Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Imaginism Studios Blog: Short film with Imaginism artists.

"Imaginism Studios Blog: Short film with Imaginism artists.: Film maker Emily Switzer created a short film called "PEN & PIXEL" profiling Imaginism Studio's artists talking about "digital vs traditional" art..." This was such a great video to watch, and since I've had this conversation many times with friends, I thought I'd keep the topic going with this and other posts to come!

Progress work for "Nobody
Could Be That Clever"
by Christina Zakhozhay 
For those of you who aren't familiar with digital painting programs, allow me to fill you in. There are a growing number of them out there, but the popular ones used by professionals to date are Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter. Artists use these programs just as they would use paint on canvas (or pencils, markers, charcoal etc.), to create what's known as "digital paintings". We'll open a blank document, use the brush tool, and get to work (as you can see in the image to your right)! Both Photoshop and Painter were developed with the help (or opinions) of artists so that they could simulate painting and sketching tools, and work spaces. Some might argue Corel excels in creating more "realistic" paint textures and canvases, but thats a debate for another day. Now, in order to draw on the computer artists will use tablets, the popular ones being Wacom Tablets (for more info on Wacom, click here). Each one usually comes with a pen-looking tool (known as a stylus), used to draw on the tablet pad, which shows up on the computer monitor. Some tablet models are made to be the computer monitor, so you can draw directly on the screen (like the one in Imaginism's video). There's a little more to the process and products that I haven't mentioned, but I hope you now have a better idea of what digital art is all about (if not, you can always google it, yay google). So to set the record straight, Photoshop is not only used to retouch celebrity photos (we all know they do it).

I consider myself a digital artist (rather a student of digital art), but there are moments when I wish I could do more traditional paintings. However, this task becomes a bigger hassle for me due to my disability (it's called Spinal Muscular Atrophy by the way, feel free to look it up 'cause I don't know how to explain it fast). Large canvases are hard for me to work on, plus I need help to set everything up, clean brushes, replace water, sharpen pencils (if it's a sketch). It's a mess! But with digital media, all I need is a laptop and my handy-dandy tablet, and I'm good to go. That's the whole allure of digital programs for any artist. Plus many find it to be a faster way to create, after you've had a lot of practice. So whenever I have the "digital vs traditional" debate with friends, I tend to scoot over to the digital side.

"A Dialogue with the Water" by Christina Zakhozhay
I don't know any artists personally who argue that digital work isn't "art", but I know they're out there! While I respect everyone's opinions, I have to disagree. Simply take a look at artists like Bobby Chui, Mickael Kutshe, Dan LuVisi, Raphael Lacoste, and Kekai Kotaki (just to name a few), and you'll see amazing masterpieces. Christina Zakhozhay's, who was kind enough to let me feature her work in this post, is another example of impressive use of digital mediums. Christina is a Russian illustrator and fantasy writer, who has published the first of her trilogy "The Book of Contradictions". When I fist saw her work, I was blown away by her portraits. It's a skill I admire, and boy does she have a lot to admire! But she also has an arsenal of detailed fantasy pieces, like "A Dialogue with the Water" (shown on the left) and "A Song". Her style varies from simplistic to over the top realism, where she incorporates lifelike textures; which is why I feel she's using digital media in all the right ways. She's showcasing how flexible artists can be when they use these programs, which is why so many of us love them in the first place.

Having said all of this, digital programs aren't all sunshine and rainbows. Traditional work will always provide unique textures that computer programs will never get perfect (close, but not perfect). Which is why some people describe digital paintings as "cold" or "impersonal". But luckily, there are artists out there who have found a solution to this problem. So in my next post, I'll be talking about the marriage between digital and traditional mediums.

My thanks to Christina Zakhozhay for allowing me to use her work for this blog. And as always this is only my humble opinion, feel free to state your own. Until next time interwebs, stay classy!

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