There’s a coveted object in Procreate HQ. It’s Drawing Digital: The Complete Guide for Learning to Draw & Paint on Your iPad — the debut book from educator and illustrator Lisa Bardot. She dedicates it to “anyone who’s ever said ‘I’m just not creative’ while an artistic ember lingers in their hearts.”
At just over 150 pages, the book is rich with inspiration, theory-made-accessible, fun projects, step-by-step instructions, and bucket-loads of encouragement. It’s also easy on the eye thanks to Lisa's hand-drawn illustrations throughout, which avoid jarring and easily dated screenshots. “I wanted it to look as timeless as a book on digital art can look,” she remarks.
We scored an early copy and when we caught up with Lisa recently it was finally on the verge of release, a situation she finds “just mind-boggling. It's been a two-and-a-half-year process, so it's crazy that people will have it in their hands in just a few days.” Despite this milestone, Lisa was equally excited about Halloween coming up in a few weeks, a creatively enriching period of costume-making with her family and content-creation for her fans.
Much of that creation takes place in her home studio in Sacramento, California. It’s located in a renovated, detached garage and made bright — California-bright — with plentiful windows, skylights, and a garage door replaced with frosted glass. “I love bright, natural light.” she smiles, broadly.
Every surface of her studio is covered in something colorful. The first thing we notice is the magnificently large rainbow mural occupying an entire wall. Lisa Bardot is just as luminous — her welcoming smile and eyes regularly light up with enthusiasm during our wide-ranging chat about her book, art, self-belief, favorite color (teal), and all things Procreate. It’s easy to see why she has amassed such a following.
Lisa’s empathetic approach and drive to educate has grown into a large community of makers and creators — from the millions of views she garners on YouTube, to her Art Maker’s Club where she shares daily prompts, hosts live events, and fosters the spirit of creativity in devotees. She’s about to head into her sixth year of her Making Art Everyday project where she guides and encourages her followers to cultivate a creative practice through daily drawing. At over 2000 days, that surely makes it one of the world’s longest-running drawing challenges.
Lisa beelines straight for her studio in the morning as her husband packs their three kids off to school. She always aims to start her day with play and doodling to ‘limber up’ creatively. Lisa has always been a driven creator, “Ever since I was a child, I was always trying something new. At one point my goal was just make everything!” She enthuses, her hands waving. This desire to create has a twin-shadow: to share.
Both creating and sharing come together in her book Drawing Digital, a foray into printed media though not a departure from the digital. Lisa had long expected to a write a book but never thought it would be of the ‘How-To’ variety. A children’s book seemed more likely. That changed when an editor reached out with the idea and Lisa realised, “It just made so much sense for what I'm doing. I'm like, ‘Yes, that is the book that I want to be making,’ so it just seemed like a perfect fit.’” Not to say children’s books won’t be next. “We have plenty of time,” Bardot calmly observes.
The book combines her generous and patient education style with deep experience using Procreate. She was an early adopter of the app in 2014 after her husband gifted her the first iPad she ever owned. This was before the Apple Pencil or the iPad Pro, but Lisa was smitten.
“There was something about how wonderful Procreate is. How easy it is to use, how much access I have to all the colors, brushes — all kinds of fun things to make the art-making process joyful, all in one little package. It's wild how getting access to that completely changed the trajectory of my life. I just wanted to spend more time drawing and exploring my artistic side. Then ultimately wanting to share that with other people and share my process, and let's learn how to do this together.”
When it came to sharing skills, Lisa had a clear and practical structure in mind for the book: move from foundational elements such as line, shape, and 3D forms to complex exercises like drawing whole scenes. But navigating readers from the simple to the complicated and not lose or overwhelm them required tough choices. “I had to edit because I think big sometimes, too big sometimes. I'm like, ‘Okay, let's rein it in and just focus on what really matters here.’”
And what matters is helping people grow through creating. She speaks from personal experience, “I've always been pretty shy, which some people might be like, "What!?"’ she says, laughing, “It's helped me come out of my shell and just be my most authentic, excited self in front of people and be accepted for that, which was always something that felt really scary for me.”
The result is a work we expect to be a go-to reference on digital art for beginners, and the experienced revisiting first principles. At the heart of Drawing Digital is an unshakeable belief everyone should experience the joy of making art. “That's one of my missions in everything that I do: help people overcome that little voice inside them that says, ‘Oh, I'm just not creative.’ My whole purpose is to just help people overcome whatever is stopping them from learning to draw.”
Head to Lisa Bardot’s website to find out more about her projects, brushes or to get your copy of Drawing Digital: The Complete Guide for Learning to Draw & Paint on Your iPad.