing what content was cut from the books by editorial and production.  Limited by page count paper books may only allow 2-3 images to illustrate a specific skill or technique when 5-6 may have worked better.  Using Multi-Touch technology we have embedded many images in the space of one.  Use your finger to swipe through images illustrating step-by-step how to complete each painting.  You can even tap to zoom the images up to full-screen size so you can see every detail.

 

Swipe through images to see step-by-step how to complete each skill.

Video:

If you attend major comic book conventions like Comic-Con International (aka San Diego Comic-Con) you will find Kristy and I in the panel rooms demonstrating digital color and paint techniques.  What we have found is some people can teach themselves using only a book but some people have an, “A-ha!” moment when they see a skill or technique live on screen.  How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad contains video tutorials for techniques that are easier to understand visually than in print.  The book also includes video for the majority of the painting projects so you can see how the tutorial art was painted and learn how to best approach a given illustration before painting your own. You can use two fingers to zoom any video and play it at full-screen size.

 

Watch video tutorials and see how to apply tools and techniques.

Chapter Reviews:

Kristy touched on this in a recent post and it bears repeating. If you are a student or even the studious type these chapter reviews will help you remember the skills and techniques from each chapter of the book. Match the tool icon with its name.  Answer questions based on images from the book.  Drag labels onto the correct areas of an image.  When you are done you can check your answers and move to the next chapter or try again.  Chapter reviews are a fun and interactive way to reinforce everything you are learning so it becomes second nature.

 

Chapter reviews are a fun and interactive way to reinforce the skills you learn.

Notes View:

If you read Kristy’s recent post you already know you can highlight text and even add notes to sections of the book as you work though the tutorials but you may have missed the action that unlocks even more hidden features, Notes view. You access Notes view by turning your iPad from landscape to portrait orientation with How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad open.  All the images and videos shrink down to thumbnails along the left of the page allowing you to focus on the text.  As you read each section simply tap any image or video to see it full-size.  Notes view also allows you to access all of your highlighted sections and notes in one central location.  You can even make flash cards from your highlights and notes.

 

Notes view helps you focus on important information and make notes for later use.

As you can see Multi-Touch books are just like the books you already enjoy only with enhanced features and multimedia built in.  How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad gives you a complete art instruction book along with interactive images, step-by-step tutorial galleries, videos, chapter reviews and more. You also get access to all the tutorial artwork shown in the book so you can follow along, painting each project as it is shown in the book.

Download a free sample and purchase from the iBookstore

 Kristy and I have worked hard to make How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad one of the best art instruction books available.  Visit the iBookstore and download it today and let us know about your experience with Multi-Touch.  We think you will find it makes learning to paint easier and more fun than ever.

How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad

Available from the iBookstore

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Brian Miller Answers Your Questions

Since the debut of How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad at Comic-Con International (aka San Diego Comic-Con) Kristy and I have been overwhelmed by the response.  We want to thank everyone who has downloaded the free sample tutorial from the iBookstore and to the each and every one of you who has purchased a copy of the book.  The e-mail we have received has fallen into two categories, thank you’s from people who are already using the tutorials from the book and creating artwork on the iPad, and questions from people who want to know a bit more about what to expect in How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad.  I’ll do my best to answer those questions here.

 

Do I need an iPad?

Yes, How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad is a Muti-Touch book available exclusively for iPad from the iBookstore. You can use any generation of iPad to read the book using the free iBooks reader app available from Apple. You will also need the SketchBook Pro for iPad painting app available from the iTunes App store.

SketchBook Pro for iPad How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad

 

Do I need to read a user guide for SketchBook Pro for iPad before I start?

