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Technology makes me a better artist. But I still can’t draw

Digital offers a short-cut to artistic goals says deputy art editor on Stuff magazine Ross Presly

Last week I took a Myers Briggs personality test. Apparently I’m an INTP… That’s an ‘Introverted Thinking with Extraverted Intuition’ sort of person (whatever that means).

Does that have anything to do with art and my artistic side? You know, the talents that keep me employed? Quite a lot probably. Everybody knows artists are weirdos who hide away from the world in their own little studios, behind their artistic products full of hidden meaning and mystical brushstrokes. Right?

Wrong. Artists are people who’ve put hours, days, years into finding their style, developing techniques and trying to portray something that’s important to them.

Now back to the psychology bit. The ‘P’ supposedly means that I’m casual towards deadlines and would rather do all my work in a mental rush at the end. That’s not true, I’m organised, the magazine wouldn’t come out every month if I wasn’t. This information did make me think that that’s the reason I never put the hours needed into becoming an illustrator. Luckily for me technology is here to save me from years of loneliness.

Read more: Five analogue things digital tried and failed to kill

One of my favourite illustrators is Brian Ewing, an amazing artist who has my second dream job after being a magazine designer… He draws skulls all day, every day and by the sounds of his twitter drinks a reasonable amount of whisky and beer.

If you have a look at his Instagram feed you’ll see his process is long and beautiful, something my ‘P’ doesn’t allow. He starts with sketches, then a much tighter pencil drawing, then inking with brushes and then a bit of Photoshop to tidy it all up a little. The end piece is a culmination of many hours of thought and hand-cramp inducing line work. I’ll never get close to the style and finish – but I can try with a few choice pieces of tech.

Pride of place on my desk in my cold artist’s studio (I wouldn’t have any money for heating), would be this beast from Wacom. At 24-inches, its pretty much the size of an A2 sheet of paper and way more interactive.

It can reproduce 16.7 million different colours – about 16.69 million more than I could name – and doesn’t require me to mix my own with messy paint. The stylus interprets 2,048 different types of pressure, more than my untrained press-really-hard-on-paper technique for the darkest pencil colour.

For all the occasions I’m out of my little studio, I’d opt for the new Bamboo stylus fineline. It’s a great little stylus for tablet and connects over Bluetooth. This is by far the most accurate stylus I have used and is great for adding detail into quick sketches.

Going into an entirely digital art world will make the entire process quicker, no more sketching, re-sketching, erasing and trying to ink a piece with a proper brush. I’ll leave that for all the real artists.

I’m very happy to Apple-Z my way through 20 different digital brush strokes until I’ve "drawn" – or more accurately the software and technology has captured my crude input in a way that I can’t actually achieve with a real pencil.

Ross Presly is deputy art editor of Stuff magazine