Monday, February 15, 2010

Digital Evolution?

So I wonder lately about my art. I love traditional work. I love doing it. I love watercolors, using markers, my colored pencils… but I’m finding that I’ve been drawing digitally almost exclusively. I don’t know how this reflects on me as an artist and how I’ll be viewed.
I’ve heard people looking down on artists who draw digitally and even though I expect to work traditionally still, I don’t see myself going back to sketchbooks the way I used to.

I love my tablet PC. I use it as my notebooks, sketchbooks… it’s just so versatile. You see, I’m a perfectionist, really. If I don’t like the way my handwriting looks, I have to re-do the entire page. If I draw a sketch and something looks off, I have to use a brand new page. I don’t have this problem with my tablet. If I like the way I draw, say, an eye, but the proportions on the face are wrong, all I would have to o is select and move it where it belongs, where I would previously erase over and over and eventually give up and turn the page. Honestly it’s a much more green method to drawing. I waste less paper and I feel like my art is much better, to be honest. I can also reserve my good paper for my paintings by using print outs and my art projector…it’s all good, if you ask me.

So why do “real artists” gripe so much about people doing digital art not doing it “correctly”. Work is still done, isn’t it? A piece is still drawn, and a statement is still made. So what’s the deal?

What are your opinions of this change in art in a fast-growing digital age? Are artists who draw exclusively digital not real artists?


  1. I hadn't heard anything about this-- but it seems pretty silly to me. It's like saying writing a manuscript on a computer doesn't count as writing, because it isn't by hand with pen and ink.

    I think whatever issues there are with it will disappear in the coming years.

  2. As a professor once told me...programs on a computer will only go as far as the programmers who made the program let it.

    An example would be the 'water color' feature in Painter. A traditional water colorist has the ability to use a wet brush, and then physically move the canvas around so that the pigment will fall to where they want it. The program itself doesn't let you rotate the canvas in quick succession to do this.
    In my line of 'work' we also find too many people moving to the computer nearly exclusively, and losing some sense of creativity. Rough sketches, and thumbnails of ideas, are very nearly lost when translated to the comp. Usually this is because the person isn't versed enough in the program they are working on to explore their sense of creativity.

    A great way to measure that for yourself is to see how many quick, basic sketch IDEAS, or thumbnails for the position of objects you actually draw out on the computer. Or do you have a general idea and just start to draw off of that, without exploring the possibilities that lie just past the initial thought? OR do you find yourself doodling on napkins or post-it notes the ideas and then translating it further physically?

    While I don't disagree with the idea of doing digital artwork (lookit me, I work in Illustrator all the time), traditional paper drawings is what I nearly always start with.
    And while it might be non-green to do so, I have all of those sketchbooks and moleskins on a shelf for reference in the future. While a layout or drawing doesn't work out for me right now, it just might later on.

    To sum up a rant. @_@ I see digital artists as an artist. As long as they do not define themselves by the fact it is a digital piece. A computer is merely a tool, like a pencil, and not an essence of a work.