Wacom eStore - official Onlinestore Wacom InfoChannel http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel 2018-06-25T19:10:40Z Let´s Talk Art | The Road to Success: Mikiko’s take on internet fame, focus a... http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/lets-talk-art-from-the-first-manga-to-internet-renown-mikiko-s-guide-to-fame-focus-and-fans/1148?c=2213303 Welcome to the next episode of Let’s Talk Art. Mikiko chats about what it means to be a comic artist, from artwork creation to engaging with her fanbase. Her down-to-earth style and relatable comics made her a perfect fit for the Let’s Talk Art series.

The Road to Success: Mikiko’s take on internet fame, focus and fans

Welcome to the next episode of Let’s Talk Art.

I’m Jack, founder of PosterSpy, and this time I’m chatting to illustrator and comic artist Mikiko known for her quirky comics and manga art, including her hit book “Mini Comics". I actually met Mikiko at MCM London Comic Con, where she stopped by the Wacom booth to do some live drawing.

Mikiko chats about what it means to be a comic artist, from artwork creation to engaging with her fanbase. Her down-to-earth style and relatable comics made her a perfect fit for the Let’s Talk Art series.

Hope you enjoy this interview. 

So, Let’s Talk Art!










Welcome to the Wacom Let’s  Talk  Art  series, Mikiko. Firstly, your online pseudonym ‘Zombiesmile’. Is there a story behind your online alias?

Hi! Thanks for having me.

Well ‘Zombiesmile’ is not exactly my online pseudonym anymore, but about 13 years ago I signed up on Deviantart when my favourite comic was called Zombie Powder. One thing I especially liked was the use of a deteriorated smiley face as a logo of sorts, and so I ended up with ‘Zombiesmile’.

Over the years I used it a few times on various social media, but eventually as my art became more professional, I started using my own name instead. By now websites offered name changes and my fan base grew considerably, so silly teenager usernames had to go!

Deviantart unfortunately did not have ‘Mikiko’ free anymore (it’s taken up by a dead account), so despite it one of my most viewed profiles with nearly 4 million clicks, I’m stuck with this name for now.

You create many different artwork types, like comic, concept art,  storyboards, character design, and more.  Is there any particular one that you like the most and is there a type you would like to focus on more?

Yes, comics/manga are by far my favourite.

Comic page from Crash'n'Burn web comic by Mikiko

It’s simply what I started with and where my passion lies! There are many many fields I’d still like to explore, like animation for example, and I tend to go into experimental phases for months at a time, but whenever I come back to comics I realise this is what makes me truly happy.

A close second is probably illustration and character design. I think the area I feel most lacking and would like to explore more is environments and backgrounds. I truly admire artists who can create a sense of vastness and scale in their artwork!

You work both traditionally and digitally and have a great guide to your tool list on deviantart. What’s your favourite thing about traditional and digital mediums, respectively?   

Personally I find traditional art to be much more relaxing to use, meditative even. I really enjoy just switching my brain off when I ink an original piece or colour a gift for someone.

Traditional piece of art by Mikiko

Nowadays it’s very rare for me to use traditional media simply because my job demands things to be edited a lot during the process and speed is crucial. Another problem with traditional media I find, is scanning the work afterwards. It always seems off, the colours not right, etc. Something that bothers me greatly as a bit of a perfectionist.

Digital media on the other hand has this strange thing where a lot of things are at danger of looking  ‘too polished’ and unnatural. 

The famous ‘happy accidents’ Bob Ross talked about don’t really occur. So making things look organic and alive is much harder in my opinion. On the other hand though, editing and effects are much easier to do with little to no consequences thanks to the Undo command or image history being available all the time.

Both methods have their pros and cons, but for me, digital work has simply been more practical and useful for what I do! Even as a child, I knew that digital was the future, and I got my first  graphics tablet at age 15.

Silver Seekers: Flint by Mikiko

As an artist you attend many conventions, selling work and your comics.  How important is this to your career and do you feel that attending conventions is something every artist should be encouraged to do?

I suppose it depends on the person.

Personally I find conventions quite stressful, so I try to limit them to a maximum of 5 a year if possible. The time I spend isolated is very important to create new work, and to have new and fresh products to sell each time I go somewhere. Nonetheless, I do believe it’s very important to meet fans face-to-face.

These are the people who make my life possible by buying my work, sharing their love, giving feedback, and even reporting stolen art online for me. There’s a very special relationship going on, so signing things, shaking hands, taking pictures is the least I can do!

Seeing the joy and enthusiasm also charges me with fresh energy to sit down and create some more. 

Mikiko with fans at a Comic convention

Has there ever been a time that you lost your passion for art? If so, how did you come back from that?

Yes, I’m quite certain that there is no creator who hasn’t hit a block on the road at some point and lost motivation.

For me, being able to make a living was a slow slog. After school, I immediately went into publishing my comics through indie publishers and going to conventions as well as selling my work online. Comic art is notoriously underpaid. So for many years I lived under the poverty line as I refused to give up my dream.

One day I definitely felt it was a futile effort and set myself a deadline: if by the end of the month, nothing had changed, I would give up comics and look for a ‘real job’. The following week, Tokyopop Germany offered to work on a project, Crash ‘n’ Burn with me. It sold out within a month after release and won the 2016 Max und Moritz comic award in 2016. In the end, I was just really lucky.

Cover page of Crash'n'Burn webcomic by Mikiko

Once I had steady work I only suffered from the occasional creative low, but thankfully have the luxury of resting my mind to recharge nowadays.

I’m sure throughout the years, you’ve had some very interesting, odd or even frightening propositions regarding your art. Has there been one particular request that has stuck with you throughout the years? 

Interesting and odd? Definitely! Frightening maybe not so much, but I must admit I’m very hard to shock.

Early on in my career I would take on a lot of fan commissions, and many people requested a lot of strange fetish art. But as I’m proudly shameless and find challenges interesting and important, I never declined any work if I was getting paid appropriately.

In the end, these drawings contributed greatly to my repertoire and knowledge of anatomy. Win-win.

One of Mikiko´s favourite demoness, Ko by Mikiko.

Artists are always critical of themselves, always trying to improve and explore new techniques. Is there anything you’re trying to improve right now? If so, what and why?

Currently my main focus for improvement in comics is backgrounds. All throughout my career as a comic artist, the biggest critique I got was that my backgrounds were sparse and lacking.

Personally I find landscapes quite boring to draw, so now I make an effort into researching thoroughly for every background, as well as brushing up on my composition to make it more interesting.

Another one is colouring, but this applies more to my illustrations overall. I find colours very challenging, so it’s hard to say which part to explore further… In digital painting I feel like I haven’t quite found a comfortable spot yet, so I suppose right now, every painting is a challenge and learning experience.

What programs would you recommend for people looking to get into comics and drawing digitally? 

PainttoolSai, hands down. It’s just the right mix of carefree drawing and enough editing tools to do a decent job without overwhelming new artists. The main reason is that the brushes feel very natural, and it’s very cheap! A lot of my young students already have a copy, before even coming to me, so it’s also popular and easy to find tutorials and tips online.

´Silent Scout´ by Mikiko

Your comic art career spans over a decade. You’ve published your own graphic novels as well as having worked for studios during this time. Through these years, what is the one motivator that has kept you interested in comic art?

When I was a child, I didn’t have friends, I was awkward, lonely and an introvert. So drawing became my tool to dream and communicate.

When I was 12, I read a manga that changed my life. The expressions of the characters impressed me greatly, it was as if the art captured what I felt on the inside. Immediately I knew, I wanted to be a comic artist when I grew up.

To this day, I find it easier to express in comics than in any other medium. There’s a magic in hearing from readers the exact emotions you managed to trigger in them by ‘simply’ arranging panels and drawing characters. To me, this human connection is what truly makes me happy.

What’s your current set up like? Do you draw in an office space or are you a ´draw on the sofa´ kind of artist?

Oof! I admire sofa artists! But no, I simply could never feel comfortable enough to do that. I need a fixed workstation and all tools close by. And drawing in public is something I only do at conventions, since I need to be able to shut everything out to concentrate on my work.

Currently I have a self-built PC, a Wacom Cintiq 27QHD touch, and a second monitor. My preferred software is Paint tool Sai and Photoshop.

There are drawers by my desk that have all my traditional media stashed away, and my Cintiq is on an ergo-arm so I can make space to draw traditionally on my desk too. It’s all about efficiency of space!

