For your viewing pleasure today: another cartoon I've been saving...
The computer is a curious beast that has had a hold on much of my art-making. It is increasingly influencing the next generation of artists and illustrators for both benefit and harm.
Some benefits and drawbacks of the computer as an art tool:
- Pro: Allows for the immediate creation of images unbound by the "ground up" necessities of traditional media. Artists can go straight to color and tone without preparation, both of the material and the subject. Con: The loss of a slower, more cerebral process including planning, drawing and using purposefully-chosen tools may lead to a less controlled, succinct and focused result.
- Pro: Allows for unlimited malleability and change throughout the creation process. Undo and global changes whenever needed. Con: This forgiving nature of the tool can lead to indecision and a weakening of the need for planning in the creative process. Results may be unexpected (pro and con), or lose the essence or original focus of the idea.
- Pro: Allows for detail and refinements not easily obtained through traditional tools. You can zoom into an area for increased detail, unbound by physical size. Con: you can lose sight of the "whole effect" and composition as a balanced, focused and unified statement.
All of the above essentially address the same dichotomy: complexity and flexibility versus simplicity and purposefulness. For this reason, there is a noticeable and understandable split in the use of digital or traditional media in concept art and illustration.
While not absolute, there is a definite preference for digital tools in concepting; where experimentation and uniqueness are aimed for. Concept artists can work fast and without preconception for the goal of finding new designs and unexpected approaches. Their work is expected to be re-made (into a model, set-piece or illustration) so this early visualization need not excessively worry about perspective, construction or animation.
Illustrators, on the other hand need to provide their client with an expected product, and need to create imagery that has specific needs (tell a story, show characters or elements in a descriptive and accurate way.) balanced and controlled for communication and attention. This work will be looked at by a broader audience for a longer period of time (as a cover, etc) so needs to hold up to scrutiny on its foundations.