No.  How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad includes everything you need to get started using SketchBook Pro for iPad.  The book includes interactive slideshows that walk you through every tool and feature. Plus, we don’t expect you to master all the tools at once.  Each project introduces a couple of new tools and features.  As you complete one tutorial and move to the next you will reinforce what you have already learned while new elements are introduced.  You will have so much fun painting super-heroes you won’t realize you are actually learning as you go.  By the time you complete all the tutorials in How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad you will have learned to use every major tool and feature to paint comic book artwork using SketchBook Pro for iPad.

This is the missing manual for SketchBook Pro, Nuff said! – Bily Foster

Full screen movies demonstrate important tips and techniques.

Do I need to be able to draw and paint already?

While any art experience will give you a head start Kristy and I do our best to make every project easy to complete by following the step-by-step instructions.  I find that staring at a blank canvas scares many people so we give you access to all tutorial artwork used in the book so you can follow along.  Use the tutorial artwork as the foundations for your paintings while learning and by the end of the book you will be ready to paint a variety of artwork including your own. How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad is a Multi-Touch book which means there are new interactive elements to help you learn how to paint even faster.  You can swipe through interactive image galleries that show various stages of each painting, watch video tutorials that show you exactly how to paint important elements of a project.  The book even allows you to highlight sections of text and add notes and bookmarks in case you want to revisit something important after trying a new technique or skill.

 

What if I don’t follow comic books?

Kristy and I work in the comic book industry and a lot of people want to learn how to draw and paint comic books for fun, or as part of their creative career.  We learned from our previous books, Hi-Fi Color for Comics and Master Digital Color, that many people want to learn how to paint and color but may not be interested in comic books.  The good news is comic book artwork is a fun way to learn.  Our goal is to create tutorials that are easy to approach and layout the techniques in a way that is not dumbed down, but accessible for creative people.  A tutorial is only good if you can follow the steps and achieve great results and that is what we strive for.  Kristy and I have received feedback from people who work in architecture, landscape design, product packaging, fine art, fashion design, film, video games, and a variety of other creative careers and hobbies.  Each of these people said the same thing, your tutorials helped me become better at my art. If you love comic books, you will enjoy this book and will find it easy to apply the tutorials to your own comic projects.  If your creative career is outside of comic books I bet you will still find many of the projects and lessons will give you an advantage and inspire you to new creative heights with your artwork too.

  I will be recommending it to students and anyone wanting to learn SketchBook Pro – Susan Murtaugh

I love your other books, is this the same or is it new?

Some elements of our approach to painting as a creative process will be familiar such as painting in flat areas of color before rendering.  This should make it easier and faster to get started.  The tutorials, techniques, and all the projects are all new.  You will see one familiar face though, Dave Bryant has provided a new drawing of the Scarab character from Hi-Fi Color for Comics and Master Digital Color for you to paint.  We liked it so much, we put it on the cover!

 

Learn how to paint comic book super-heroes and then add a background.

The description on the iBookstore is sort of vague.  What will I learn exactly?

How to paint Comic Books with the iPad contains 113 pages full of everything you need to paint your own amazing comic book artwork:

• How to use SketchBook Pro for iPad

• How to import sketches into the iPad

• How to make brushes and color swatches

• How to paint super-heroes, secret identities, and faces

• How to paint backgrounds, and special effects

• How to add word balloons and lettering to your comics

• How to save and share your paintings with friends

• How to export  to Photoshop for commercial print use

 

Do I need a stylus?

I use a stylus with my Wacom tablet every day when coloring and painting comic books on my Mac. I also own 3 different stylus for the iPad but I prefer painting with my fingers.  What I have found is that SketchBook Pro for iPad feels and works better, for me, when painting using my fingers.  The entire program comes alive when you can rapidly access the 3-finger tap to bring up the hidden tools and use 2-fingers to pan and zoom. If someone tells me they are not a fan of SketchBook Pro for iPad my first question is to ask if they have tried it using only their fingers.  It unlocked a whole new world of creativity for me and I encourage you to try it for a day.  That said I believe every artist should  use the tools they are most comfortable with.  For some it will be a stylus, for others their fingers, or it may be some combination of the two.