Mikiko working in her studio on the Wacom Cintiq 27QHD

Although your work spans many different genres and styles, your art focuses mostly on the manga style. What manga inspires you and what are your favourite art pieces?

The first manga that pretty much made me who I am today was Yu yu Hakusho, by Yoshihiro Togashi. After that I went into a complete manga-craze. It was also one of my few means of having a cultural connection to Japan as I moved all over the world. 

Artists that influenced me most in this field were also Tite Kubo for his use of negative space and pacing, Shirow Miwa for his design work and inks, Kentaro Miura for contrasts and depth, and Yuusuke Murata for colouring, dynamic poses and perspective. There are many more, but these are the most notable to be able to pick up on whilst looking through my own work.

For artists looking for a career in comics, what is your biggest piece of advice?

This is a tough one… I would say...

1) don’t sell your rights off to anyone.

2) Research a lot.

3) Stop comparing yourself to others, everyone is different! 

4) Learn to say ‘no’.
It took me many years to learn this in particular. Be it complicated clients, low pay, or simply too much work, sometimes it’s not worth it. Saying no is okay, be kind to yourself, take a break every now and then to recover.

Self portrait by Mikiko

Are there any things you’ve particularly struggled with as an artist and managed to overcome, whether this is to do with your art, jobs or individuals?

Unfortunately, legal issues have been part of my struggles in the past. This is why I emphasize how important basic knowledge about contracts and legal matters are. Too many young artists are willing to give up far too many rights just to get published. Today I’m very strict about licensing and use of my work because I’ve made many mistakes.

Pacing myself is another one. Burnouts used to be a regular thing for me, until I set myself set working hours, just like anyone else who works in an office environment. (Most freelancers know what this is like, I’m sure!) There was an initial panic and a nagging feeling I was being ‘lazy’, but in the end it’s improved my health and emotional well being immensely.

Mini comic ´Bad Day´ by Mikiko

Your latest book ´Miki’s  Mini  Comics´ focuses on short comic strips. What inspired you to create this book?

My mini comics started out with the first strip being a simple birthday gift to my boyfriend at the time. It was a joke about how I, as an artist, struggled to come up with gift ideas.

When I shared it online, this strip quickly jumped all the way to my top most liked post of all time. So, I started posting more simple things from my daily life: cats, coffee, art, games, silly things. 

All strips are based on true events, and I was completely amazed at how much people loved them and shared their own silly little life stories with me. Today, it’s what most of the internet knows me for. 

Early 2017 I launched a Kickstarter to finance the print of a first volume, and it was a huge success! Currently I’m collecting more strips for the next volume, which I hope to have ready in a year, maybe two.

Mini comic ´A Prickly Problem´ by Mikiko

Being a popular online artist can have its drawbacks, including very demanding fans. What’s your best practice for handling a high volume of fans without shying away from your community?

It’s all about efficiency!

It might sounds strange at first, but every social media profile I have links back to my website mikiko.art, where anyone can find whatever information they might need. FAQ, galleries, portfolio, social media links. Of course, despite all that, I still get a high volume of messages and e-mails, so I simply brace myself for when I post something new. (always comes in waves, right after I upload something).

Cat Emi guarding Mikiko´s Wacom Cintiq and digital art

Usually my mornings are spent filtering messages by importance, and then I do my best to answer those that can’t be tackled by sending the people to my FAQ section. My rule is to always be nice and polite, no matter what. It may be the 36th time I’m answering this particular question that, but for the person contacting me it may be a huge deal to simply receive a reply.

Besides your comics, what else do you like to do in your spare time and do any of your hobbies tend to inspire your art?

Usually I spend my evenings gaming. I am an avid PC gamer and also am a huge D&D nerd.

Any free time I have will generally be used by getting together with friends and play something together. If it’s not online, we generally play board games. 

Aside from that, I picked up playing bass guitar when I was writing one of my manga, Crash ’n’ Burn which focuses around a rock band. I wouldn’t say I’m any good, but I still enjoy playing it occasionally.

Demon Girl Designs by Mikiko

When working on a comic, what kind of stories are you most interested in telling and why?

A lot of the times for me it’s about breaking some rules, mixing things up and giving classic ideas a new spin.

My personal favourite genre has always been fantasy, but the most important part of a story has always been the authenticity of the characters. Often they are very much inspired by real people who have intrigued me, sometimes it’s an image I saw or a song I heard.

At the end of the day, I always write stories I would personally want to read. Even an illustration can convey a lot, so I try to add hints and details that say something about the character depicted. Poses, expression, choice of clothes or lighting, all those things can tell a story. Art is a lot about dreaming and exploring to me.

Mikiko´s My D&D group, The Silver Seekers by Mikiko

Finally, is there anything you really want to accomplish in your artistic career? Whether it be simply improving a technique or even releasing another graphic novel etc.

There’s so many stories I want to write and release, but my ultimate dream would be either a video game, an animated series or a live action movie with my characters or stories.

All these sound pretty crazy at this point, but never say ‘never’, right? Until then, I’ll just keep drawing!


Thank you for reading!

We hope you enjoyed this this episode of Let’s Talk Art with Mikiko and found her insight into the comic industry as well as her experiences as interesting as I did.

See you next time!

Follow Wacom to not miss the next #LetsTalkArt episode:
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Follow Mikiko

Instagram - Deviantart - TwitterFacebook - Website

If you like Mikiko’s comics, check out her 'mini comics' book, available here.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 15:02:49 +100
How to paint a portrait with vibrant colours with Maria Poliakova http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/detail/index/sArticle/1141/sCategory/2213303 In this tutorial, Maria gives a step by step process of creating a colourful portrait. She´s excited to share with you some tips, explanations and technical details, so you too can learn to draw a portrait with vibrant colours, make colour adjustments and organize your workspa...

How to paint a portrait with vibrant colours

We understand it can be difficult working with colors and lighting, so here are some insights from the talented and lovely Maria Poliakova. Maria is an artist from Kiev who sometimes goes a little crazy with the colors, to great effect. 

In this tutorial, Maria gives a step by step process of creating a colourful portrait using her Wacom Cintiq Pro 13. She´s excited to share with you some tips, explanations and technical details, so you too can learn to draw a portrait with vibrant colours, make colour adjustments and organize your workspace.

You can read each step below or watch her process in the quite extended video.


Take it away Maria!

Step 1: How to get inspiration

I believe that inspiration is not something you need to catch or wait for. This is something that you can do yourself. For example, I have a folder called References with many subfolders inside: faces, ‘sculptures’, ‘traditional art’, ‘nature’, ‘animals’, ‘bugs’, ‘light’, ‘colour’, ‘cloth’, ‘flowers’ etc. I've been collecting them for years and continue to do so.

To organize my references I usually use PureRefAnd keeping in mind the theme of the future illustration, I quickly look through some folders. I look at various beautiful sculptures, multi-coloured beetles and butterflies. I browse through the works of old masters, some beautiful photos, and then I feel how inspiration appears.

Now I see my future illustration more clearly and move on to the next stage.

Step 2: Rough sketching

While doing first sketches, I try not to get stuck in details, and I only do light flow lines and values. Everything I need now is to create simple basic forms and keep the silhouette clear and readable.

Step 3: Defining the sketch

Now, after I’ve chosen the sketch I like best, I reduce the opacity of this layer, then I create a new layer atop and draw a clear sketch with more details and refine it.

Usually I use extension Lazy Nezumi on this stage. It helps me to do my lines smoother.

Step 4: Colour sketch

The most fun part of sketching. You can open your reference folder ‘bugs’ or ‘insects’ or ‘butterflies’ and see their beautiful combination of colours. So, I take big soft brush, pick a vibrant color and start to combine colors.

Also, on this stage I often use ‘Hard Light’ blending mode.

Step 5: Prepare your workspace

Now I can start to add details, but before that I always prepare my workspace in Photoshop.

I open multiple views of my work: Go to Window-Arrange-New window for…(name of your file). Then do it one more time. To set up one of the window in B&W go to View - Proof Setup – Custom – Device to Simulate - sGrey. Now I have three windows with my picture. I place them as shown on the image. This allows me to see my work constantly from the distance and check my values and see my mistakes easily.

Step 6: Brushes

At the beginning I usually use the combination of two brushes: soft for big values and texture for details.

