Tom Parrish Concept Art and Illustration

Tom Parrish Concept Art and Illustration: May 2014

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Wacom Hacks: Intuos Pen Wide Grip

I've always really wanted to use the wide bodied grip that is supplied as an accessory with the Intuos 4 grip pen. The problem I've had with it though is the lack of pen buttons. The absence of them has meant that every time I tried the wide grip, I'd invariably revert to the standard grip because I rely upon them so much.

However, after a bit of plotting and scheming it turns out there's a relatively easy hack to fix this.

Using a sharp scalpel/xacto knife blade, cut the shape of the button from the rubber grip. With a little tweaking and trimming (a gentle sawing motion works best as it's a springy material), the button will fit back inside the grip and still move freely (make sure to test this before you move on to the next step).

1. Cut a hole for the button with a sharp knife.

2. Trim to allow for the button to sit within and click freely.

3. Check the button fits!
There are now two options: 1. Glue the removed piece of grip back over the button to make it sit proud of the pen, or... Use Sugru! I've been waiting for months to find an excuse to use some Sugru for a project, and this seemed like a perfect fit. Simply sculpt an extension to the button with a salpel blade (taking care to make sure it doesn't stick to the rest of the grip) and set it to cure overnight.

Option 1 - glue trimmed grip back on.

With a little luck, it should look something like this:

You've now got the combined functionality of the standard setup, with the comfort of the chunkier grip. Stay tuned for more Wacom Hacks and ideas on to how improve your digital art workflow!

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Thursday, 15 May 2014

Wacom Hacks: Audio Patch Lead

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks working on not one, but two super secret projects. I have, however, been keeping up with my studies and am closing in on finishing my final PD2 painting which I'm looking forward to sharing soon.

What I am going to do in the absence of painting WIPs for the moment though, is kick off a mini series of workspace tips, tricks and hacks. I’m always really interested in how the digital workflow can be optimised and streamlined to remove as much of the obstacle that the computer can present. So with that in mind, here’s the first Wacom Hack:

Audio Patch Lead on the Wacom Cintiq 24HD

I always listen to music when I’m working on a painting. More often than not, I have my machine moved up above the Cintiq, which will mean I’m having to tuck the headphone lead either under or around it.

This drives me CRAZY!

Using a couple of velcro tie wraps that I picked up from Maplin, along with the existing cable conduit that I use to tidy the leads of the Cintiq, I’ve added a 3m 3.5mm audio lead extension to my Cintiq. This runs alongside the USB lead all the way into the back of the iMac neatly, and means that no matter what position I have the Cintiq in, my headphones are easy to plug in/unplug, and don’t get tangled. Simple, but very effective!

Even in the up position, it doesn't interfere with the movement of the Cintiq
A great way to ensure nothing gets caught up or unplugged when switching modes.

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Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Painting Drama 2

 "I am no longer scared of colour"

Well the dust is finally settling after 3 epic months of Painting Drama 2. It has been an amazing period of growth, filled with the necessary combination of frustration and elation.

Over the course of 12 weeks, we explored the theoretical aspects of colour, light and atmosphere, as well as diving into their implications and uses in constructing immersive dramatic images. From there, we spent several weeks discussing and experimenting with different types of palettes before focusing in on more personal struggles on an individual level.


Although it was a considerable amount of hard work (15hrs+ assignments a week), I feel I can now confidently say that I am no longer scared of using colour. In fact, I now feel equipped to answer the questions that working with colour in a composition throws up. Before I started on PD2, I would tiptoe around the concept of colour, and would try to fudge my way through a painting, figuring it out as I went. I would look at other artist's uses of colour in paintings and marvel at how they had such control...and would wonder endlessly (or perhaps more 'aimlessly') as to how they did it. Post PD2 though, I can now visualise and construct palettes with greater confidence, knowing what tools to use to manage the hues within the composition to achieve the desired effects, in a controlled manner. The paint is still drying, mentally (if you'll pardon the expression), but it definitely feels like there has been another noticeable mental shift, much in the same way as there was in the wake of Painting Drama 1.

 I'm still working on my final assignment for the class, which I'll post here (along with the WIPs) as soon as it's finished. I'll also be heading back to a couple of the assignments we completed to rework pieces that I felt were successful. For now, it's a case of getting some mileage under the belt and really grooving a lot of the concepts and processes from class, before heading onwards and upwards to CTNX portfolio preparation.

In the meantime though, I've got a couple of NDA projects on the go, a Game Jam at the end of the month to prep for and a whole host of new articles in the pipeline for next few months. So in the words of Samuel L in Jurassic Park: 'hold onto your butts!'