So I am currently torn between the way I want to work and the way my work turns out , I usually work by inking a drawing and coloring in photoshop but sometimes I find it easier to skip the inking and just going straight to photoshop. I feel like this duality in my work is causing my work to look inconsistent. Do you have an advice on choosing a method in which to work?
I can’t really say either way without seeing your work. In the long term, I think you should actually continue to do both, because they both have advantages. Illustration has always been quick to take advantage of technological advances.
It used to be (oh man, I feel old) that the digitizers on tablets (read: Wacoms) weren’t so great and Photoshop couldn’t handle interpolating data for a mark when zoomed out. I distinctly remember using a 1 px round brush, zoomed in to 100%, to draw this image like 6 years ago:
Gross. Nowadays though, the gap is closed considerably in terms of having drawing “feel” the same. Photoshop CS5 and up have an improved brush engine, there are alternatives strictly for “inking” like Manga Studio, and there’s a host of naturalistic brush sets like Kyle Webster's or Ray Frenden’s— not to mention making your own.
That’s to say that it’s easier now to have your digital tools echo your analog ones. Some other things you can do are lay a piece of paper over your tablet, change to a harder nib on the stylus, or use a soft cotton glove with the fingers cut out so your hand doesn’t catch when you “cut” lines.
Doing sketches (not thumbs) and being able to erase and move things around definitely makes digital faster in some regards. Good to know when you have to chase those short deadlines.
However, the most advanced digital brush engine or most expensive tablet in the world can’t replace the physicality, sensitivity, and serendipity of pushing a medium around. Check out this drawing by Greg Ruth:
I think the biggest drawback with drawing digitally is that more often than not, you have to program and set up your tools to have a certain sensitivity or effect. You even have to input information for randomness. In terms of “feeling” it sometimes feels like drawing with one of those plastic kid’s baseball bats. You also don’t have an original to sell or show if you need to.
However, I think that the inconsistency that you’re perceiving is actually less about hardware and more about “software,” ie. how you draw. For example, take this video of freakin’ Moebius drawing on a cintiq in 2009. He was 70 years old at the time. And despite having never used a tablet before in his life, his drawing looks, well, just like a Moebius drawing should. I think there comes a point after drawing so much that your process becomes just a natural extension of yourself— regardless of medium.
Drawing is about sensitivity. I think it’s easier to cultivate a confident and free hand with analog materials, and then translating that to digital, rather than vice versa. I say that after observing students, as well as in my own experience.
In the end, it’s up to your own sensibilities however, and how that synchs up with your “voice.”
One last caveat, and I’m hesitant to put this out there: I’d be willing to bet that your analog drawings will still feel “fresh” 10, 20, even 50 years from now. That digital drawing that I posted at the top feels so, SO dated to me, and that was just 6 years ago.