  I’ve been reading your iPad book and it’s already (in one day) taught me more than the last 2 months of self teaching – Jason Ballard

All the tools you are using are clearly identified before you start painting so you can relax and be more creative.

Can I do this while traveling?

Absolutely!  As a creative professional there are days I feel chained to my desk.  My computer, my Wacom tablet, e-mail from clients, Facebook, and everything else tether me down and sometimes I skip meals, or miss time with friends to make a deadline.  When Kristy and I started writing this book one of our goals was to figure out how to do remain creative no matter where you are.  I was able to paint an Iron Man book cover on the flight to New York to meet with Marvel Press.  I received a Boba Fett sketch via e-mail and painted it on the iPad while traveling.  With only a Wi-Fi or 3G connection you can use SketchBook Pro for iPad and How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad to transform your iPad into a mobile art studio.  We do include a bonus section in the book on exporting your paintings to Adobe Photoshop for commercial print use which will require a computer with Adobe Photoshop.  Everything else can be done with your iPad, computer free, wherever you are at any time you feel creative.  Your creativity, unchained.

 

I have tried to answer the most common questions we have received about How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad.  Did I answer yours?  If not feel free to email me hificolourdesign@gmail.com.  Kristy and I welcome your feedback and encourage you to leave a review on the iBookstore so others may discover the book too.

How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad

Available on the iBookstore

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Full Coverage: How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad panel at Comic-Con

I have a long history of being labeled crazy.  I started my life in comic books just out of high school coloring Captain Crafty comic books by hand with watercolor paints and airbrushing covers. In the early nineties print publishing was transitioning from traditional mechanical methods to digital layout and design. I was well entrenched in the desktop publishing revolution using an Apple Macintosh computer for all my print publishing work. Eventually I began experimenting with digital color for comic book artwork (I was hardly the first to do so as Steve Oliff had colored Akira digitally as early as 1988). I would attend comic book conventions and show my portfolio to editors and publishers. Some would “get it” right away while others would say, “Digital Color? You’re crazy, that will never catch on.” In 1998 Kristy and I founded Hi-Fi colour design and started coloring Cable, X-Men, and Wolverine comic books for Marvel. The rest is history. Hi-Fi colour design has grown into a studio of talented artist and we have colored every major comic book for publishers around the world. We even color and paint artwork for toy makers, movie studios, and video game companies. Kristy and I have been fortunate enough to write 2 books about digital color titled, Hi-Fi Color for Comics and Master Digital Color. We learned there is a craving for comic book art education from professionals who can provide real world experience. Many artist never share their secrets, we want to give every artist the information they need to unleash their creativity.

 

With the iPad Apple has once again changed the face of publishing.

 

With the iPad Apple has once again changed the face of publishing. Millions of people are now reading books and comic books with the iPad. With the release of SketchBook Pro for iPad Autodesk has made it possible to create comic book artwork with the iPad as well. I downloaded SketchBook Pro for iPad and immediately fell in love. I painted an Iron Man cover on the plane while traveling to New York for a meeting with Marvel Press. I painted a Boba Fett illustration in collaboration with another artist who provided a thumbnail sketch via e-mail. SketchBook Pro for iPad allowed me to sketch and paint anytime, anywhere and share my paintings with friends. I loved the software and there was even some high profile news when DC Entertainment publisher Jim Lee shared a painting of Wonder Woman he had created with SketchBook pro for iPad.

 

There was a problem though, the software was so new and advanced many people were unsure exactly what it could do. I would speak to other comic book creators who would say, “I really like SketchBook Pro but it doesn’t have a smudge tool,” then I would show them how to use the Smudge Brush in SketchBook Pro. Someone else would complain of the lack of pressure sensitivity on the iPad. I would show them the ingenious Brush Properties puck allowing for brush size and opacity changes on the fly. After answering many of these questions I realized what comic book creators needed was a manual that spoke to them in their own language. A guide to paint comic books using SketchBook Pro for iPad.

