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About my Drawings - by Jacque Davis

        I started using a Wacom Graphire pen and tablet with Painter 6 in 2000. By March of that year I wanted to expand from just manipulating photos, to really drawing. I was leery of drawing with the tablet, uncertain that I could draw effectively and be satisfied with what came out on the screen.
        I decided to start at the beginning, so I took out Mark Kistler's energy packed, kids' drawing book, Draw Squad   and started with the first lesson, drawing a simple table. I added a ball (that was from lesson 3, I think) and I put a dog dish on the table. The picture seemed to need something so I threw in a floating eye in the right upper quadrant. The eye isn't all that significant, nor symbolic, but handy, I needed something there and a floating eye seems as good an anything. Actually better, I had read a Discover Magazine article about how artists through out history have used eyes, or eye like images to draw our attention to a picture. Since we are predatory animals, we naturally pay attention to eyes, eyes that are watching us, and that we are watching. At any rate, an eye was put in the table picture. I liked it.  I printed, matted, framed it, and hung it on my wall and starting drawing more.
        The next two things that helped me have fun with my digital drawing were discovering two fabulous web sites. The first one was Jelene Morris's http://www.jelene.com/. Jelene is a painter who does energetic, fun colorful quirky work, and you can find her work on ebay.  Viewing the pictures on her site got me to a really important point. If Jelene can draw hands that look pretty much like a wide toothed comb at the end of an arm, so can I. Or in other words, maybe I didn't need to worry so much about how my characters looked and just have fun with them. Jelene's work, which I love, was a guiding direction  for me to just move forward, draw and stop worrying so much. 
        Next I happened upon Charles Kaufman's web site at http://www.charleskaufman.com/indexEnglish.html  I found it when I did a google searched for "cubist art".   At the time, he had posted a wonderful picture titled "cubists' trees".  Charles Kaufman's site was like finding the Holy Grail for me. He is a cartoonist that paints! I love his work. I'm neither a cartoonist nor a painter, but I can dream. He has an amazing web site. Mostly I study his work because he understands how to make lines and objects funny. He has paintings of toasters, pencils, wine bottles that are full of movement, energy and humor. He knows how to make an object funny, and therefore how to give it energy. And that's my goal in a nutshell, humor and energy.
        Those are the two everyday artists that have influenced me greatly, but that's not to say that I haven't been to the library a gamillion times to borrow art books.  I would have to say that Henri Matisse is my hands down favorite artist, I'm a fauvist at heart. Matisse was so brilliant with color. Other artists that I love and study are, Marc Chagall, Aubrey Beardsley, Edward Gorey, Wassily Kandinsky, Roy Lichtenstein and of course vanGogh. VanGogh not just for his brilliant body of work, but also because he was never sold during his lifetime. Whoa, think about that!
For the past 5 years I have been drawing in Painter.  Either 6 or 8.  I used the Painter 6 WOW book to learn some things and The Getting Started with Painter 8 CD program by Lynda Weinman to learn more.  It's a CD well worth getting..  I have a web site, http://webpages.charter.net/jlddavis/ that shows some of what I've been drawing over the past few years. And yes, I have sold some of my prints at stores and coffee shops around St. Louis, where I live. But as they say, I'm not giving up my day job. My digital art is a great joy to me, I'm not at a point of making a living doing it, but it helps when I sell enough to defray the expenses of  ink and paper.
How I draw
To do the drawings, I usually start with a canvas 850 by 1100 pixels and at 250 resolution. I start out by creating about 5 layers and start drawing on  layer 4 or 5. As my picture progresses I create more layers as I need them. I usually end up with between 18 - 35 layers.  I seldom know what I'm going to draw when I start. For me, with digital drawing, the doodles and/or rough sketches become the finished drawings because I correct, change, alter as I go. That makes drawing digitally very fluid, because I just keep trying different ideas on different layers and turning off any layers that don't work. 

My Recommendations
I draw with an inexpensive Wacom Graphire 3 tablet, Size 4x5. It comes bundled with software called Corel Painter Essentials 2 Program. The Painter Essentials 2 software is sort of a vamped down version of  the Painter 8 that I use. Although Painter Essentials 2 does not have the option of creating layers - it does have many of the same brushes and pens that come with Painter 8. The small Graphire tablet bundled with the Painter Essentials 2 software sells for about $100, but sometimes Comp USA runs a $20 rebate which means it can be purchased for as little as $80. I think it would be a wonderful way for anyone to start digital drawing.
Painter 8 ( or version 9 is out now) or Painter Essentials 2  are pixel drawing programs, not vector programs such as Corel Draw or Xara or Adobe Illustrator. I have used both kind of programs and still jump to Xara frequently. But to approach the feel, look and large range of media brushes and pens, Painter feels much more like drawing than any of the vector programs. I find using Painter feels very much like actually drawing.

I hope that reading this page will help anyone interested in digital drawing realize that they can get started easily and for about $100. I'm always glad to answer any questions please feel free to email me at jlddavis@charter.net.

Sincerely and Very Best Regards,
A Doodle Drawing
Sometimes I draw a more realistic look.
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Digital Felt Pens
Digital Watercolors
My drawings influenced by different artists