All my favourite brushes are from these packs: Speedpaint Brush Panel by Jonas de Ro and Kylo Watercolor Brushes.

Step 7: Using references

Proper use of references is a very important thing for an artist. They should be used as a guide in anatomy and lightning. In this work I was inspired by some face references, and also I took a photo of my hand.

Step 8: Color adjustments

For making vivid, bright colors I often use this blending modes: Overlay, Soft Light and Hard Light.

For correcting colours go to: Image - Adjustments - Selective color. Also, don’t forget about shadows, they shouldn’t be only of dark grayish colour. Pick deep and saturated colors from your color wheel.

Step 9: How to draw a face

Face is different to paint, but once I started thinking about the face as a geometric object, everything became easier. For better understanding I started with a plane head and an Ecorche head.

After I learned muscles and big shapes, it became clearer how to draw a face. Now, except for the large folder with references, I also have a mirror and a lamp on my desk, so I can check how light works on my face at any time.

Step 10: Have fun

Usually I analyze everything I paint, trying to not to do any extra work. But I also try to relax, enjoy the flowing lines, colours and see the beauty of everything I do.

Sometimes, when I'm stuck on something, I experiment with blending modes or with Color Lookup, or with Selective colours etc. I move sliders in different ways and it helps me to refresh my vision and see which places in my illustration are too dark or too gray.

Step 11: Final touches

Now, it’s time to make final touches.

I merge all layers and make a layer with Soft Light, and I do strokes with a soft brush. Sometimes they are dark strokes, sometimes colorful, or I might highlight something from time to time. I do all this to make the picture look whole. I need the viewer to look at the main object, main story and all my strokes should work to achieve that.

Also I have a small tip: if you want to see how your illustration works – send it to your phone. For some reason I immediately see all the problematic places on a smaller display. And at the end I usually add Filter-Noise-Add noise-Amount 2.5


We hope you enjoyed the read and learned something :)


Follow Maria on social media:

ArtstationBehance - DeviantArtInstagram - Youtube - Facebook - Tumblr - Linkedin

Wed, 13 Jun 2018 17:02:04 +100
Win an original copy of the book "Portrait Drawing" by Miss Led http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/detail/index/sArticle/1147/sCategory/2213303 Wacom and Joanna Henly a.k.a. Miss Led joined forces to give away two of her 'Quick guide to Mastering Technique and Style' books with her best tips and examples on how to improve your drawing skills.

Win an original copy of the book: "Portrait Drawing" by Miss Led

Wacom and Joanna Henly a.k.a. Miss Led joined forces to give away two of her 'Quick guide to Mastering Technique and Style' books with her best tips and examples on how to improve your drawing skills.

Want to be the lucky winner?

Find out how at the end of this article.

Why you need this book

It is simply one of the best quick guides that we have seen. Straight to the point and with complete examples from bone structure to details such as skin tone and hair.

POCKET ART: PORTRAIT DRAWING presents a lively, graphic approach to explaining concepts which will have you learning quickly with step by step illustrations and expert tips straight from London-based artist Miss Led.

Miss Led begins by guiding you through your initial set up, then moves on to 'Understanding the Face'. She takes you through every detail of capturing facial features and expressions and mastering the texture of hair and skin. Her exercises demonstrate and reinforce everything you learn as you go along. 

About Miss Led

She is well known by her professional name, Miss Led and is an illustrator, artist, and art director based in East London who exhibits her work across the globe.

Miss Led is a strong promoter of professional practice within her art and illustration, including as a Global Ambassador for Liquitex paints and European Ambassador for Wacom.

She is also a passionate educator, using social media and podcasts to her teach her online audience, which reaches 1.3 million people.

For a chance to win

1) Simply send an email to contest@wacom.com
2) Let us know why you need this book

Winners will be chosen and contacted by email.

Deadline is: end of July.

Of course, an avid Wacom user

Follow Miss Led on social media

WEBBehance Instagram - Facebook - Twitter

Wed, 13 Jun 2018 17:02:04 +100
Announcement | The Creators behind the Let’s Talk Art logo http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/announcement-the-creators-behind-the-lets-talk-art-logo/1140?c=2213303 Our Let’s Talk Art series has been going on for just over a year now, and with the growing interest & support from so many talented artists we decided to create a short video series. Hosted by PosterSpy founder Jack Woodhams, the Let’s Talk Art video series started by looking ...

The Creators behind the Let’s Talk Art logo

Our Let’s Talk Art series has been going on for just over a year now, and with the growing interest & support from so many talented artists we decided to create a short video series. Hosted by PosterSpy founder Jack Woodhams, the Let’s Talk Art video series started by looking at four unique and equally brilliant artists.

No video is complete without engaging content. In order to create the “look” of the series, we reached out to motion designer Ploy Jeana Boal to create our Let’s Talk Art logo and animations seen in the videos. We love what she came up with, a combination of fun, creative and organic animations to set the vibe for the video to come.

Finally, the series has a new logo and we’re delighted to showcase it.


Intro and Animation - Ploy Jeana Boal

How did you develop the logo?

Research is the absolute key to any of my designs. I find it so hard to even start to develop basic concepts without research.

I wish I was one of those amazing artists that has concepts oozing out of every orifice, but lo, I am a mere collector.

The client specified a modern look that feels “alive”. I collected a tonne of research of routes I’d like to explore and started to work on forming a bespoke font  and design style that fit the brief and that I was happy with.

As a motion designer, how do you typically work on a project, describe the process?

It’s all about staying up to date with current trends, constantly pushing yourself to create something new, different and challenging with every project.

I always start with research, It’s my favourite part of the design process because you have every option available to you. From there, I narrow my research down into a few different routes/looks and develop a couple of my favourite. I then work on a storyboard. 

It can be a very simple one just as long as the basics are mapped out. After that, I begin designing the support elements such as logos, textures, shapes, paths, etc, and then jump into the programmes needed to make the animation. It’s a lot of experimenting and test rendering to see how the animation and style is developing before you finally have something you’re happy with. Finally, I send it off to the client and hope they don’t hate it!

What software did you use to create the animation?

I used Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and cookies for this animation. Cookies fuel my creativity…… at least, that’s what I tell myself.

Work in progess using After Effects

Where can other people see your work?

I’m currently working on my website so for now, I just have my showreel which you can watch it here.

Sound Design and music - Aurélien Rubod

Motion graphics are not complete without great music. Music is often overlooked but it can really help pull together a project, especially when being used for transitions. We wanted the music to be evocative and to give a sense of the creative content that would be displayed in the video. Something up beat yet professional.

For the music, we approached Aurelien Rubod, who is the brother of Alexia, the artist featured in our first interview. Aurelien is based in Los Angeles and works as a composer day to day, we also asked him a few questions about the music he created for Ploy’s animations. 

How did you begin developing the music for the intro?

This job came at an interesting timing because Alexia had just gone back to Berlin after spending 3 months with me in LA. We had lots of fun together, so I had plenty of happy moments to draw inspiration from. In particular, there were a few nights where we would go out with friends and find ourselves silly dancing to LCD Soundsystem. I tried to bring this aesthetic into this intro music, as a little tribute of sorts.

The music fits the movement in the animation, as a composer, what do you consider when creating music to fit visuals? 
Ah yes, well that’s one of the best things about being a composer! I would go as far as saying that it is a process that creates meaning. It’s like the images are transparent to the sound. They follow it.

To me, the most successful projects are the ones where music considerations arrive early in the production process. It is a vital dimension of the storytelling, and I always feel very privileged when I get to work on projects where this is  acknowledged. 

What is your typical workflow and software to use when creating music?

Ableton Live is at the core of my setup. In terms of workflow, I try to keep the first intentions as playful as possible. It is a very exciting process to get into initially. Then, once I have an idea that I like I start refining the song over and over, and that’s usually when the crippling self-doubt kicks in.

I think it’s something that creatives in all fields experience. The initial excitement of finding something new, losing yourself in the details of it, and hopefully finding your vision again. I never take it for granted, but it is a nice feeling when things work out this way.

Where can people find out more about you or listen to your music?

All my projects, including my personal work, can be found on my website.

Speaking to Let’s Talk Art producer and host Jack Woodhams, he had this to say about the development of the project:

“I reached out to these guys after I’d seen and listened to their showreels, I knew just from a snippet of their work that both would be perfect for this project. Ploy, our motion designer was given 3 key words, fun, creative and organic. From that she was able to craft our intro which I think is just right for the series. The energy, the modern style, perfect.

