My History as an Artist Part 2: Going Digital!


Welcome back to the epic journey of artistic evolution that is my life!

A parody of the famous image

The Ascent of Ben 2/3

I kid. But if you haven’t read part 1, click here to learn more about my early influences and how I’ve evolved over the years.

But now we’re finally venturing into the digital world…

Digimon Season One Logo

No, not that one.

The world of digital art!

Adobe Macromedia Animate Flash!

Once again Center Parcs changed the course of my artistic life. A few years after the discovery of Dragon Ball Z, my mum took me to a short workshop in which, along with probably ten other kids, learned how to animate. We made some stick-man animations that lasted about 5 seconds each but the fire was set.

When I got back I cracked open Movie Maker and Paint!

No, really. That’s how I thought it was done…I had no idea what I was doing.

Soon after I discovered Adobe Animate CC. Actually at the time it was called Macromedia Flash MX. It would go onto be called Macromedia Flash 8, then Adobe Flash CS3, CS4, CS5, CC and finally a total rebrand as Animate. (So yes. Feeling old over here).

But my aspirations went beyond what a mere keyboard and mouse could satisfy…

My First Drawing Tablet

I got my first drawing tablet around 2006. Back then Bamboo equivalent didn’t have pressure sensitivity so I opted for a step above. The Wacom Graphire!

An antiquated looking silver drawing tablet with a pen resting on top and a USB cable extending from the top-left corner.

Some aethetics don’t age well…*

It was amazing. But daaaamn, was it hard to use at first.

I still remember unpacking this tiny box, no bigger than an A4 piece of paper, and sitting in front of my ancient PC with its dial-up modem. That tablet blew my tiny mind. It led to the creation of my first webcomic and Flash animations (which I will absolutely not share here), as well as my DeviantART account, Elfwood, and plenty of terrible DBZ fanart.

That antiquated bit of tech was a universe in a box.


A dark gray drawing tablet featuring buttons on the left and a pen poised to draw.

And some designs stay beautiful.

A few years later I upgraded to the Intuos range. The Large version to be specific, and my horizons expanded even more. As my skills increased I made use of the hardware more and more. In fact, I used the beauty so much that the USB port on the tablet wore out. At the time, it was cheaper to replace it than get it fixed, so I bade it a solemn goodbye before replacing it with the newer equivalent (a wireless version that wouldn’t have the same problem).

These days I’m using a Cintiq Companion 2 but hoping to upgrade to a Huion GT-220 v2 with some kind of otherwordly super PC. Hoping being the operative word.

Check out the Resources page for my current setup and what I’d recommend if you’re starting out or going digital.

A Break from Art

I studied English Language & Literature at university. Weird choice, right? Well, yes and no. I studied English because I felt that studying art was damaging to my love of it. Maybe that was a mistake, maybe not, I’ll never really know.

There was a long quiet period in my artistic journey.


Next Time!

Come back for My History as an Artist Part 3 when we’ll be discovering when and how I decided to go pro!

*Linked for entertainment purposes only. Please don’t buy one of these unless you live in 2005…

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