Although a particular medium or tool might influence how an artist expresses himself or herself, the medium itself remains a neutral participant.
The worth of any illustration rests solely on the amount of heart and soul the artist brings to the creative act.
Traditional to digital
Despite a formal education in art and a lengthy history of working with traditional painting materials, in 2004 I turned my attention to what the digital art world might offer.
And what I found was a painting medium that never dried until required, never cracked no matter how applied, and never off-gassed or needed a cleanup period.
In addition, it was infinitely malleable and effortlessly aligned its intrinsic temperament to my every creative whim.
After much experimentation, a sizable amount of research, and some deep soul searching, I finally admitted that I could not turn back.
I paint and draw on a full-size pressure sensitive graphics tablet using a special stylus that faithfully transfers my strokes to the screen.
This technology responds to every nuance of my hand’s movements, and every pressure change.
Simultaneously, the software processes my brush strokes to produce a perfect emulation of traditional paint.
When I previously used traditional paints, I would sit in front of an easel. Now I sit at a desk facing two large LCD monitors.
The monitor directly in front of me displays my digital canvas and the work in progress. It’s twin to the right holds a good deal of my working paint pallets, painting tools, and reference material.
While the idea to switch mediums came in a flash that felt something like a revelation, my traditionally trained artist’s mind initially put up strong resistance.
Would I lose my artistic integrity? Was this the “Dark Side” tempting me?
Thankfully, I eventually found the strength to listen to my heart’s promptings. And to be honest, I haven’t looked back since the switch.
Digital paint allows me to work in ways which were once only a dream. No drying time, no paint layers interacting badly, no varnishing, no cracking, and no fumes.
And so much creative freedom at my fingertips!
I remember a day in art school back in 1971, a time well before personal computers. Some fellow students and I were talking about oil paint’s traditional qualities and limits, and how we might deal with those shortcomings now that we were painting in the later part of the 20th century.
That conversation resolved none of the challenges we voiced, but it left me with an itch for the perfect medium.
Later that day vivid images began flooding my mind as I day-dreamed about the perfect painting medium.
It would stay wet and malleable for however long I wished. I could then apply thick, buttery layers of paint and blend them for weeks at a time. It would also dry instantly whenever I wished. Adding crisp, sharp lines directly on top would then be a breeze. And I could build up endless layers of paint with no technical problems.
It seemed pure fantasy.
Fast forward to the present. That fantasy paint of 1971 is what I’m using today. Thanks to the wonders of computer technology, I’ve finally found my dream medium.