EMF Reduction Day

I spent most of the day reducing the EMF level in my home. I decided to hook up everything with Ethernet cables. This means my iPads will be consigned to storage until I can figure out whether they’re going to be of any use. Besides reducing EMF, I’m moving away from digital art. My focus will be on traditional media — pen and ink, watercolor, and markers. I’ll still have my desktop computer with Photoshop and Affinity Photo & Designer for the digital parts of my work flow. And I still have my laptop computer and scanner.

What I won’t have are the iPad Pros and their best feature: Airdrop. Airdrop is Apple’s way of passing files between devices. I naively thought that Airdrop used Bluetooth to transfer files, but it doesn’t. It uses Bluetooth and wi-fi. Since I’m a wi-fi atellier now, Airdrop is useless in my work flow. When Airdrop is useless, the iPad Pro is useless. When the iPad Pro is useless, Procreate is useless.

As I tried to cut back on the EMF in my life, I got a clear view of Apple’s strategy for creating a dependency on wireless devices and services like iTunes and iCloud. Apple strategically removed any other way for their devices to connect outside of the Apple domain. There are no Micro SD readers, no Ethernet connections, no USB-3 ports. Just for a moment I thought that the iPad Pro’s USB-C port could be used for transferring files from my existing USB-3 drives. That turned out to be wishful thinking. I got an error message that my SSD drives are not readable.

I remind myself; traditional art is where it’s at. Long live pen and ink!

2019_05_12.gif sketch, EMF Reduction, Photoshop

Re-inking the "All Aboard" Picture

I’m extending the bus to flow better on the full page. I also added two omnipresent mice. I really to want to work them into every page as background figures who also want to be part of the family. Perhaps someday they’ll have their own story.

Re-inking images,children's book, mice, stowaways

Falling Down a Sooty Chimney

This drawing was colored with Affinity Photo on the iPad, then finished in Photoshop. I have to say that Photoshop is a really marvelous program. I wonder at times why I’m trying so hard to avoid it. Perhaps what really matters is that I run Photoshop on my 27-inch iMac, where everything is easier than on the iPad. I love the big, gorgeous screen. The one really big upside of Affinity Photo is that I also have the desktop version when I need it.

In this picture Jimmy has just jumped down the chimney to rescue his foolhardy friend, Buddy Butterfly.

Looks like I’ll have to change the color of Jimmy’s pants or the chimney.

Looks like I’ll have to change the color of Jimmy’s pants or the chimney.

Changing Horses Midsteam, Against My Own Advice

A few posts ago I pondered the foolishness of changing software in the middle of a project. Climbing the learning curve of a professional quality graphic editor is really spinning your wheels when you have a deadline. But I did it anyway.

I’m now using Affinty Photo for iPad to color my images. After some initial confusion and frustration, I was able to learn enough in one day to color several images. The irony is that I opened them in Photoshop to clean them up for this blog post.

So far I’m intrigued by Affinity Photo, but I have to say, it has an amazingly incomprehensible color picker. Something that should be drop-dead simple turns out to be mind-boggling. There are actually three color pickers, and they all seem to do something different! After an hour of fumbling and googling I found a way to pick colors, but it wasn’t with the color picker tool in the left sidebar, nor was it with the color picker in the color panel — I have no clue what those two color pickers do. The color picker in the brush color panel does work the way Photoshop’s color picker works…I think.

Today is the first day of my one-week vacation, which explains why there are two pictures in this post. Affinity Photo has a lot more brushes than I wanted to deal with today, so I created a simple round brush with 50% opacity, 5% flow, with size modulated by pressure — basically a marker brush. It worked great and was not at mysterious, puzzling, or baffling.

Got a new A3 scanner and it works great


If I wanted to, I could scan two pages of an 8.5x11 book like Watson-Guptil’s Rendering in Pen and Ink book in one swoop.

After years of trying to compress 9x12 sketchbook pages into an 8.5x11 scanner, I broke my piggy bank and bought an A3 graphic arts scanner, a Plustek A320L. This scanner is quite husky and demands a good chunk of space on my desk. The only oddity I encountered in setting it up was that the drivers came on a CD and my iMac doesn’t have a CD-ROM. The software is also downloadable from the Plustek site. Problem solved.

To compare the scan quality of my new scanner to my ancient HP combo printer/scanner, I rescanned one of my old paintings that obviously had not scanned well, the painting of Jimmy and Buddy meeting for the first time in the poppy patch. The original scan’s color was way off. I was hoping my new scanner would do a better job. It did, a lot better.

For both scanners I used the basic twain scanner interface that’s built into the OSX System Settings -> Printers & Scanners.

Scanned with the new A3 Plustek A320L. Notice the subtle blues in the sky.

Scanned with HP PhotoSmart Plus B209. Notice the blues are faded and skewed toward cyan.

Book impression: “Everyday Sketching and Drawing” by Steven Reddy


I bought up this book at Barnes and Noble yesterday — even though I’ve exceeded my book budget for the month. When I opened Everyday Sketching and Drawing It was love at first sight…every drawing in pen and ink. Pen and ink is my native style, the style I’m eternally ignoring while I search for my “real style”, which mostly means trying to draw/paint/sketch like someone else. My wife keeps telling me that pen and ink is really me and I keep thinking that I should be painting digitally and traditionally like the “real” artists I see on Youtube. That’s a real problem. I must look like I’m eternally falling down rabbit holes.

Then I find this book, and it talks to me. Steven Reddy’s style is pen-and-ink with grisaille and watercolor wash. Wow! I love it. One of the treasures in the book is a sketch of R Crumb, one of my pen-and-ink idol ever since I went into a comic book store on Haight street in 196? and bought my first stunning Zap comics. My other big idol is Wally Wood in his Mad Magazine days. Black and white, pen and ink…it doesn’t get any better.

My favorite quote from the book comes when Reddy is writing about drawing his partner. It’s easy to see that she looks obviously different in every drawing:

Creating a faithful likeness would take much longer than I want to spend on any drawing. (p. 138)

I admire the sentiment, and I’m inspired by it.

There you see the thumbnail of an ink-stained dip pen wretch.