Digital Drawing Issues




In today’s modern design industry artists are able to create a work of art without the use of a pencil or paintbrush. An artist can simply use computer programs such as Sketch Up or Adobe Illustrator to create digital paintings. An artist can use it to create a piece of art for themselves or a client. However is waving an empty pen around a tablet like a Wacom Intuos Pro really drawing? Or are computers making it easy for anyone to create designs without the unique skill of drawing with a pen. I believe “real” artists are still those that grab a pen and paper and sketch up ideas on their own without the aid of a computer program. I recently saw the film ‘Her’ directed by Spike Jones about a near future where everyone has close interpersonal relationships with their OS devices. In this setting the main character is a love card writer who talks to his computer as it types what he is saying. I noticed that the world really is changing. Writers don’t need to put pen to paper anymore, they don’t even need to tap a button on a computer. It shows how artists whether they be painters or writers are now dependent upon technology to help them create their piece of work. It is rare in 2014 to work without the aid of a computer. Not many artists use the old way of putting paintbrush to paper, using a darkroom for photography or even using film to make a movie. The future in ‘Her’ is actually not the future at all it is today.

Artists today are losing that skillset of putting pen to paper. As a High School teacher we are now teaching design and art students how to use Wacoms and Illustrator to prepare them for the future of their industry. However along the way they are losing that fundamental skill of playing with an idea on a piece of paper and using their fine motor skills to connect patterns and objects with their hands and fingers. Using a tablet and an empty pen and watching their designs come on screen is just not the same as using pen and paper, I feel the true creativity of using your body and mind is being lost somewhere along the line. It is simply easier to get a computer to create a pattern or object than it is to draw it with your hands. Even Jenny Weight comments ‘Personally, I find drawing with a mouse or a trackpad rather difficult. I need the sensual contact of pressure and motor control.’ from her digital drawing lecture. I agree with Jenny, I also find it difficult to control what I really want to put on the screen with a tablet at times. When working on an animation assessment in my Digital Media class I often encourage my students to hand draw their characters, scan it on the computer and then alter it with Illustrator so they can get the best of both worlds. It also teaches them that the skill of drawing is not yet dead. We still need those fundamentals to create interesting ideas, stories and patterns. An artist needs to feel the pen or paintbrush as an extension of themselves. The tablets help synthesise this feeling however it isn’t real. I personally can tell whether something is hand drawn or created digitally and hand drawn always wins.

I encourage you to put a pen to paper and draw something. Then go on your computer download a program like Illustrator or Sketch Up and see if you get the same sensation of creativity.

Links to Illustrator;


Links to Sketch Up;


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