traditional and digital media - how I fell in love with both

By Bryony Clarkson

Those of you that are familiar with the work I have been producing over the past few years will know that I am a massive fan of traditional media, especially paper collage, as a way of creating my designs. I LOVE the hands-on process of cutting and sticking the bits of paper, the flexibility to move the design around before I glue it in place and the ability to add scribble details with pens and pencils. Very often, a design will emerge that is very different from one that I set out to make, and I love that too. It all helps my drawing to evolve and gives it a distinctive style that is all mine. 

So when I was required to travel away from home and pack light, recently I had a work dilemma. I couldn't take a full on studio of boxes of paper, scissors, pencils and glue, so I was forced to think differently. My solution was the iPad Pro with digital pencil. 

I was already familiar with photoshop, as I use it to edit my collage work, so using the Procreate app feels pretty intuitive. It works on the same principle of layers and there is a great range of brushes that are very adaptable. It is super easy to carry around and I find that I can work for a long time without needing to recharge the battery. 

Here is one of the early pieces that I made, just to test out the brushes and mark making available. 

Once I had got to grips with my favourite brushes, I quickly got straight into designing. My process is to sketch straight onto the iPad screen and then create a layer in which I block out the basic shapes in colour, followed by adding layers with markmaring and details. I love the clarity of colour that I can get on the screen and the flexibility to make changes to the design by editing layers. 

I have been working on a series of festive designs for the upcoming season, and when I look back at them, I can see elements of my own style coming through that chimes well with my traditional work, like a handwriting that carries through all of my work.

So what next? Well, I won't be working purely digital, as I sometimes miss the hands-on nature of traditional work, but I think that the ideal for me will be to combine the two processes in one design - scanned collages with digital detailing. Watch this space, once I am back to my studio...!