I then gave Aurélien, the music composer the exact key words, and what he produced merged seamlessly with Ploy’s animation. I love the playful sounds, the spontaneous beats they really help the intro fit seamlessly into the content. It was great working with these two brilliant creators and having them put their stamp on the Let’s Talk Art series, which after all, celebrates creators.” 

Aurélien Rubod in his studio

We hope you enjoyed the read.

Project Details

Let’s Talk Art animations:
Creative Direction: Jack Woodhams
Animation work and Logo design: Ploy Jeana Boal
Sound design: Aurélien Rubod

Thu, 07 Jun 2018 10:40:25 +100
James Simmonds and his colorful animations in the white snow. http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/detail/index/sArticle/1146/sCategory/2213303 James Simmonds caught our eye because of his cool flow with snowboarders and ski-goers. His edits look super fun and they would encourage anyone to take their gear into the slopes or their Wacom tablet into their desks. You decide.


James Simmonds and his colorful animations in the white snow

James Simmonds caught our eye because of his cool flow with snowboarders and ski-goers. His edits look super fun and they would encourage anyone to take their gear into the slopes or their Wacom tablet into their desks. You decide.

"My name is James Simmonds, and I'm an illustration student.



I've only recently started illustrating (2.5 years) and I'm just about to graduate with an Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design (Illustration) from the Design Centre Enmore in Sydney, Australia.

I draw inspiration from my Pacific Islander heritage, a love of the snow and mountains, the motion and momentum of movement, and finding form with light and contours.



I've used Wacom since my first Graphire 3 when I was young for playing with photo manipulation, and now an Intuos 4 for mydigital arts. 

The benefits for me have been the capability and amount of control for drawing and art, and a general increase in my workflow over a mouse.

I've only just started this journey into illustration and I'm really open minded about what the future holds for me.


Ideally I'd love to be able to sustain self employment and live closer to the mountains I love."


James Simmonds in his studio
Go follow him on Instagram here

We hope you enjoyed the read.

"My name is James Simmonds, and I'm an illustration student.

I've only recently started illustrating (2.5 years) and I'm just about to graduate with an Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design (Illustration) from the Design Centre Enmore in Sydney, Australia.

I draw inspiration from my Pacific Islander heritage, a love of the snow and mountains, the motion and momentum of movement, and finding form with light and contours.


I've used Wacom since my first Graphire 3 when I was young for playing with photo manipulation, and now an Intuos 4 for mydigital arts. 

The benefits for me have been the capability and amount of control for drawing and art, and a general increase in my workflow over a mouse.

I've only just started this journey into illustration and I'm really open minded about what the future holds for me.

Ideally I'd love to be able to sustain self employment and live closer to the mountains I love."

Thu, 07 Jun 2018 10:40:25 +100
Let’s Talk Art | 3D Artist Alexia Rubod hosted by Jack Woodhams http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/lets-talk-art-3d-artist-alexia-rubod-hosted-by-jack-woodhams/1138?c=2213303 Wacom is proud to present part 1 of our Let´s Talk Art video series hosted by Poster Spy founder Jack Woodhams. Jack visits prolific artists to explore their everyday lives as creatives working in today’s industry. First up, Berlin based 3D artist Alexia Rubod.

Wacom Presents: Let’s Talk Art with 3D Artist Alexia Rubod hosted by Jack Woodhams

Wacom is proud to present part 1 of our Let´s Talk Art video series hosted by PosterSpy founder Jack Woodhams. Jack visits prolific artists to explore their everyday lives as creatives working in today’s industry.

In this interview, Jack chats with Alexia Rubod, a 3D artist who currently resides in Berlin. She´s most notable for her beautiful Amethyst piece created for the ArtStation challenge ´Ancient Civilisations: Lost and Found´ which placed 3rd. Alexia has also worked on feature films like including hit animation Despicable Me.

Using a Wacom Intuos, Alexia creates her stunning pieces of 3D art across various programs, including Autodesk Maya and 3ds Max, Pixologic ZBrush, and Yeti by Peregrine Labs.

Enjoy our 20 minute documentary and find out more about Alexia’s work, her influences, tips for aspiring 3D artists and more.

You can jump to...
Anna short film at 11:21
The Making of Amethyst (ArtStation Challenge) at 14:45


Follow Alexia's work:

Website - Instagram

Filmed with the support of LUMIX UK cameras.

Want more Let´s Talk Art?

Click here to read our latest interview with illustrator Diana Novich.

Tue, 22 May 2018 22:47:45 +100
Let´s Talk Art | Studying Texture Light and Creating Abstract Portraits - Dia... http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/lets-talk-art-studying-texture-light-and-creating-abstract-portraits-diana-novich/1135?c=2213303 This time, Jack Woodhams chats with Diana Novich, an illustrator based in Russia. Some of you may know Diana from her very popular pop culture illustrations. We dig deeper into Diana’s process, her influences and she gives some incredibly helpful advice like how to deal with I...

Studying Texture Light and Creating Abstract Portraits

Hey everyone, my name’s Jack Woodhams (founder of PosterSpy), and welcome to another Let’s Talk Art interview!

This time, I chat to Diana Novich, an illustrator based in Russia. I have always been a fan of Diana’s work, her use of colour, composition and her very artistic and creative approach. Some of you may know Diana from her very popular pop culture illustrations. 

In this interview, Diana talks about her experiences as an artist, including working with custom brushes, dealing with imposter syndrome and sudden overnight success.

"Drawing without references is like building a house without a blueprint."
Diana Novich

So let´s talk art...

Firstly I’m a huge fan of your art, I absolutely adore your use of colour and texture. Tell us a little bit about your process. How do you typically start a piece?

Thank you so much Jack!

I start with a very vague image stuck in my mind and proceed by gathering reference material on Google/ Pinterest to help me build a strong core for my imagination to go off from.

Then, I get my notebook and write down 10 keywords that come to mind when I’m thinking about my idea. I find that breaking the subject down to small bits helps to stay focused and keeps me motivated. The rest is just craftsmanship.

Once I had the piece visualized in my head, I roughly sketch out the initial composition with pencil brush, block some colors, then merge everything and start painting. After that it’s just details, details and more details.

Diana´s painting process

Once you have an idea of the work you’d like to create, how long typical do you spend on apiece of art?

Somewhere between 4 hours to 4 months (if there’s no deadline). I’m very nitpicky about thesmallest details on a compulsive-obsessive level, I tend to polish things over and over again untilI’m at least 98% sure that I did everything as best as I’m able to. Unfortunately, it's hereditary andthere’s nothing I can do about it. Apart from doing freelance, I also have an office job, sosometimes that can get in the way as well.

Chloe and Rachel, Life is Strange illustration by Diana Novich

Many artists own many art pieces they’ll probably never share online. Do you have a lot of art that never made it online and why did you decide to keep them private?

I’m certainly not an exception. Besides private commissions and work for projects that never saw the light of day, there’s a folder stocked up with abandoned art that is taking up space on my harddrive.

There’s no particular reason for that, but if I had to really analyze it... I guess it’s mainlybecause the bulk of that art has no theme, and I mostly share artwork that has something to do with pop culture, i.e. “fan art”, because I enjoy all the different reactions and conversations it sparks in people. And I know if I post something that doesn’t fit into that category it won’t get quite the same feedback I desire, so I just don’t post it at all. Not the best mindset, I won’t argue.

You work mostly digitally, what does a digital workflow enable you to do as an artist and isthere anything you prefer to do with traditional mediums? (pencil, ink etc).

Digital media offers way more versatility and creative freedom. It allows you to draw, paint, sculpt and experiment with many different techniques while just having a tablet and a stylus (or a mouse, if you’re feeling like it). Which is practically impossible when it comes to traditional media, as you need quite many different tools and supplies to explore the world of art beyond pencil scribbles in your notebook, so to speak, which is not suitable for every wallet. So, for me that’s probably the most important aspect when comparing the two mediums (also,Ctrl+Z).

The only downside that comes to mind is the “Digital art is cheating and therefore can’t be considered real art” mindset many people unfamiliar with digital process have. It is something that will inevitable die out with further development and integration of digital technologies.

