[I have to write an essay every week for the English Comp class that I am currently taking. This topic is extremely relevant to me and I rather enjoyed writing it. I thought I would share it here...]
There are those that prefer to create art using traditional methods; paint on canvas, watercolor, charcoal, ink, pencil, ceramics, sculpture, photography, among many other artistic mediums. Designers that used to work on the computer for the purpose of print are now using computer software for artistic expression. Each method allows a person to express themselves and stretch the imagination in their own unique way.
Art studios take up lots of space, while computer generated art requires none of the mess and clean-up involved with a true painting. Art supplies required to create traditional artwork may be a bit expensive, but the tools used for creating computer generated art can be quite expensive as well. You must have the computer, and the wide variety of software available in an equal variety of price ranges. Then, there are the infinite choices of tablets and an assortment of pens that can be used with them. However, unlike the intangible tools of the software, the supplies for traditional art expire or simply run out. You must continue to restock an art studio if you wish to continue working.
It may be pointed out that traditional art requires nothing more than a sheet of paper, a pencil, and some watercolors. Is the digital revolution out of reach for the average artist because of the costs involved? Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on paints, brushes, palettes, brush cleaners, paper, canvas, and so forth, many artists are going digital. The growth and development in software and technology, with the addition of the internet, has made it easier than ever for an artist to get creative using nothing more than a computer, some software, and either a mouse or tablet. In the flash of an eye the design software has evolved with the growing demand. It is now possible to create fine art that resembles the traditional methods using the tools supplied by the software of choice.
There are traditional artists who fear that artists as a whole will become dependent on digital methods and lose the magic of natural methods. Some of these same artists also believe that art created with software does not deserve to exist at the same level as a painted canvas. However, digital art still requires the same talent and training used in traditional painting. Digital art is more than just computer skill; it is the integration of artistic talent and computer technology.
The main question regarding digital art seems to be; is it talent or the tools? The tools are designed to mimic the paintbrush, airbrush, pencil, pen, paints, paper, and canvas. The software gives the user easy access to a wide variety of tools at the click of a button; however, talent is still required to use them. The computer cannot express emotion and therefore cannot create the art for you. Practice, training, and natural talent are essential for creating true works of art.
The software for digital art is designed to make creation easy. The difficulty level in a piece of artwork does not automatically make it better art. Those that use tablets are often viewed as inferior to those that use a mouse because of the ease of use. It mimics the natural feel and use of a hand holding a pen or paintbrush. The artists that do use a mouse are often quite proud to be named a “mouse user.” Many will agree that both are simply another example of a tool to be used at the preference (and budget) of the artist. Many tablet users are like photographers in that they simply enjoy boasting about their expensive mechanics. They do not necessarily think that it makes them a better artist.
While many digital pieces begin as photographs and are altered to an artistic form, true digital art is done by hand in a sense, but does it hold the same kind of attention that a traditional painting of the same caliber would? The artistic world is slowly becoming more open to computer generated art and many are accepting it as another artistic medium. A computer generated scene that has been printed professionally could easily be mistaken for a traditional style painting. That does not mean that it is intended to take the place of traditional style art. Perhaps they are impossible to compare and should remain separated. Just as oil paints and watercolor are two very different art mediums, so is traditional and digital art.
The same rules of light, shadow, shape, composition, etc. still apply in the digital realm. Every digital creation still begins with a well thought out sketch. A computer is simply another medium to use as paint is on a canvas. The human need to express thoughts and feelings through various art forms will remain as long as people exist, the tools to do so will change from time to time. What is important is that the artist enjoy the act of creating, whether they use computers, or a pencil and paper.
[By the way... I earned 60/60 points. :D]