By Dustin Cabeal
It has been a long time since I talked about or posted a project that’s either on or coming to a crowd-funded platform. I’ll be honest with you all since I get asked all the time why I stopped (and likely the reason I’m cursed at in private) covering crowd funded projects, and the reason is that there’s just too damn many. I am one dude and to be quite honest the bulk of the requests I was given had no info and nothing for me to see and write about. It’s extremely difficult to help someone when you don’t know anything about their project other than the surface level stuff. It was difficult writing articles worth reading about projects I could hardly talk about. Soon enough, I was getting numerous requests for IndieGoGo/Kickstarter coverage, and it got to the point that I had to decide if I was covering comics or crowd funded projects. I choose comics.
That brings us to Shadow Draw. A project that hit my inbox that I almost completely ignored because it was an IndieGoGo project. The very thing I wasn’t covering and had broken so many creator’s hearts about. Well, Shadow Draw is exactly the type of crowd-funded project I want to cover. Something that I have used first hand and something that I’m excited about from the consumer standpoint. I know that I’m labeled a “reviewer” out in the comic industry, but each one of my reviews is written from the perspective of giving you my honest opinion and telling you if you should spend your money on it or not. It’s never, “This is good enough for four bucks.” That’s what I like to do with crowd funded projects as well, is it worth the money.
What is Shadow Draw you ask as you yell at me from your mobile device. Well, it’s the first learn how to draw comics app on the iPad Pro. Now hold on, you’re probably like, “Oh, I have a dozen books like that already, and I can watch YouTube videos, so I don’t need it,” but let me tell you more and “need” is a relative term.
If you’ve ever watched a YouTube video of an artist drawing, either live or a time-lapse and tried to follow along and ended up pissed off, then Shadow Draw is for you. The gist is that you select an image to illustrate, let’s say, Batman, by an artist available that you’ve selected. Once you select it, you begin a tutorial, and you go stroke by stroke through the process with the artist. You see their pencil movements from squiggles to dots to everything that they erase. Sometimes you start in blue and then switch to black and erase all the blue, other times you get a very comic book page feel and have both elements present. The key point is that with the Apple Pencil, it registers your movements and once you’ve completed it, it automatically moves on to the next line for you to draw. The line is always in orange, with erasing gestures being more of a dotted line. The cool thing is that you can see the speed in which the artist made the line; sometimes quick, while others are slow and steady. It’s not just a dot-to-dot, find the next line, but rather it sets a pace for you to follow.
Below is a video of me going through the tutorial that I download from the app!
I’m not so naive to think that by going through these tutorials you’ll just instantly be able to draw comic books, but let me tell you something, you will learn. You will get out of this what you put into it. I may not be able to draw the best Batman in the world, but I sure as hell can draw him a lot better than I could before I ran through the tutorial twice. I also noticed how I draw compared to the artists I was following. I apparently draw like I’m left handed, but with my right hand because all my strokes went the opposite way of the artists. It forced me to realize that and adapt how I draw (something I’ve gotten into more as my son has begun coloring).
I don’t want to speak to the features specifically because some of it could change and really what is interesting and should be the reason you either support the app on IndieGoGo or purchase it when it hits the app store is the tutorials. When you complete a tutorial though you have the option to share it and of course download it. You can also create a gif and a time lapse video cut to 60 seconds so you can share it on your favorite social media platforms with ease.
There will be in-app purchases. There’s a profit sharing with the artists so when you buy their tutorial you are giving them money too. Which brings me to a cool feature of the IndieGoGo in that some of the perks will apply towards your in-app credit to buy tutorials. Look for that because that is a cool perk in my opinion.
Here’s the deal, I didn’t pay anything to try the app out. I understand that for others, yeah, you’d probably like to try it out before committing to it which is why I’m giving you as much of my experience with Shadow Draw as possible. There’s a lot of potential to the app that the creators have in mind, and I’m excited to see what comes next. I’m also excited about getting the full app myself and using for practice and hell, to help me illustrate characters that I like, but never know where to start with. The bottom line for me is that there’s nothing else like this app out there. I know because I’ve been on Microsoft’s store looking for pencil apps and I’ve been all through Apple’s looking for ones to use as well and frankly, both are lacking in anything of quality when it comes to using pressure sensitive pencils on apps. That said, check out Shadow Draw on IndieGoGo where they’ll have a lot more details and samples to check out.
On a side note, this article does not mean we’re accepting IndieGoGo or Kickstarter coverage submissions, so please refrain from emailing.