I still have a soft spot for watercolors, mainly because it’s what initially got me into art. And to this day I haven’t been able to find any other medium quite like it that has this zen-like aura to it. I always feel at peace whenever I paint with watercolors, just like I’m having a personal meditation session. Also, it’s way easier to wash out from clothes than oils, lets just say that. 

Will Byers “The Spy” illustration

A few of your pieces have gained huge recognition online, especially your Will Byers “TheSpy” illustration. Did you ever expect your work to become so popular?

Not in a dream! Well, I guess there’s always that thought in the back of your head thinking that everything you draw is a masterpiece and deserves to be hanged at the Louvre alongside “Mona Lisa”, but it’s nothing more than a self-deluded childish fantasy.

I remember freaking out the first time the artwork I posted online got 100 likes, I even send the screenshot to my mom. She was really proud. So needless to say that when my “Will Byers” illustration reached over 100,000 notes on Tumblr I was beyond belief. Noah Schapp even reached out and personally thanked me, so that was great (what a lovely kid, side note).

Though the self-deprecating part of me still thinks all of this attention is highly undeserved, especially after chatting with, in my opinion, more skilled artists who struggle with countless insecurities about their work and abilities because of lack of exposure they get. And then here I am, you know, “drawing mediocre fan-art and getting it all”, which is an actual comment I saw once under my artwork.

I am beyond grateful for all the amazing feedback and support I got over the years, I can’t emphasize enough how much it helped me to get through the hard times in my life, but I suppose this impostor syndrome is not something that disappears so easily. You are your own worst enemy and all that.

"Study of some random pretty face from Pinterest. Freckles/ moles are still my fav thing." - Diana Novich

As your work becomes more popular, do you ever feel a certain pressure as an artist to produce a piece you hope people will like?

Yes and no. I do feel the responsibility to exhibit quality artwork for people who now have certain expectations of me. However, at the same time with bigger publicity I gained this sense of freedom I didn’t have before - freedom of being able to do things the way I want to.

Before, I always focused on creating something that would appeal to the major audience, and would often put down topics that interest me in order to save time for something that people would enjoy more. But at this stage I feel confident I can potentially create a triptych based on a hallucinogenic dream I had while being under anesthesia for all four wisdom teeth removal and it won’t go unnoticed.

Artists often spend time sketching, studying and exploring the world around them, howoften do you spend time sketching and practicing, and how long for per day?

*Nervously laugh*

Truth be told: nowhere near often enough. I used to be a complete lay about when it came down to practice. I much preferred the flexibility of figuringing things out on the go rather than spending “precious time on theory knowledge”. I had this same attitude towards everything since I was a little kid.

Surprisingly, I was an “A” student. But eventually I had to force myself to do studies at least once in a couple of days because I stopped progressing and felt that. So ever since I semi-regularly do master studies, anatomical sheets, palette challenges, etc.

Diana´s #WacomWorkspace

Your character portraits are very emotive and contain subtle but effective facial expressions. How did you learn to create such intricate illustrations? Do you study or take classes?

I don’t have a formal artistic education, I consider myself mostly self-taught, aside from a few years I spent in a community center art class where I learned 101 ways to paint a flower vase.

At a certain point in my life, art became the only way for me to express myself - something that no one had control over except for me. So I was very driven to become better for my personal contentment.

When I was a kid, my mom used to constantly take me to various museum exhibitions, and I have this distant memory of just gazing at the subdued expressions of the characters from the vast majority of the Renaissance era paintings. I’m not sure if I really understood anything at that age, but I remember being really intrigued by the fact that you could never guess those character’s thoughts/ feelings by simply looking at their faces. Unlike in cartoons that show very clear expressions and often exaggerated for the purpose of making the viewer react with emotions of the character. It really forced me to examine every small detail of the painting to get the overall message and just have more appreciate for it in general.

These memories imprinted themselves into my brain and over the years my fascination with human face reached the point where I sometimes find myself riding on the subway and creepily staring at the face of a person sitting in front of me for way too long, examining its features and how much a subtle eyebrow raise can change their whole expression. It’s something I always try to take into account while working.

I might spend 2 hours just redrawing the same mouth over and over again until I reach the perfect curl of the lip, so to speak. I think more subdued expressions work best with my type of work, cooperating with other elements of the painting to tell a more engaging story while not attracting too much attention.

"R.I.P Dolores Oriordan- Diana Novich" 

You have a very specific style throughout your work, often utilising strong, contrasting colours. Do you have any particular method when it comes to colours or do you just create what feels natural?

My love for vivid colors is driven by a natural desire to bring some brightness into the dull and dusty environment I’ve been living in for majority of my life.

I don’t have a well-thought method behind deciding on color scheme, it’s mostly intuitive. At the beginning I’m guided by the overall feeling I’m aiming for and pick the colors accordingly, bearing in mind the surroundings and lightning. Typically in the middle of the process I start feeling like the colors I’ve chosen stopped cooperating with the mood of the painting, so I completely revamp them by either putting a black/ white filter on top of the painting and adding new colors with overlay/ gradient maps, or by going crazy with “color balance”/ ”curves”, hashtag digital art privileges.

More than anything, it’s important for me that the colors have the right emotional impact, the rest is secondary. To anyone wanting to learn more about color and light, I highly suggest reading "Color and Light" by James Gurney, it’s easy to read and it covers a lot of topics such as color theory, light exposure, limited palettes, etc. It’s a must have whether you’re a digital or traditional artist. 

As a self-taught illustrator, do you have any advice for artists who want to explore their own skills? Are there any things you studied that helped you to get to the level you are today?

My major advice, that was actually given me by my community art teacher is

“Don’t let the inevitable failure to discourage and stop you from enjoying the process”

As you try new things, you’re going to fail miserably once, then again, and again. But after each time you fail, you'll realize that you got through it and you now you have a new chance to start again.

All in all, you're not building an airplane, so keep your head cool and don’t let stress weigh you down. Draw what you love and what you´re are passionate about. Don’t force yourself into a specific setting you’re not interested in or comfortable with just because that´s what people want from you.

Another thing I would add: never underestimate the power of internet! We live in an era of almost unlimited access to information, so use that to your advantage. I taught myself nearly everything I know about art through tutorials, painting process videos and observing other artists’ work, and I didn’t even cover 5% of the information that is out there.

Publish your work online, interact with people, get feedback, do challenges and art trades. All of this will eventually reward you, if you invest thought and time in it that is.

"Mr Robot" art piece by Diana Novich

For aspiring artists looking to improve their portraits and character illustrations, what is the one major piece of advice you’d give?

References! Don’t be afraid to use references. This is a simple, yet often overlooked advice. Expanding your visual memory library and turning to it whenever you feel frustrated and stuck is going to help you learn much quicker and more efficient.

I often see young artists saying they’re afraid to reference because they’ve been told it’s just as bad as tracing, which is a really damaging mentality. Drawing without references is like building a house without a blueprint, it’s just not going to work out unless you’ve done it a couple of million times blindfolded.

Personally I think even tracing as a learning technique can be helpful for improving your muscle memory, it’s all about how you manage it.

Last year you entered an artpiece for a´Star Wars The Last Jedi´ fan art contest and won! Then your work was displayed at the Worldwide premiere. How did that feel, knowing your work was on display in front of the cast and crew as well as hundreds if not thousands of fans?

Crazy! I didn’t actually knew that my entry was chosen beforehand, I was watching a livestream of the premiere and suddenly saw a glimpse of my artwork being displayed in the background.

It was definitely a bucket-list deal for me, can’t say anything much. Being able to contribute to this enormous franchise (alongside with many amazing artists) even in such a small way was a great experience and it definitely increased my appreciation for this universe. And now I have something to brag about at dinner parties.

Rey and Leia art piece for a ´Star Wars, the Last Jedi´contest and in memory of Carrie Fisher

You piece focuses on Rey and Leia, what inspired you to feature these two characters inyour illustration?

Well, considering I learned about the contest 5 days before the deadline, so there was no time for debating. The overall image was partly inspired by various religious images I saw a few days earlier at a local Museum of the History of Religion, so at the beginning I decided I wanted to convey a kind of ethereal feel with this illustration.

After some idea brainstorming, I remembered the first time watching the original trilogy when I was about 6 years old and immediately falling in love with Leia’s character. She quickly became the epitome of the perfect “princess” for me: fierce, passionate, witty, always being true to her beliefs and fighting for them.

