Tealmermaid Designs

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What is digital art?

what is digital art
Digital art is the creation of virtual art via digital technology. This can be used for everything from a simple sketch to an entire 3D universe of special effects. The base image for a piece of digital art can be a graphic that was physically drawn and scanned into the computer, or it can created as an entirely virtual image within a graphics editing app.

Graphics editing is a means to perform an easy manipulation of a single digital image such as a photo or logo. All graphic manipulation applications with robust capabilities will have a steep learning curve. They will require you to spend time reading tutorials and practicing to refine your skills. With time and experience, you can master all graphics editing and design techniques to use any graphics manipulation app for these as well as more complex tasks.

I admit up front that I am very old-school when it comes to art. I have had a lot of training in art techniques from photography (with actual film that I developed myself) to painting to sculpting to calligraphy (with an actual pen, nib, and ink), but I have over the last few years been doing more and more art digitally. My art is currently done with the Adobe Photoshop app via Adobe Creative Cloud, using an app called Astropad as a tablet emulator.

What is Astropad?

an introduction to astropad Astropad is an app which can turn an iPad into a tablet emulator. It is Mac-specific (built by former Apple engineers), and works very well with apps such as Adobe Creative Cloud. By installing the app to both your Mac and your iPad or iPhone, you can create digital art easily. This allows me better control for the lineart and colouring of digital art. Due to a lot of medical issues, fine motor control can be a problem, but the stylus helps with that. It is in any case preferable to umpteen rounds of erasing wonky linework on paper.

I have overall been quite happy with this app, especially since it can be difficult to find something that will work on a Mac in any capacity. To find an app designed to be Mac-specific is like finding great riches.

Astropad features

Astropad is designed to work on any iPad or iPhone, and can be used with any stylus or even your finger if necessary.

Astropad Studio is designed specifically for the iPad Pro, and requires the use of an Apple Pencil. It's a higher-end option with added features such as unlimited upgrades and priority Support if something goes wrong.

Disclaimer: Happy Mac artist at play. If you run Windows, you will have to do your own research.

Astropad pricing

For digital art hobbyist, there is a one-time fee of $29.99. For a professional, a subscription to Astropad Studio is $79.99 per year.

Licensing is specific to the user, not the device, so choose the option that best suits your specific needs.

Downloading the Astropad Mini app to your iPhone is free. This is a great option for drawing on the go.

What is Photoshop?

an introduction to Adobe Photoshop Although graphic manipulation software used to be a huge expenditure for a new graphic designer, Adobe's new Creative Cloud allows access to their apps on a pay-per-month basis. Pay as you go for what you need to use.

Probably the most popular of the Adobe apps is Photoshop CC, which I use for my image editing, graphic manipulation, and design work. The app requires no almost space on your personal computer, and it is not greatly affected by your system resources. You can access the app anywhere there is an Internet connection. That means you can work on graphics anywhere at any time.

App features

Features include the all-important Undo, an assortment of brushes and pens, Zoom, layers with blending options, and image manipulation options such as resizing, recolouring, cropping, cloning, and inserting text. There are also all the standard filters to apply to an image such as Blur, Noise, and Pixelate.

Files can be saved as any of the following common file types (plus a few specialized file types):

You can also print graphics to a PDF. I find this helpful when making colouring pages to print later.

Mac or PC: your choice

Since this is an app rather than conventional software, it will run on any device you have available. I run it on my Mac without any issues. In the event of the app crashing, it will even recover unsaved graphics files.

There is also no problem using a tablet to interface with the app. I find it runs faster when my iPad is tethered via USB to the Mac, but it does work over wireless if need be. This allows for the use of a stylus for drawing -- a huge bonus for fine linework.

What I draw

At the moment, I primarily draw things to illustrate my web sites, or random doodles, but I have previously done a lot of graphics for professional logo and web design. I started off back in the day creating a brand logo for myself (my "brand" is Tealmermaid), and went from there.

About the Tealmermaid logo

Periodic rebranding is not necessarily a bad thing. In my case, it generally means that my image file has gotten corrupted to the point that I can no longer open the graphic in my graphics software (or now, graphics app). If I have to re-draw the logo to have something usable, I might as well re-draw the logo in my current drawing style. Ergo: logo facelift time!

A brief history of my brand logo

Tealmermaid Tealmermaid version 1.0 (circa 2000). This really is an eight-bit graphic that was originally saved as a GIF, by the way, all 2 kilobytes of it.

Tealmermaid Tealmermaid Tealmermaid   Tealmermaid version 2.0 through 2.3 (2002 through 2006). Trying out different things as my digital art skills improved.

Elements of these more or less got merged in the next version. I kept the coral and teal colouring, the olive and martini, and the looped tail.




Tealmermaid version 3.0 (2007 through 2009). I got an actual drawing tablet around this time, so I was no longer drawing with a mouse or trackball. This logo is much less pixelized as a result. It's a smudgy little thing barely better than an 8-bit graphic, but there it is.

There are some slight colour differences between graphics. She ended up more blue than green in the last iteration. She is also much more stylized.

The tiny thing is my old avatar.

The profile screencap is from a content farm onto which I was dumping stray articles around that time.

The bigger banner is the banner from my now-defunct eCrater shop.


Tealmermaid version 4.0 (circa 2009). When the graphic got corrupted, I re-drew the logo into this version. I kept this one for a long time until the inevitable happened in 2017.

Tealmermaid version 5.0. Despite the graphic file breaking late 2017, I didn't have time to redo the poor logo until early 2018. This is the current version.

Tealmermaid This is a kid version of "me" I did for my book site, The Mermaid's Tale, in 2018. This is the current version.

Since my focus for that particular site tends to be on children's books and encouraging kids to develop a reading habit early on by getting hooked on reading, I needed "me" to be a relatable kid -- this kid just happens to be a mermaid who loves to read. (She likes fairy tales best.)

I kept the colours more or less, just made them a bit more pastel. And no martini.

The Mermaid's Grotto