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A Guide to Drawing with Paper by 53

by on April 10, 2013

I’m just getting started w/ this app…& want to reference a few tipshere, & here, too.



Watercolor without Water

I use the watercolor brush in two ways… well maybe three.

  1. When crisp edges aren’t a concern, I’ll block in color quickly with the watercolor brush. I achieve continuous tones by painting slowly and never removing the stylus (or my finger) from the screen. If I want to create a smooth gradation in color I move the brush progressively faster to fade it out.
  2. Brightening existing areas is easily achieved with the watercolor brush. Mix enough white into a color and the brush can be used to lighten. This technique is perfect for adding highlights or correcting mistakes when an eraser’s edges might be too harsh. When working with white my general rule of thumb is to move fast. If you stick around in one location too long it’ll lighten too fast. The same is true when using full black…
  3. To shade existing areas apply a darker hue, gray, or black. For backgrounds I tend to use a light blue-gray to paint in shadows. I prefer to start light and layer on multiple strokes to add depth and contrast gradually. When working on a subjects’ face, I’ll use a dull brown to add dimension and shape. Applying a coat of gray or brown works wonders on hair as well.

Filling Shapes with Ink

I don’t use the fountain pen or marker tools all that much because I like my illustrations to have a more painterly feel to them. However, these tools are perfect for covering large irregular shaped areas with a base color — like hair. They also come in handy when I need to rework or make adjustments (more precise than the eraser) to something I already drew or painted.

Two things to keep in mind when working with the marker tool:

  • It has some translucency to it. If you draw over something, it will most likely show through. Because of this, the marker can help you shade more precisely than the brush since the tip is narrower.
  • Black, white, and some dark colors are opaque; meaning they will completely cover up anything you draw over.

The Multipurpose Pencil

I saved the best for last. When I first started using Paper by 53, I was enamored with the thick and thins of the fountain pen and how true to life the watercolor brush handled. But then I rediscovered an old friend, in a digital world — Mr. Pencil.

Need to lightly sketch out a face… pull out the pencil. Need to smoothen out some edges… pull out the pencil. Need to add shadows and highlights… pull out the pencil. It has so many uses, that by default I spend most of my time with it. My absolute favorite is to use a white pencil on top of a black (or dark background) and sketch in highlights, especially in long hair. It’s sick how easy achieving realistic looking hair is when using the pencil.

Bamboo replacement nibs (3 pak) $8.45 (amazon)
Bamboo replacement nibs






From → Excelsior!

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