Over the years, I saw many issues with how Leia´s character was written, but she still continued to be one of my icons alongside with Carrie Fisher, whose wit and unapologetic attitude inspires me to this day. I remember after the news of Carrie's passing I was left nearly heartbroken, like I’ve lost a very distant space fairy godmother. So that’s how I came with the idea of Leia passing the “torch of force” to Rey, who from now on will carry it to the new generation of girls and boys in need of a powerful female character to inspire and give them hope, just like Leia did generations before.

So, well, that’s the story. Sadly, I didn’t get the chance to fully explore this idea because I was very limited on time, but I’m proud of the outcome nonetheless.

´Star Wars, the Last Jedi´ illustration by Diana Novich

When trying to gather inspiration for a new illustration is there anything you turn to or utilize?

Music is a powerful moving force for me, so I always turn to it when I’m in need for inspiration.

For me it’s important to find something close to the theme of the painting or the character. Whenever I am working on private OC commissions, I like to ask if the client has some specific songs they associate with their character, or bands they listen to while writing. I find that it always helps set me on the right track.

A lot of your art focuses on pop culture and characters from movies and tv shows. Are there any film or tv shows you are planning to create an illustration for or is there a particular title you’d love to cover in the future?

My art always reflects something I’m currently obsessing over, be it video games or TV shows, but for now I’ve been stuck in a place where nothing really fascinates me much, so until I find something that catches my interest it's hard to promise anything.

Though thinking about it, for the longest time I wanted to do something for “Let the Right One In”, which is one of my favorite books, so hopefully I’ll get to it one day.

´Life is Strange´ art piece by Diana Novich also used as cover for Urban-Muse magazine

When you’re creating art, what do you like to do during your spare time? Do you find that your hobbies inspire your art at all or do you like to keep work and free time separate?

Well, illustrating is my main hobby, so it’s mostly what I do when I’m having a spare time. Other than that, I’m a big video game enthusiast and a film/ TV devotee, the usual bunch.

I take interestin law, psychology, politics… cooking. I love traveling, but sadly it’s not something I can enjoy regularly.

I have a musical upbringing, my dad was a theater actor/ operetta singer, so I quite enjoy singing and playing various musical instruments, even though I can’t call myself a natural talent in that area. But I do consider myself a giant music junkie and try to visit as many gigs in my area as possible. I absolutely love the atmosphere of unity out there, where all people are driven by the same energy and connected through mutual love for music.

All of the small things I’m passionate about shape me into the person that I am, so in some way they definitely have impact on my artwork.

Do you find yourself using consistent brushes and techniques or do you tend to experiment with different looks?

Mixing up your usual techniques now and then can help break the routine and get you out of anart block, so I’m always on the hunt for new ways to jazz up the process.

For me it’s not always about changing the final outlook, but finding different paths to the same goal. The only downside is that it makes it extra hard to develop a consistent style, since I’m constantly changing my approach.

A digital painting of Sadjan Stevens by Diana Novich

What kind of brushes do you use to achieve your style and do you have any tips for artists trying to create a painterly, natural feel to their art?

Generally I like using brushes that have bristle texture and simulate the look of traditional materials. Some I created myself, some I found on random artist platforms or bought from Gumroad.

My absolute favorites to use lately are from the Munch brush pack created by Kyle T. Webster, which I can’t recommend enough for anyone looking for free high-quality brushes with detailed stroke textures.

While sketching, I use a small brush with uneven edges and set the brush flow to 60% for a more natural approach. I would suggest choosing a custom brush for eraser as well. Painting with small strokes and maneuvering different hues and shades of your current color can also help achieving a more natural look.

Another trick is adding a canvas/ paper texture to the brush setting, or overlaying the texture over the base of the painting, then flattening the layers and paintings on top of that.

Finally, I try limiting my work to two layers max and using Ctrl+Z less frequently, that way if I mess up I’m forced to paint over my mistakes, like some would do with traditional tools, and not just Ctrl+Z my cares away. It helps the painting look less flat, which is a constant issue with digital medium.

Diana´s good ol’ Wacom Intuos 4 from 2009 

What is your current work set up, what hardware do you use for your art?

As someone who doesn’t settle in one place for too long, keeping my office as mobile as possible is one of my highest priorities. My workspace consists of my trustworthy Wacom pen tablet, Logitech mouse/ keyboard, MSI laptop with external monitor, IKEA desk and a chair, and that’s about it.

Regarding painting software, I’ve always remained faithful to Photoshop, even if it’s a photo editing program first and foremost.

As for a pen tablet, I tested a few different models over the years, but nothing had worked as well for me as my ol’ pal Wacom Intuos 4 that I have been using for the last 6 years or so. It hasn’t failed me once throughout the years and honestly I’ve grown so close to it, it’s hard to imagine switching to any other model.

Diana´s trusty old Wacom Intuos 4 from 2009

Are there any artists that have particularly inspired your work?

It’s harder to say who hasn’t; I think almost every artist I’ve ever encountered has inspired me in one way or another. For example Botticelli or my mom’s fashion-artist-friend who would always teach me to draw fashion sketches when we would pay a visit (not talking about various photographers and musicians).

Of course, if I had to pick, I would say that I’ve always been keen on the early 20th century art, so artists like Leyendecker, Klimt, Rockwell, Mucha and a few more certainly left their influence on my drawing habits and gave me an idea of what I should aim for in my art journey.

The way I look at it, my style is very inconsistent, repeatedly changing and transforming. Thanks to social media I’m able to surround myself with numerous different talented artists and I’m in a constant creative boost.

I love modern traditional artists like Malcolm T. Liepke, James Jean, Andrew Salgado and Joseph Lorusso for example, as well as fellow digital artists such as Loish, Ross Tran, Yuri Shwedoff, Mezamero, Charlie Bowater, Tom Bagshaw, Alice X. Zhang, SachinTeng, James Fenner, Len-Yan, etc. The list is endless.

Also, Bob Ross. Always.

Finally, are there any techniques you’re currently trying to improve or experiment with?

Nothing special. I think right now I want to focus on leveling my overall artistry up and developinga more steady workflow.

Maybe after I reach a certain point where I feel like I’ve learned “everything there is to know” I will go out of my comfort zone, perhaps do more environmental studies, but I don’t see it happening soon.

Thank you for reading

That’s the end of this Let’s Talk Art interview, it has been wonderful finding out more about Diana Novich’s work. You can follow Diana on a variety of social networks:
Tumblr - Twitter - Instagram - Youtube

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to share #LetsTalkArt with your friends! And follow Wacom across the social platforms so you don’t miss the next episode.
Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - Youtube - Website

This interview series is produced by Jack Woodhams, the founder of showcase platform PosterSpy. We would like to thank everyone who has responded positively to this series so far and hope you enjoy what´s to come.

Recommended for further reading:

Book: "Color and Light" by James Gurney 

Fri, 11 May 2018 11:30:18 +100
How To Draw Your Idea With Visual Thinking http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/how-to-draw-your-idea-with-visual-thinking/1134?c=2213303 When we put our ideas down on paper, most of us write them out as written words using text. This absolutely works, but having both words and pictures stimulates our minds more intensely.

How to draw your idea with visual thinking

When we put our ideas down on paper, most of us write them out as written words using text. This absolutely works, but having both words and pictures stimulates our minds more intensely.

You’ve already done visual thinking without even knowing it. If you’ve ever moved objects around on a table to help tell a story, or mapped out an idea by sticking Post-it notes to a wall in particular places, you’ve used visual thinking.

If you wave your hands around to convey spatial relations during a discussion, you’re relying on something more than just words to get your message across. Visual thinking is just another powerful way to help solve problems, generate ideas, get organized, and communicate effectively.

Download your free ebook here


Now, you may be thinking you’re not an artist and so drawing or sketching your ideas doesn’t make sense for you, but slow your roll! We’re not painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel here, and branching out into graphical note taking doesn’t require an MFA degree.

All you need is a visual vocabulary that consists of a simple set of some basic shapes, like lines, arcs and loops. The bottom line is that if you graduated from kindergarten, you’ve got this.

The good people at XPLANE created an e-book called How to Draw Your Idea to explain the basics of visual thinking through drawing, and introduce you to a few basic concepts to get you started. It shows how it works, gives lots of great examples of visual thinking, teaches a few drawing basics, and demonstrates how to organize your drawings to get your points across.

