Digital sketching with Mischief and Wacom Cintiq

For the digital sketcher there really is no finer tool than Mischief, in my opinion. It’s inexpensive, lightweight and packed with the drawing power to produce quality visuals that scale beautifully due to its use of vector rendering.


I’ve written about the merits of cartooning with Mischief before.

My early morning ‘warm up exercises’ generally involve writing or drawing based on first thoughts as I wake. Coffee fuelled scribbling is a favourite dawn activity of mine and I frequently turn to Mischief.

It’s fast, reliable and completely flexible for the artist that just wants to ‘dive in’ and draw.

Today I drew Llamas. Not randomly I hasten to add but as part of a client’s project for a children’s picture book. It’s a fun story and the Llama that stars is a pretty funny if decidedly laid back character.

2016101032-spitting 2016101044-lottie2

For these sketches I drew from a simple reference photo that I’d found on the internet.

On Mac you can hit Cmd+W and Mischief drops into a semi-transparent mode. You can still draw but it shows the window beneath such that you can use it for reference – or trace if you’re so inclined. A neat feature and something I’ve used a great deal.


Semi transparent mode in Mischief

On iMac ( I can’t comment for Windows) there’s little difference to firing up Mischief and drawing in under 3 seconds than opening up a sketchbook and finding a blank page.


Sketched character study using Corel Painter X3

One of the joys of being a character artist is the simple art of observation. I can find inspiration everywhere. I usually sit in a cafe observing with a sketchbook and pen when I get some time or the weather’s nice and I’m in need of a break.

I loosely sketched this chap as he drank water and read a book. A wonderful subject because he sat still :)

I was sat 90 degrees to him so the sketch was the one on the left. The other two poses I improvised.

These were created using Corel Painter and a liquid ink pen. Shading and colouring was applied with the Pointed Simple Water brush from the Digital Watercolor collection.

characterstudy2characterstudy1 characterstudy3

Doodling a random character in Corel Painter X3 on iMac

As you may have noticed I love to doodle. I love to doodle with no clear idea in my mind as to what I’m going to create.

I created this video earlier to try and capture the process. In it I explain a little about my setup with Corel Painter as well as my prefered pens / brushes etc.

VIDEO – Sketching Santa and a surprise gift

I love to take a gamble every once in a while and hit record as I’m about to start sketching. For this sketch I knew that I wanted to draw Santa but beyond that I had no clue. It was really only as I constructed his face / eyes etc that I realised I wanted to have him present an excited child with a ‘mystery’ gift.

This sketch was recorded using Quicktime on iMac. I used Mischief and a Wacom Cintiq 22HD Touch to create the image. I hope you like it :)

Exploring cartoon ideas digitally

I love to sketch and I love to sketch both traditionally and digitally. I’ve got sketchbooks full of doodles and ideas.
In the main I sketch characters and more often than not use a simple black ink pen. I don’t use felt tipped pens, rather I look to a simple biro or perhaps a gel pen. I really like how it feels on the paper. Especially the biro. You seem to get a lot of texture built up in the artwork.

Digitally I have a number of applications that I can use.

What I love about sketching is working upward from the seed of an idea.
In the video below you can see that I was looking at presenting two characters, side by side.
This is an early morning sketch. I call them warm up sketches and are generally drawn whilst I sip that first cup of coffee.
I’d had an idea for a very simple character holding something. Right when I made the first mark on the screen I didn’t actually know what the character was going to be holding. I certainly had no idea what his mood might be.

I thought this may be interesting so I hit the record button on QuickTime.
I hope you find the process interesting to watch. You can see that although it was a pretty short sketch (actually around 6 minutes in real time) I managed to explore a few expressions. Lots of fun.

Abstract and form

Sketching has really grabbed me just lately. I don’t have a theme or an idea in mind when I begin. I just want to see what marks I can put down and work around them. I have a real love for human form, especially in the facial expressions, so I always try and work as much of that in as possible.

This work was created, once again, with Mischief.

Abstract sketch