My name is Renée and I love to draw. I'm part of the SketchBook community team and I'm starting this blog series called: BETTER KNOW A BRUSH!
There's a billion different ways to customize a brush. Kyle covers it really well in this post. But what about the default tools?
The default tools are locked down in some ways, and you can only change basic attributes. Why would you want to use the airbrush? The felt pen?
BKAB will be quick simple tutorials on the default brushes in your tool palette. It's meant to help you understand each tool individually, and inspire you to think about how use them, and how to customize brushes. I'll be working in SketchBook Pro 6, but the concepts behind the tutorials will apply for other platforms as well.
First up: the pencil brush.
THE PENCIL TOOL
1) STROKE ATTRIBUTES
In order to properly simulate a pencil, the opacity is baked into the brush in a special way: If you're using a pressure sensitve device, you can get a softer stroke by drawing lightly.
This means shading with only the pencil tool alone will be a little tricky. I'm kind of a shading nut- I want everything smooth and blended. The pencil tool isn't going to let me have that! Since my goal is to create a final image only using this brush, there's two methods I might consider: cross hatching or cell shading.
3) FINAL IMAGE
So how would I go about creating a finished piece with only the pencil tool? I knew wanted to draw an image that would take advantage of what the pencil is good at- nice lines! Cel shading is cool, but hatching really captures the essence of the brush better. I immediately thought of hair and grass skirts and put them together: a Ballerina in a grass skirt!
I keep my first sketch loose, and work on refining the anatomy and pose before I get to the fine details. After I'm happy with the image overall, I start laying down color. I like to lay down big broad areas of different colors, and use a pencil brush between.01 to 1 with a very gentle hand to shade between them.
When I'm shading the hair and the skirt, the lines follow the movement and direction. This helps describe the texture of the materials. When I'm shading her skin, I'm using an arbitraily decided direction to shade. If I followed the contours of her body with my pencil lines, she might look like she was covered in fur. That could be cool, but it wasn't what I was going for.
Ta-da! Now get out there, and pencil!