Watch below how XPLANE uses Wacom Smartpads to improve their workflow:

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 15:50:33 +100
Vincent Val and his amazing Shadowology Art http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/detail/index/sArticle/1137/sCategory/2213303 Vincent Val is a very creative person: he uses every day objects and lets the reflected shadows draw the beginning of his unique creations.

Embrace the shadows and let the light guide you

Vincent Val is a very creative person: he uses every day objects and lets the reflected shadows draw the beginnig of his unique creations.

He is a belgian filmmaker and illustrator, he works within the limits of/the walls of long shadowsof everyday objects resting in the light to create a wide range of playful and cool drawings. The shadow of a film metal container becomes a  tower, or the thin threads of a lightbulb cast a dramatic background as a staircase for a daring escape. Bal makesmany of his images available as prints over on Etsy. Also check out his Instagram







Tue, 17 Apr 2018 00:00:00 +100
Wacom Talks | Designed to Inspire http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/wacom-talks-designed-to-inspire/1133?c=2213303 Find out about Wacom’s dedicated approach in a series of interviews below, with Wacom CEO Nobu Ide as well as insights from the engineering and design teams.

Designed to Inspire

Creative professionals around the world are using Wacom’s creative pen computers, displays or tablets to create exciting products and art. “Some of them are also doing their magic inside of Wacom, working on our award-winning product design”, says Faik Karaoglu, Executive Vice President of Wacom’s Creative Business Unit.

Creative professionals, as well as passionate enthusiasts and hobbyists, find in Wacom a partner that provides them with innovative and intuitive solutions to support their ambition. “We are proud to be recognized as a company that for more than 35 years continues to provide technological innovation and solutions that are designed to make the world a more creative place.”

Find out more about Wacom’s dedicated approach in a series of interviews below, with Wacom CEO Nobu Ide as well as insights from the engineering and design teams.

Interviewees and their focus

1) Nobutaka Ide (Group CEO and President); Nobu covers Wacom´s role of driving the digital ink technology and shaping the future of creativity vision.

2) Yuichi Inada (Head of Engineering); Yuichi talks about the evolution and constant improvement of Wacom’s pen designs, leading up to the new Pro Pen 2

3) Harmut Woerrlein (Director Industrial Design); Hartmut covers Wacom’s design philosophy.

Wacom Pro Pen 2

"How do we create the most natural feeling in a digital pen?"

Yuichi, Nobu, and Harmut answering this question by talking about:
The ultimate Pro Pen 2/ 3D
Pen and screen interaction
Latency/ accuracy
The pen nib 



Brilliant surface

"How does optical bonding help us create a natural drawing feeling?"

The topics covered by Yuichi in this video are:
Optical bonding
Display specifics (like glare)
Etched glass
Levels of pressure sensitivity



Wacom Cintiq (Pro) Engine

"How does it´s modular approach improve your experience?"

In this video Hartmut and Nobu talk about the new Cintiq Pro Engine (PC module) and future technologies like VR/AR.



Perfect ergonomics

"Why do we put form over function?"

Hartmut explains why we put ergonomics and user-friendliness first.



Design philosophy

Nobu, Yuichi and Hartmut answer the question:

"How is our design philosophy driving the products we design?"

Topics covered are:
Technology leadership
Driving innovation and new Technologies
Design is more than looks
Handwriting is the most intuitive input form
Leading design idea for Cintiq



Customer empathy

In this video Yuichi, Hartmut and Nobu answers the question:

"How do we involve real customers in our product design process?"

Topics that are covered:
Core customer needs and workflow – first and foremost
Forseeing future needs and wants
Dialogue with the customer and feedback integration


The "Wacom experience"

"How do technologies come together to deliver the unique Wacom feeling?"

Yuichi and Nobuexplain that the experience is more than product specifications.


The definition of creativity

In this video Nobu, Hartmut ask themselves what creativity is and who is actually creative, by answering the question:

"How do our products stimulate creativity in the world?"

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 12:13:57 +100
3D Sculpting Tutorial | How to Create the Weasley´s Home "The Burrow" in 3D http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/detail/index/sArticle/1132/sCategory/2213303 Not only has freelance 3D artist Rafael Chies created something far beyond our expectations, but he is also willing to share his secrets through a three-part tutorial on how to create a beautiful 3D render of the Weasley’s home ‘The Burrow’ from Harry Potter.

How to create the Weasley´s home "The Burrow" in 3D

Rafael Chies has been working hard for the last two months producing a beautiful 3D render of the Weasley’s home ‘The Burrow’ from the Harry Potter books and films, on his Wacom MobileStudio Pro.

Not only has Rafael created something far beyond our expectations, but he is also willing to share his secrets through a three-part tutorial produced especially for Wacom. Check out his tips, tricks and how-to instructions for creating a 3D model house below, from blocking to adding details to deciding on the final composition.

Tutorial summary

Video 1. – Blocking, modeling, sculpting
Blocking (01:30)
Modeling (06:04)
Sculpting (10:54)

Video 2.  – Materials and layout
Materials (00:01)
Layout (14:33)

Video 3. – Lighting and composition
Lighting (00:01)
Composition (06:08)

We hope you will enjoy watching and learning from this 3D sculpting tutorial.

Video 1. – Blocking, modeling, sculpting



01. Blocking (01:30)

Concept design

Your sources are very important! Use reference images to get an idea for what you are creating and to use as inspiration. It’s a good idea to choose an image and use it as the plan for how you will build a 3D model, as it’s quite hard and frustrating to start on a 3D space without any references or guides.

Research and understand what key aspects make your subject recognisable and aim to capture those aspects, but balance with it your individual style and ‘touch’ and what you aim to show with the image. You want to make something recognisable, but still unique and ‘new’. Don’t make a remake of a concept but create your own version.

First steps

Your blocking step is not modeling, so work only with primitives, maybe moving some Vortex, but don’t go deeper than that. Define the bigger shapes first and then do the smaller ones when you’re happy with them.

Blocking is one of most important steps as you define the design and shapes. Don’t rush towards the ’exciting’ parts before you’ve done this. You need a good solid foundation or it won’t matter how hard you work in the following steps – there will always be something not quite right with the image, even if you can’t tell what. 

You have to take it seriously even if it’s not fun or you’ll be dissatisfied with the work. 

You should more or less define your canvas in this step.

02. Modeling (06:04)

Use everything you made in the blocking stage as a base to start to model.

Start with really simple modelling to see how it looks – don’t worry too much about corners at first. 

However, later on you should pay particular attention to the corners in any part of the model. When you first add parts to your model, all the corners will be 90 degrees. You should 100% avoid this in 3D because in the real world we never have perfect 90 degree corners, even of it looks like it. After modelling all the base shapes, go back to all the elements and bevel all the corners, making them rounder. In the lighting step, you’ll see that the light reacts in a much better way due to this. 

Trick to make the model look much more appealing or complex:

When you have repetitive patterns e.g. roof tiles, bricks or wooden planks, break the pattern by changing the position of a few of the pieces to make it look more less perfect and therefore more realistic. You can do this by using a variety of tools, e.g. the sculpting tool in Maya, the move tool, and the rotating tool. This gives the image a more organic feel. It can take 1-2 hours of work to break the patterns, but this is what makes all the difference between an interesting and a boring element. 

There are many ways to do things in 3D, so you should do what makes you most comfortable. Rafael doesn’t mind placing all patterns by hand if he has time, but there are other options if you need a recurring pattern, such as using plug-ins or Mash from Maya.

03. Sculpting (10:54)

Rafael’s main rule of using Zbrush is only subdivide if you really need to. You don’t want to work with really high resolution models if you don’t need to, as this makes the image very heavy and hard to work with.

Creating wooden effect on planks

For tasks such as adding detail to wooden planks, subdivide to create the patterns and knots on the wood because with higher resolution, you get more defined strokes.

Use the Dam standard brush, and get a really nice effect by changing the pen pressure during the stroke. 

Then use ClayTubes to define the shape further and build up the shape of the plank, following the lines you’ve already created. Go over and break up the edges, because in real life you never have 90 degree angles or edges. These smaller details matter a lot. Always keep your references in mind and don’t rush it.

Use the Polish brush to flatten the plank, then the ClayBuildup brush, and again the Dam standard to draw the deeper details back into the wood. Then use the Slash3 brush – it’s great for adding little cracks. It’s great to experiment with this to achieve the look you want.

