• Peter at Start Bay Notebooks

Analogue Input / Digital Output

Updated: Jul 29

How I convert true pencil sketches on paper into digital output - hybrid analogue input digital output.

Sketching from Start Bay Notebooks

To start with, I don't use Procreate - it's just not me. It's fantastic - if that's what you want to do. In the 'good' old days there was analogue, hand rendered and digital, computer drawn and there was a pretty big gap between the two. Those days had already long since gone, but then came Procreate and the gap seemed non existent. It became very hard to tell whether something was hand or computer drawn, And the thing is, of course, that it was both. Procreate meant Raster drawing and painting pretty much became the same as hand rendered.

But I like digital vector images - a sense of the old feeling of working hard to make something look real that was quite obviously computer generated, a new look that hadn't existed before. So I prefer to combine what is obviously hand rendered with what is pretty obviously CGI and revel in this, there can be a craziness in the cleanliness. But it all starts with truly analogue input. Not a computer drawing in the first place.

“A craziness within the cleanliness - there is no need to pretend what is and isn't digital, making something look hand rendered is not an achievement in itself. The only achievement is in having something you like to look at”

Hybrid Analogue / Digital

I use different forms of sketching, having previously been a fountain pen and watercolour sketcher. More recently I have been using a hybrid method of sketching, a process I have developed that combines true analogue sketching with digital output. My sketches are done with pencil on paper but on to an ISKN (Faber Castell Edition, to be precise) tablet that records the movement of the pencil on to the paper. So a pencil and paper sketch is output as an SVG digital file. The sketches are then downloaded and manipulated in computer software.

Sketching with an ISKN Repaper.
NFTs from Start Bay Notebooks

In terms of materials I always sketch 'light', not too much in the way of equipment to bog you down. Sketching with the ISKN Repaper follows this rule. All you carry is an A5 tablet which you clip some paper on to and a pencil with the Repaper Ring fitted to it - so the whole thing is very light and portable. This is not a paid promotion, by the way, I paid for it, I use it.

You can do as many sketches as you want and they are stored in the memory of the Repaper. The internal storage is 4MB which holds about 10 sketches but I have a 32GB SD card fitted so it will hold loads, No idea how many, to be precise, as I've never come remotely close to filling it. They can then be downloaded on to a computer and I use Affinity software to add shading to the sketches using the Repaper as graphics tablet with the stylus.

Digital Output

The digital output is what you see, when I've messed about with it a bit. I use a combination of software that is basically Photoshop Elements for image manipulation, Affinity Designer for manipulation, adding lines and shading, and Affinity Publisher for layout and finishing. But, of course, you don't actually need any of this - but I like it.

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