The Surface Pro 3 as an artistic canvas

Before I was a photographer or a writer, I was an artist. I drew incessantly when I was a child, and hoped to become a graphics illustrator when I grew up. It’s a long story as usual, but that didn’t happen.

Over the years, my drawing ability became dormant from disuse, but the arrival of the Surface Pro 3 got the artistic juices flowing again. For those who don’t know, I am in charge of the Surface consumer business in Singapore but I make it a point never to write about my day-to-day work on this site. I’ll make an exception here because of what I’ve been doing on the SP3 outside of working hours – rekindling my love for drawing.

sp3 drawing ref 1
Going back to basics with Willy Pogany’s classic book The Art Of Drawing, which was written over 60 years ago and with the Surface Pro 3, packed with 21st century technologies.

Much has been written about the SP3’s ability as a drawing tablet for professional or amateur artists. And it’s all true – the combination of the 12″ touch screen, 256-levels-of-sensitivity Surface Pen and software like Fresh Paint, Adobe Photoshop and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro – makes digital artwork both affordable, convenient and easy.

I’m sharing here some of the artwork I’ve done in recent months. As you can see, I’m a fan of detailed pen and pencil drawing (sketching and cross-hatching), and I’m not so adept with painting tools like watercolor or oil pastels.

The best thing about drawing digitally is that you can create multiple layers so you don’t have to throw out the entire artwork when you make mistakes with say, the shading or coloring – just delete the offending layer, or hide it!

What’s even more incredible is that most of the time, the SP3 works equally well as my office workhorse, dealing with documents, spreadsheets and photo-editing work like a champ. Which professional drawing tablet out there allows you to play back Spotify music while you create your next great piece of art?

hand
A pencil sketch of my left hand. Hands are particularly difficult to draw due to their finger shapes, veins and wrinkles.
faces6
Studies of the human head and eye, as referenced to Pogany’s book.
Imola Monster Sketch
My old Ducati Monster 1100 Evo. This was first traced out from an actual photo as a base layer, then the Surface Pen took over to create the detailed shading.
imola monster oil2
An oil painting simulation of the same 1100 Evo.
Monster Sketch 1
This is the newer Ducati Monster 1200S, drawn using the paintbrush tool and a thick brush.
FreshPaint-10-2015.04.03-04.33.28
The classic Gundam RX-78,, drawn from looking at the actual 60cm high model in my house.
iron1
Iron Man, Mark Something Something.
daredevil
I drew this after watching the excellent Netflix series Daredevil. It was created completely with vertical strokes and no rough pencil outlines.
Isabel Sketch 3 Apr 2016
My daughter Isabel. She kept still for a few minutes so I did this in a hurry.
lsabel Ballet Shoes
Isabel loves to draw on the Surface Pro 3 as well, but the smaller 10.8″ Surface 3 is probably more suited for her.

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