Video 2.  – Materials and Layout



04. Materials (00:01)

How to create materials inside Substance Painter

Try to work on lower resolutions and raise them later or only at the time of export. Constantly working on 4k is really heavy and the computer will struggle. Rafael worked and exported in 4k, although in Substance Painter, you can export up to 8k.

You can try various types of HDRI. Add a background map to the image to see whether it’s the shape / size /etc., as you want it to be.

Always do textures on 2k and then raise on export.

Using Substance Painter

Substance needs lots of info to work well. 

Load the normal map. Select the normal map in AO. Then Substance will calculate the other maps based on the info you give to it - it’s very fast. You can then work with masks. There’s a lot of materials you can use as part of the program, but there’s also the ‘Substance share website’ where many artists share their materials so you can download them and mix with yours to create new variations.

Wood and peeling paint - Wood

Put directional noise on the base colour. Then add a filter with a gradient to control the colour of the noise. Create the base wood colour. Then add another layer, controlling it in levels to control the height or thickness of the colour to make it as subtle (or not) as you want. You can add another layer for roughness to control the amount of highlight and ‘shininess’.

You can add lots of layers on top of each other to get the effect you want.  


Add a layer to be the ‘paint’ on top of the wood. Then create a mask.

You can raise the height or thickness of the paint, change the amount of ‘shininess’ of the paint, and control the roughness.

You can also add multiple layers of paint to the same part to make it seem like the building has been repainted several times, and play around with the balances – create a layer in one colour, and choose a slightly darker colour to be the newer paint., Using mask ‘paint old’ will give it a peeling paint effect. Again, play around with the balances to control the extent of peeling paint and make it look realistic.

Finally, can add another layer as ‘dirt’ to make the image look realistic.

05. Layout (14:33)

Look at the overall scene. Always consider lowering the display percentage because otherwise the scene will be really heavy due to all the small details everywhere.

Making the background items

Clouds: These are not a flat image. He found the 3D clouds as a VDB preset free from Travis Davis on Gumroad.
Carpet: Xgen from Maya,
Roof: He exported maps of moss from Substance Painter and then scattered it across the roof in Onatrix.
Ropes: Ornatrix
Distant hills: These are made from really simple random textures. They are blurred and in the distance due to depth of field, so don’t waste time making it more detailed.
Flour sacks: Ornatrix
Logs: Plug in called DebrisMaker 2 made by Aaron Dabelow.
Wood planks: Exported from Zbrush

On Megascans there’s lots of content, even free stuff e.g. the mushrooms.


Always put your effort on what appears in the image – there’s no point wasting lots of time on something that will never be seen.

Think about composition when making the image – e.g- using the plants to frame the image.

You don’t have to keep everything perfectly to scale in your image, e.g. you can have slightly larger trees or flowers if it helps the composition and keeps the focus on the main part of the image. Don’t go too over the top though, and try to keep it believable.

Making of the ground:

Gravel: spPaint 3D plugin from Creative Crash. Select your target surface, in this case the ground. Always remember to turn on the ‘Instance’ option as you don’t want to duplicate the proxies. The scene would be too heavy. Always work with proxies and instances to stop it getting too heavy. For this part, Rafael loaded some proxies that he’d previously created for the project, e.g. bluebells.

To make them individual, use randomisation in rotation, scale and transform attributes. This will stop them all looking the same.

There’s two options to scatter the elements

1. You can use the ‘paint’ button and click and drag, and paint the elements where you want them.

2. You can use the ‘place’ button and click and drag, placing them wherever you want. This gives you a lot of elements in one stroke, so that when you draw, you place randomized items down. This gives you the possibility to set it as several different types of flowers and therefore have a more ‘realistically’ randomised set of flowers in an area.

On Vortex Library YouTube channel, you can find some really good tutorials for learning how to use blender material and blender displacement, which is how I learned to blend displacement. Never underestimate the importance of a good ground. It can make all the difference.

Video 3. – Lighting and Composition



06. Lighting (00:01)

Tips for using Maya for lighting

First do the lighting for the focus of the image – the house. Show only this part of the image and hide all other aspects to avoid distractions – you should only be looking at the sky, no background. Later, we can turn the environment back on and then make some smaller adjustments.

Always work with 32 bits within the workflow, so you can have a lot of control and info for the post production.

To light The Burrow, he used a HDRI that he downloaded from HDRIHAVEN, a free Lighting site. Check your lighting with no distractions to see how it looks.

Mix the Maya sun with the HDRI to get the best end result.

Work with a few elements as possible to reduce lag time.

07. Composition (06:08)


Always export renders in EXR 32 bits, then later convert into 16 bits

Look at your final render, and decide whether the colour scheme works, whether it expresses the mood you like, whether it fits in with the situation / location / season you were aiming for. It’s not too late to change it.

Paint over some tests in Photoshop to try out different colouring, lighting and styles, then you can change it after in 3D – it’s good to mess around in Photoshop first to see how it looks before you change anything in 3D. It gives you a chance to test out some ideas without lots of effort, and it can be inspiring. It’s much easier to do in PS than in 3D., especially with lots of textures.

After Photoshop, go back to Substance painter.

Look at your composition – is your desired main subject obviously the main subject? How can you change the composition to prioritise the main focus of the image? For example, you could use clouds to frame the house more, change the light, change the saturation, be selective about colours, vibrancy… For this image, he selected reds and made them brighter, and corrected the blue a little.

Try to see as much of the image on the screen as you can - it helps to stay focussed on what the overall image looks like.

Make sure none of the other elements in the image detract away from the main focus. Make sure that the colours don’t distract or ‘fight’ in the image – you want the overall image to work well together.

Never post your work when your eyes are tired – take a break away from the work and come back to it before making any decisions.

If there’s something bothering you, take a break, take a walk, relax, and then come back to it. It will make the problems easier to see more clearly.


And that’s it! Thank you for sticking with us this far.
If you’d like to see more of Rafael’s work, check out his sites below. 

The Weasley home "The Burrow" final 3D artwork by Rafael Chies

About Rafael Z. Chies

Rafael Chies is a freelance 3D artist who specializes in look development, lighting, and environment/ asset modeling, and is strongly influenced by what he sees on long walks.

Born and raised in Brazil, Rafael currently lives in Florence, Italy. He started to appreciate art when he was young. It became very clear that his curiosity in this field surpassed any other interest. "At school, for example, both the purchase of painting and drawing materials and the time dedicated to these activities were the events I looked forward to the most." All that enthusiasm for drawing, painting, modeling with clay - in short, all these ways of creation - started to interest him so much that they became the focus of his free time.

Follow Rafael on social media:
ArtStation - Behance - VimeoInstagram - Twitter - Facebook



Rafael at his desk, working on his Wacom MobileStudio Pro

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 11:26:47 +100
Live Q&A with Ketnipz and Wacom http://eu.shop.wacom.eu/wacom-infochannel/live-qa-with-ketnipz-and-wacom/1131?c=2213303 Harry Hambley aka Ketnipz is back and this time, he took part in a live Q&A with Posterspy founder Jack Woodhams. The 18-year old is famous for his adorable and relatable bean comics and now has over 400,000 followers on his Instagram.

Live Q&A with Ketnipz and Wacom

Harry Hambley aka Ketnipz is back and this time, he took part in a live Q&A with Posterspy founder Jack Woodhams. The 18-year old is famous for his adorable and relatable bean comics and now has over 400,000 followers on his Instagram.

Jack first interviewed him a year ago, when Ketnipz had 22,000 Instagram followers and had just started to become well-known. Check out the interview here.

In this Q&A session, Harry talks about his own art style and using art as an escape, as well as giving tips on how to start developing your own individual style. He answers questions from fans around the world and shows a little bit of the work he’s been doing in the past year, including a Wall mural in Mexico and an Instagram sticker.

We hope you find it as interesting as we did. Enjoy!

Watch the interview here:


More about Ketnipz

Harry Hambley’s bean comic took Instagram by storm last year, and it’s only continued to gain in popularity. Harry chose to pursue his art career and has been working with various companies and individuals during this time, opening his own merchandise shop and travelling worldwide to promote his comics.

Using a custom built PC, an Asus Monitor and a Wacom Cintiq 13" Pen Display, Harry produces roughly a comic a day for his many followers.

Follow him on Instagram: @ketnipz

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 12:33:04 +100