Canvas and paint versus digital

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  1. #1
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    Canvas and paint versus digital

    I've been working in traditional materials for a long time, mostly in oil paint. It has taken me many years to learn how to use oil paint and I have many years to go before I can master it. I really enjoy the feel of paint and brushes, working with them feels very natural.

    My husband is encouraging me to go digital, using a tablet and pen and a program like Painter. I have used a trial version of Painter X and like the effects achievable.

    I would love some feedback from artists that have worked with both traditional and digital paint. I would like to know if you find the pen and tablet to be as comfortable and intuitive to use as a brush on canvas or paper. Do you find that you can control the paint the way you want to the same way you use actual paint? What do you do with the paintings when you are done with them, have you tried to sell them? Have you given up traditional paint in favor of digital? Do you prefer a small tablet or a big one? Do you use one pen or several? Have you had any eye problems from looking at a monitor while painting?

    Any other thoughts?

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  3. #2
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    Oof, I hate to give a bland answer like this, but there are advantages and disadvantages of both. I *love* some of the things you can achieve with digital -- not least, the fact you can throw caution away and try ANYthing, because everything is undoable (I've recently returned to traditional media for the first time in a while. I tried to CTRL-Z a pencil drawing the other day).

    Some things, I've never quite adjusted to digitally. I can't seem to get the hang of doing line work with a tablet, for example.

    I've been sitting in front of a CRT pretty much 10+ hours a day since, like, 1985 and I have gotten progressively more nearsighted. I think it's a coincidence, but my partner swears it's from the monitors. He said an optowhotsit told him that once -- that computers cause nearsightedness.

    If it's true, I wonder if flat-panel displays will do the same?

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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  4. #3
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    so... besides your husband encouraging you, are there any other reasons that you're considering going digital? What direction are you aiming for as an artist, career-wise?

    The differences between digital and traditional are only positive or negative in relation to what you want to do with it. Different jobs or markets have different needs.

    "Every little step considered one at a time is not terribly daunting" - Ethan Coen

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  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavePalumbo View Post
    so... besides your husband encouraging you, are there any other reasons that you're considering going digital? What direction are you aiming for as an artist, career-wise?

    The differences between digital and traditional are only positive or negative in relation to what you want to do with it. Different jobs or markets have different needs.
    Dave... you so smart.
    You save me many typing.

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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavePalumbo View Post
    so... besides your husband encouraging you, are there any other reasons that you're considering going digital? What direction are you aiming for as an artist, career-wise?

    The differences between digital and traditional are only positive or negative in relation to what you want to do with it. Different jobs or markets have different needs.
    Thank you for asking, Dave. I think about going digital when I think about the future of animation. I used to work in animation as a background layout artist, on the Simpsons. I worked traditionally on paper but didn't draw characters. I believe that my job is becoming obsolete. I have tinkered around with Maya and 3D Max a little. I took some background painting classes several years ago and really enjoyed it. Now I'm unemployed and not sure what to do career-wise. I'm in a position where I can work on my own work if I want to. I've been taking the opportunity to study the masters and I really enjoy it. I want to spend more time doing that. I'm not sure if I want to try to sell my work in galleries, I don't have a consistent body of work yet.

    I like the idea of not having to clean my brushes, replenish my materials, or have toxic fumes in my studio. I wouldn't have to wait for paint to dry or worry about whether I was working fat over lean. I wouldn't have to worry about spilling paint on the floor or getting cat hair on my paintings. I like the ability to undo a step.

    I'm concerned that I'm going to spend a lot of money on the digital materials and not be motivated enough to devote the time necessary to learn it. I think I'm a little scared of the new technology and not sure what to do with the skills if I take the trouble to learn it. I'm 40 years old and honestly don't understand why the new technology scares me, maybe I've been defining myself by my materials and it's an ego thing. How do I get over that?

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    I wouldn't be worried about spending money on digital tools. It's a one-time expense, and in the end is much cheaper than traditional materials.

    As far as the learning curve, I don't think it would be too much of a problem either. Yeah there are some things you have to get used to in digital, but either way you're making marks on a canvas -- there's nothing radically different about digital painting. Not only that, but there are TONS of free resources on digital painting available through these very forums. I have as much experience in digital and traditional and I say go for it, you'll regret not trying.

    The advantage of being a beginner is having a much greater amount of teachers.
    Sketchbook?
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  9. #7
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    I would take that risk by stepping into that digital realm. You have a taste of the traditional and maybe a whole sandwich but I can assure you that anyone on this forum will agree that buying a tablet was some of the best money they spent. Not just because of the fact that it is amazing to digitally paint and draw, but also because in the long run the money becomes less of an issue. What you are capable of doing is far greater than most other traditional artists. I am a college student so I have to stick to traditional because of where I am at. The faculty there doesn't really know what digital illustrations are, but they are far behind the future wheel. Take that step and join a growing world of digital artists and I assure you that you will be more than surprised with what you are capable of producing.

    Good luck.

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  10. #8
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    What you are capable of doing is far greater than most other traditional artists
    *ahem* depending, once again, on exactly what your goals may be

    but yeah, from the particulars that you give, I'd say give it a shot and see how you like it.

    As far as gallery work goes, digital is still pretty mysterious, confusing, and/or unappealing for many many galleries and buyers. This seems to be slowly changing, but I doubt it's going to be any time soon that it can honestly compete with traditional media.

    "Every little step considered one at a time is not terribly daunting" - Ethan Coen

    New books and process DVD available NOW!

    www.dvpalumbo.com

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  11. #9
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    Your right Dave, but what I was mostly pointing towards was with space and money. A lot of artists don't have that extra 300 or so bucks to get the materials to start testing and expanding at the rate of knowing how to digitally do it. But your right, it varies a great amount.

    And I also have to agree with the unappealing part. I deal with it first hand at a regular University down in the natural state.

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