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From a Designer’s Perspective: Using Technology for Illustration

Today’s blog is a little different and a little more dynamic as we’re tapping into the creative mind of one of our Art Directors and letting her tell the story of how she uses technology for projects that require illustration.

From time to time–and even more frequently these days–we get requests from clients that require more custom graphics. Lucky for us, we have a fantastic illustrator on staff, Shannon, who can pretty much draw anything you can think up. Shannon creates her magic through Procreate, which is basically a painting app for the iPad that allows you to create sketches, paintings, and illustrations, then easily upload them to your computer.

Without further ado, here’s Shannon to tell us a little more and show some examples of what she can create with this tool.

Give us a quick rundown of Procreate.

The Procreate app pairs perfectly with the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil for a simple and easy-to-use digital illustration experience. It’s a great app for digital painting and sketching. The app interface is intuitive and the features are extensive. Simply put, it improves my workflow! Traditionally I always started illustrations the old fashion way, with paper and pencil. The Procreate app has allowed me to completely change this approach, go straight to digital, and bypass the traditional paper and pencil. The tablet now has become my paper, the Apple Pencil is now my drawing tool, and the Procreate app allows my digital illustrations to come to life.

What are some ways you use this tool on a daily basis?

I love using it to create easy icons. An icon is such a simple element that can add something special to a project and help convey a message without words. Being able to use the app along with the tablet and pencil to quickly and effectively create very specific icons for the message at hand has been useful for a lot of the projects I have worked on. I’ve also used it for mockup sketches for concepting stages and brainstorming tasks, hand-drawn elements for an illustration style for Coke college jobs, icons for Southwest jobs, and brush paint elements for a hand painted style for Minute Maid point of sale pieces.

As an illustration artist, what ways has this improved your workflow?

It’s easier and more accessible for me to doodle which is perfect for drawing. There are TONS of brushes so it helps expand the style of illustration possibilities. You do not need watercolor paint and watercolor paper, or charcoal pencils, or spray paint, or different size lead pencils… it’s all available there digitally in the app. You can literally achieve any style through the brush feature. The possibilities are so broad.

I love the balance of the free-form hand-drawn illustration style paired with the clean linear style of vector design and photography. With the layers and massive brush features, you can easily add hand-drawn elements to any design piece. It’s also great to be able to export illustrations directly as a PSD file into a photoshop document.


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