Thursday, May 05, 2005

This is how I work

I'm completely addicted to digital drawing. I buy new watercolor paper and traditional paints and pristine sketchbooks at The Art Store, but they gather dust beside my desk. I feel less worthy somehow when I sketch using my computer. Ridiculous, I tell myself -- it's really just like choosing a mechanical pencil over a Berol 2B, or a Rapidograph over a quill pen. No digital god steers my fingers when I sit at my computer. I know that, but somehow I keep planning to get back to "real drawing" someday, where my mistakes aren't permanently erased by a simple "Ctrl-Z" command.

There was that day years ago when a Lt. Gov of Texas stood over my shoulder as I worked inhouse at an educational software company. He watched me maneuver my mouse (yes, we drew with a mouse back then,) coaxing the pixels into the running figure of a child. I was proud and excited as he stood behind me, obviously transfixed at the illustration appearing on the 16 color Tandy monitor. Finally he announced, "I didn't know computers could draw like that!" I guess I still carry that scar.

But. This is how I work.


Jenny said...

I use a Wacom tablet as well, but it still feels like cheating. Because, instead of shading or erasing, I can create another layer to see how things look or to blank out part of what I messed up on.

I suppose it's not cheating, it's advancement, but I'd be half as good if we suddenly lost computers.

Ronan said...

I know what you mean about digital versus traditional media. I illustrate a comic at home here in Ireland and I always feel my stuff has a bit more 'oomph' when it's hand drawn rather than digitally created.
However, your artwork (I've been admiring it on your related website) has all the charms of the traditional media, however it is created.

MJM said...

I do see more and more publishers in the US requesting digital art, though I suppose unless I tell them, most think I'm drawing on regular paper and scanning it in. One drawback to digital is you don't end up with something to hang on the wall.

Ronan, thanks for the nice compliment on my work!

TeresaW said...

I love digital art. I did quite well at school with my art but then was persuaded to go into science. My art is so much better for being digital and it is cheaper as well. Paper is so expensive, and I like the eco aspect of digi. I worried once about not plucking original images out of my head and having to use dig-photos that I had taken to get perspective correct, then someone told me that a classic artist used brocoli as models to copy his trees from. I then realised that even if you copy a landscape by sitting in a field it is just the same as taking a digi-photo of the same field and painting from that, even if it is digitally.

My problem is the back light from the computer screen distorts the colours when the final version is printed it comes out much darker than I expect. When technology for the home user catches up with the screen to print differential, I will be supremely happy.

Digi is cool, and so is your art, digi, pencil, it is all hand and eye coordination at the end of the day.