Mandalas, Mia Chambers and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro musings

Mandala B1_Small_AngelaPorter_15May2016Mandala B2_small_AngelaPorter_15May2017

This morning, I’ve drawn the two mandalas above.  I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro on my Microsoft Surface Book to do this.

I’m gradually exploring the features of Sketchbook Pro, and the more I use it, the more I like it, though making the transition from paper to digital drawing isn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  This is mainly because I find it hard to work at a detail level that doesn’t require a magnifying glass to see the detail or to add colour – particularly important when I’m doing work for colouring books.

This is partly because of the ability to zoom in so much on the artwork, and partly due to the screen size on my Surface Book being a little smaller than A4.

I have considered getting a Surface Studio, but that’s on hold until I’m sure I really want to go down the digital drawing route.  Having such a big screen is an alluring prospect, being able to work on the paper size at it’s actual size…but I’m still thinking about it.  Maybe when I find out my tax bill for the previous financial year I’ll make my mind up.

Now, these aren’t the first mandalas I’ve drawn using Sketchbook Pro.  In the past three or four days I’ve some some small ones (approx 3″x3″) to print out, colour and mount on blank greeting cards to be sold to raise money for Mia Chambers, Rainbow Warrior Princess to get her to America for experimental cancer treatment not available in the UK.

What I’ve always found tedious as well as a tad challenging mathematically, is setting out the angles and so on for a symmetrical mandala.  Sketchbook pro makes that easy for sure, as well as saving on the time in creating symmetry.

I’m still struggling with the idea that I may be ‘cheating’ by doing this.  However, I can logically accept that the tools available in Sketchbook Pro allow me to focus on my creativity far more.  Also, the ability to zoom in means I can add details and so on I couldn’t do easily when working on paper.

I have used mandala templates I’ve drawn on paper and scanned in Sketchbook pro to draw mandalas, as well as using sketched out designs so I can neaten up the sketch and add details (it saves erasing pencil lines and the mess and wrinkled paper and smudged in that can result).  I don’t really need to mention how easy it is to undo mistakes.

Certainly, the symmetry option makes creating these mandalas a lot quicker, and because I don’t strive for total perfection in the hand-drawn lines or added patterns, then even though the mandalas are drawn in a digital environment, they still have that feeling of being drawn by hand, which makes me happy – they’re still ‘perfectly imperfect’!

Of course, I’ve not really got to grips with colouring the designs in Sketchbook Pro, so printing them out and adding colour using a chosen medium is still my favoured way of working.  Also, I can add things like metallic highlights and sparkly gems to the mandalas, plenty of which appears on the cards I’ve made as well as the mandalas I’ve framed in order to raise money for little Mia.

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