Carl Rustung

Hand drawing the old fashioned way, on paper and iPad, to populate a city scene.

I’m working on this little city scene I’ve nicknamed “Clamberville” on account of all the stairs going everywhere. It’s mostly drawn with Procreate, the only app I’ve found so far that really feels like magic paper. It has some kick-ass tools for drawing straight lines, too, which I use a lot. Procreate even keeps track of hours spent and brush strokes used, and it tells me I’ve spent a stupid amount of both.

Here’s a little portion of it, so far:

“Clamberville”, work in progress.

Drawing the town is fun and all, but it sure feels empty without people. I’ve drawn some characters directly in there using Procreate, but I’ve found it feels a lot better to draw them using pen and paper. It’s quicker, too, and makes the drawings feel a bit more... lively?

My tools of choice are brush pens and correction fluid. Here I’ve drawn a little group of hippies to brighten up one of Clamberville’s hanging gardens. (The two rightmost characters are supposed to be sitting on a park bench, by the way, but I’ve yet to draw that in.)

These guys end up pretty tiny, so I’m still trying to figure out what level of detail carries over to the final image. This scene had too many small elements, but the large size and thick brush strokes scale down pretty well.

Happy, little mistakes? No worries, the correction fluid takes care of those. Scale and composition issues don’t matter either, since the next step is digitizing the heck out of these dudes. I simply take a photo with the iPad, and open it in Procreate.

The color’s sucked right out, then levels get tweaked until everything’s more or less pure black and white. Then I erase the background (in the picture above, blue means transparent) and stick the characters into the city, scaling them down to fit. Finally, I clean up the low-res version.

Rinse and repeat. Clamberville’s current population is 30, and I’m not stopping until we’re in “Where’s Waldo” territory.

It’s going to take a while.