Practice Pays Off: An Etteilla Doodles Update

Left: RWS-based Key 13 Death card drawing, entirely by hand pen and ink sketch. Right: Etteilla-based Card 17 Death card drawing, mostly digital, including hand-drawing with a digital paintbrush.

The above side by side isn’t a fair comparison, but let’s compare anyway. The left was entirely hand-drawn in pen and ink back in 2018 when I first picked up drawing after not having done anything artsy for over 20 years. Well, I did do technical drawings in fashion design, but like creative artsy art. That I hadn’t done in decades.

The above right began as a thumbnail sketch by hand (I still feel better doing it that way, even after going digital), I scan in the rough sketch and then clean it up digitally. Then the illustration is colored digitally as well.

Gradually, I’m doing less and less by hand analog and more and more digitally in software. For example, even near the tail end of completing SKT Revelation art, I was finalizing almost the entire composition of each card by hand, scanning it in, and then digitally coloring, tweaking, etc.

At this point of the Etteilla project, however, there’s less than 1 hour of drawing by hand analog before everything goes digital and I take it to the finish line in Paint Shop Pro.

I will say, though, notwithstanding the boost you get from tech, my actual line drawing by hand has improved a great deal over the last 5 years. Almost every day for the last 5 years, but for a few exceptions, I’ve been practicing my drawing skills. I keep a sketchbook and make sure I draw something every day.

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