 

 I realized what comic book creators needed was a manual that spoke to them in their own language.

 

We were lucky enough debut, How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad, on Preview Night at Comic-Con International 2012 (aka San Diego Comic-Con) and it felt like the early nineties all over again. Some people say, “You can’t paint comic book art on the iPad. That will never work,” then I show them comic book art created with SketchBook Pro for iPad. Luckily there are many more people who “get it” than there are naysayers. Kristy and I walked into a packed Room 11AB Friday at Comic-Con to present a panel showcasing SketchBook Pro and the iPad for comic book artist. Demonstrating the various features of SketchBook Pro and Hi-Fi techniques while painting Spider-Man was a lot of fun. Then I showed how to paint the beautiful Black Widow and at the end of the demonstrations fans were on their feet.

 

While the applause is nice the Q&A session was even better. Because painting comics with the iPad is the cutting edge compared to other types of traditional and digital mediums we found our panel packed full of early adopters, well versed in the iPad and the various image editing software available. Technical questions came flying about resolution, layers, RGB color, and supported file types. Next were questions focused on creative areas like how to paint faces, how to paint with a variety of brushes, and how to blend colors. Kristy and I answered every question and demonstrated techniques for best results. We even had the old, “I don’t use SketchBook Pro for iPad because there is no way to smudge colors,” statement come up again which provided ample opportunity to demonstrate the Smudge Brush in SketchBook Pro for iPad (which works very well by the way).

 

At the end of the panel Kristy and I unveiled the new book, How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad. We were able to show off some of the Multi-Touch features like interactive image galleries that allow you to swipe through step-by-step versions of a painting from start to finish. One feature of the book panel attendees enjoyed most were the video tutorials for key techniques and important areas of painting like the face and human figure. Kristy and I also showed the crowd the interactive chapter reviews and the ability to take notes. While much of the audience already used SketchBook Pro for iPad we know not everyone who downloads How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad will have experience with the app. This gave us the opportunity to demonstrate the interactive slideshow in the book that labels and explains of every tool and feature found in SketchBook Pro for iPad. We finished the panel by letting fans know that a sample tutorial is available to download FREE from the iBookstore.

 

The interactive slideshow labels and explains of every tool in SketchBook Pro for iPad.

 

After the panel people would stop by the convention booth and let us know how much they enjoyed the presentation or for personal help with a SketchBook Pro for iPad question. Kristy and I enjoyed chatting with everyone and their experiences with comic book artwork on the iPad. The following day some people even came back who had downloaded a copy of How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad and were already working their way through the tutorials. Looking at what these people had achieved in under 24 hours I thought to myself about the times people told me I was crazy. Crazy for coloring comics digitally, crazy for to write a book on comic coloring, and now crazy for painting comics with the iPad. There are a lot of us crazy ones out there creating amazing artwork with the iPad, right now, today. Some of us just need a push in the right direction. Learn how to transform your iPad into a mobile art studio with SketchBook Pro for iPad and How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad and start creating amazing comic book artwork today.

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How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad panel at Comic Con

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Brian and Kristy demonstrate layer management techniques while painting Spider-Man.

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Starting with flat color for Black Widow's face Brian shared tips from How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad for painting beautiful faces

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Panel attendees watch Black Widow painted on the big screen in Room 11AB

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Scarab has was featured in Hi-Fi Color for Comics and Master Digital Color and makes an appearance in How to Paint Comic books with the iPad too.

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Standing room only in Room 11AB for the panel at Comic-Con

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How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad debuts at Comic Con

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Brian & Kristy Miller at Comic-Con International

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With SketchBook Pro for iPad and How to Paint Comic Books with the iPad you will learn how to transform your iPad into a mobile art studio.

Download a FREE sample or the full book from the iBookstore today.

Available on the iBookstore