So, a year or two ago today I’d have said something along the lines of “I will never ever go digital with my business, nothing beats pen and paper”, but here I am now unpacking my new iPad, apple pencil and keyboard, ready to design my 2022 diary. I still stand FIRMLY by pen and paper being the best and NOTHING quite beats it, but digital art has some very good positives and makes an artist’s life so much easier in a lot of ways. So, I’m gonna briefly let you know why I’ve chosen to buy an iPad, what I use it for and why it makes life easier. I’ll also let you know what I’ll never use one for and why I think nothing quite matches pen and paper.


So, I do a lot of ‘Instagram doodles’, which are little pops of motivation, quotes or phrases that pop into my head. This one for example, was something I came up with on the day of the euros final of the football when I wasn’t in my studio. So, without an iPad, it wouldn’t have been done!


When I do a pen and paper drawing, it takes longer, you have to wait for the paint to dry, scan it in and tidy up any background marks before cropping and editing and uploading to Instagram. Quite honestly, it’s a time-consuming process for something that’s simply to get a message across on social media.

HOWEVER, the ‘time-consuming’ pen and paper process is all worth it for something like a new art print or a detailed scene that’s going to go on a homeware product. Like, there's no way I'd do this fairytale scene as a digital piece, it would be RUBBISH! This is where I'd never sway.


For my diary prep, a lot (all 150 plus) of the inside pages are mostly outline grids and wording, so not much of the insides are doodles or illustrations with much detail at all, so a PERFECT opportunity to use an iPad. Last year’s diary was all done with pen and paper, and for someone who does NOT use photoshop and had to out-source the ‘cleaning up’ of every single page, it was long winded and out of my hands a fair amount. I will still be doing the front and back covers the old ‘pen and paper’ way, but the insides will be done faster and more digital (and you guys wouldn’t even know!).


Also, remember the wooden castle plaques? It just needed an outline drawing of my castle with no background, so was SO easy to do digitally to create a laser cutting of the shape! (This method will also come in handy when I get my castle tattoo soon, right?!). Same can be said for the colouring book pages, no colour needed, just outlines! You get the idea?!


So, 90% of my work is ‘pen and paper’, but I hope this gives you a little insight as to why the digital life can be so much better for certain projects (mainly the Instagram doodles and large projects like the diary). Plus, who doesn’t love an easy life to watch Netflix in the bath, the real reason I wanted an iPad lets face it!

Any digital vs pen and paper questions, do ask! I LOVE the texture of a pen and paper piece. You can see where the watercolour has dried and the scribble of the colouring pencil and the blotched of the ink. It’s much more ‘imperfect’ to do things by hand, which I believe is the power of illustration. Perfectly imperfect. But, saying that, I’m looking forward to the 2022 diary taking me 1 million hours instead of last years 10 million hours. Here’s to the iPad!

Leah x