It’s no secret by now that much of my current work is created on my iPad. This causes a sticking point with some traditional artists. Digital art creation can seem like “Cheating.” There’s brushes for this, apps for that, shortcuts here, there, and everywhere. So many people import photos and do applications on top of them and call it art. Some may think that traditional art is dead and there are no true masters anymore, because oils and acrylics are giving way to digital applicaitons.
“Not so,” says I. I would argue that my art has improved greatly since the introduction of my iPad. Yes, I studied for four years at a liberal arts college and majored in Art. Yes, I have the technical background and piece of paper to back up my artistic opinions and creations. And yes, there are days when I just want to get my hands dirty and covered in paint, smell oils as they’re drying, or sink my fingers deep into clay prior to molding it on a wheel. There is a tactile, nearly spiritual aspect of art creation that is kinesthetically tied to physical manipulating the media that digital applications can’t recreate.
There is benefit, however, in having a digital outlet for your artistic creations. For one thing, after the initial investment, you have free media in which to work. You have a limitless sketchbook with multiple tools all packed into one slim container. For another, there is a lot to be said to be able to zoom in on your piece without physically sticking your nose in it. Another benefit is the “undo” button, which some days is worth more than the cost of the iPad.
The major bone of contention, however, can be that “digital media just doesn’t look the same. Where’s the texture? Where’s the crisp lines? Everything looks the same.”
Here are a few pieces where I compare the traditional media on the left with its digital counterpart on the right. I don’t believe that using digital media is hampering us at all as artists. I think it is freeing us to work more quickly and expressively with similar results.