I am having a love affair with Twitter. For me, it has been a wonderful experience. Better than any other of the myriad of social networking sites I have joined. Some I never developed. Some I developed but no longer visit on a regular basis. And some I signed up for a profile and after a while decided they weren’t for me and deleted the profile. All of them pretty much worked the same way, and as a person of visual output outweighing my verbal output, keeping them up to date and useful to my business wasn’t really giving me a measurable return. I like things I can quantify and measure. I get free stuff by being on Twitter. Artsy stuff I really want, but can’t justify spending $$ on because I have to buy more every day things like food, socks or school supplies.
I have been on Twitter for about a year now. I have connected with art and writer friends around the world. And I have conversations with them. Learn about things I am interested in and find out new information about things I never knew. I ‘attend’ several weekly chats, and in fact, I even co-host one called #kidlitart specifically focused on the business of art in children’s book illustration. All the chats are live streams inside of Twitter’s main stream and while anyone can ‘attend’ most people utilize a software organizer like TweetDeck or TweetChat to keep up with the flurry of tweets a chat can generate. (To see archives of previous chats go to the KidLitArt blog.) Another thing I’ve accomplished is connecting with businesses in a meaningful way. Hence the free ‘stuff.’ Did I mention this is stuff I really want?
A couple of weeks ago, a fellow artist tweeted she had intentions of buying Manga Studio EX and posted a link to the software’s web page on SmithMicro’s web site. I followed her link and became enamored with the program. A smattering of tweets between us over the next several days discussing the program followed. She went out and purchased it a few days later, while I decided I would have to put off a purchase of new software indefinitely. While the Manga Studio EX program is inexpensive as far as programs go, my priorities on where my funds are to be spent do not include new software for a while. Meanwhile, I spent delighted and drool-inducing hours watching youtube videos of other artists using Manga Studio.
Then I got an email! Someone at SmithMicro had seen my tweets and visited my web site. She viewed my portfolio and found my art unique, pleasing and appropriate for use inside of Manga Studio. Since my style of work is NOT manga but Art Nouveau, I guess it was unusual enough to warrant a ‘new’ usage for the company’s software. The email offered me a free copy of Manga Studio EX in exchange for a review. How fast do you want to bet I replied in the affirmative?
Several days later, I had the program install on my dinosaur of a MAC and was reading my way through the manual.
I had a work in progress at the pencil stage. I decided to use this pencil sketch for my trail run with MS EX. To make matters a bit more interesting, I am also finally using the stylus I have had for a while, but never utilized because the end result was never ‘organic’ enough for my tastes. So I am also learning how to use my Wacom tablet at the same time.
I am moving slowly forward with figuring out the program capabilities, but I thought I would share my progress with images from start to finish. (I am working in MS instead of doing my daily doodles. After all I only have the same 24 hours a day as everyone else. something has to be put aside.)
The pen tools in MS EX are GREAT. I have total control over thickness and I am sure once I get used to the stylus I will have enough control over placement to forgo paper pencil sketches as well if I like.
My Twitter friend says she’ll still use Photoshop to lay in color. I’ll have to finish with the inking before I start coloring. Since I use watercolor for color because I like the bloom and mystery of it, this will also be an experiment to see if color is more ‘organic’ in MS EX.
More to come.