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By Kat Hubbs

When you are new to an industry, you have to find ways to promote yourself and get your work out there. I am not naturally inclined to self-promotion, so I decided to start a personal project that I could create and share quickly – something that was tangible, allowing people to interact with my art. To keep myself on track, I knew that I would have to enjoy the process and not have a demanding schedule. I decided a monthly calendar image would be just right for my goals.

I love learning new things, and have spent the last year creating and experimenting drawing digitally. I got an iPad Pro and threw myself into all the apps and tools. I find that the Procreate App is one of the best since it is easy to use and has great pencil brushes available. I am able to draw fast and loose, maintaining the expressive quality of my lines, while giving me the freedom to hit “undo”.  I still create on paper, and I know when I draw with my favorite brush pen I am more thoughtful as I work, and I get all the happy accidents that happen when you can’t erase. So I decided that I needed to merge the two: get the look and feel of my favorite brush pen, while having the freedom of digital drawing.

I Googled “how to make a Procreate brush,” and the internet came through. I found a wonderful, short tutorial on how to make a Procreate brush. I made a few small strokes in my sketchbook with my favorite brush pen, then took a picture of the marks with my phone. I imported that image into PhotoShop and adjusted the size and contrast, so I had a variegated mark with smooth, non-pixelated edges, which I could then import to the Procreate app as a source image for a new brush.

I spent a little time fine-tuning all the pressure sensitivities to mimic my favorite pen, and then I was done! The whole process took about 30 minutes and I was set for drawing with the line quality of my analog brush pen, but with the digital benefit of layers and erasing. I took the time to prep all the calendar layouts for the year and created a template file, so I could just plug in my new drawings each month and easily share the file via social media. Read more about my process, how to create your own brush, and my sharing experience on my blog.

Making the time to learn something new, and think critically about the longterm project, saved me time in the long run. It gave me the freedom to get lost in the drawing and explore my style further. Now I have a great collection of drawings and learned new things about myself and my process. I feel more prepared to tackle a new project, and expand my self-promotion through continued learning and sharing my experiences in the year to come.

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Kat Hubbs is new to SCBWI and currently growing her illustration client list. She works digitally, although a pile of sketchbooks is always nearby. She enjoys creating work with expressive line qualities and movement. You can see more of her work on Instagram, @kathubbs, and online at www.kathubbs.com.

Photos and illustrations provided by Kat Hubbs.