Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

A picture of John Tucker

John Tucker

Comic artist

Posted in cartoonist, illustrator, mac

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm John Tucker, and I'm an independent comic creator from Cardiff in South Wales, UK. I create surrealist kitchen sink comedy books, such as Bald – the memoir of the baldest man that ever lived – and Adrift, an account of what becomes of life on Earth two years after the laws of gravity inexplicably stopped working. I also occasionally do gun-for-hire freelance illustration, most recently working with the Scottish Professional Football League to produce their cup final programme cover illustrations.

What hardware do you use?

I am currently using an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil, as I have been since 2016, and will continue to do for the foreseeable future. I've been doing digital art for about ten years and I've only really been happy in the hardware side since I got an iPad Pro. I started with Wacoms and Monoprice tablets plugged into Macs, but could never quite put my finger on what I didn't like about them, and I eventually realised the hardware itself wasn't the problem, I just didn't like the disconnect of drawing on a desk and looking at a screen. I'd had enough trouble with my early Wacom to scare me off a Cintiq for life, though I did have a brief fling with a Surface Pro, which was an extremely capable unit but the super widescreen aspect ratio wasn't ideal for drawing. After my six years of wretched and blighted agony in this regard, Apple finally announced the Pro with the Pencil, which I couldn't believe they'd never done previously as the iPad seemed made for drawing. Anyway, I took a punt on one and never looked back. I was finally free of the prison I had created for myself.

And what software?

I use Procreate for everything; it's incredibly powerful and versatile, has minimal menu chrome on screen while you're drawing, and it is eye-wateringly underpriced (£10, one off purchase). As an additional bonus, it has a vibrant community for things like add-on brushes, much as Clip Studio and Photoshop do. The stock brushes are excellent, but some of the third party brushes out there are stunning, there is truly something for everyone.

I do sometimes put the occasional thing into Photoshop on a Mac if I need to do certain things, but Procreate has been closing the gap in that regard (they added a text feature this year, for instance). I think I'll be able to stop paying Adobe's blood money this year. And when you combine that with iOS' Files app, it's now entirely possible to make a proper comic and send it to print without ever touching a "real" computer, which would have been unthinkable just a couple of years ago.

What would be your dream setup?

Honestly, my current setup is my dream setup, in that for a long time it didn't exist and I wished sorely that it did. So now that it's here, my only real wants are more on the software side of things; more realistic brush engines, the sort of thing Adobe showed off with their Project Gemini iOS painting app recently. Fortunately, Apple's A-series mobile chips (that power iPhones and iPads) have been delivering very impressive performance improvements year on year, so I'm sure that will come with time.

If we're talking my dream, like no-limits pie-in-the-sky dream, my dream setup is one like Matt Groening's, where I don't have to draw ever again and there are hundreds of people in an office somewhere that do it for me, because art is the bane of my life. But failing that, I'll settle for slightly nicer brushes.