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  1. #1
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    why is traditional so much harder than digital?

    Its a simple question that has been troubling me in the past few days. I've got an art project for school, which is the final exam for the whole subject. Its based on both self portraits and colour. The thing I'm confused about is that I can portray form, values, colour, edges and whatnot to a considerable degree of satisphaction when I work digitally, say when I'm doing a self portrait. But the solidity of form and colour would look like utter and complete shite traditionally. So what I'm thinking is that its not my skills which are that bad (I'm not saying i'm great here or anywhere near) but its more the lack of knowledge of the medium i'm using. Is this true, and is it wrong for me to think like this. Why can I get a satisfying result digitally when working from life and having no colour picker ( although I do have handy contrast adjustments), yet traditionally that same portrait looks like a horrific mess? If I could get the same degree of quality traditionally it'd be amazing, but I just can't!


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  3. #2
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    Haha, after years of trying to paint digitally, I've gone back to traditional stuff because I find I have so much more control. Weird. Maybe it's a very individual thing. Or maybe it's time to replace my Wacom.

    I can say that digital media is easier to layout as far as composition because you've got layers to work with.

    I guess my advice is to choose an easy medium like pencils or charcoal and work with it until you're comfortable. Don't try every type of media at once.

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    Umm.

    No undoes?

  5. #4
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    I asked this to a couple of guys last week:
    Take your best digitalpieces - would you be able to achieve the same result if you did it traditionally - tha anwers were all a confident "NO WAY"...
    For me its comes down to patience...and photoshop speeds up work exponentially..and it becomes all about the concept and design.

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    But I don't use undos, infact I don't realise i've made a mistake until the end of a portrait and then i scrap it and start again. The fact that not one of you can understand what I said is scaring me though! yeah, I'm feeling pretty cool at the moment..... And the portraits aren't like my best pieces, they're pretty standard. I'm still confused, even if I id a greyscale in traditional it would turn out crap, but I'd be satisfied if it was digital.
    Last edited by blog; April 22nd, 2006 at 02:58 PM.

  7. #6
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    i don't know man
    I have a MUCh harder time with digital
    i feel like such a noob with this and often just say "fuck ! I can do this with oil paint in like 10 minutes!"
    i think it has more to do with what you use alot
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    Quote Originally Posted by loomer
    i think it has more to do with what you use alot
    yeah quoted for truth

    im having a harder time with traditional aswell... but i think its just because im used to digital painting. and it IS easier.... i think everyone profits more from a strong traditional background and knowlegde though. whenever i attempt a traditional painting... i need to think so much, that when i return to the computer, im much more secure with my color and value choices.
    "Have only 4 values, but all the edges you want."
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    Oh for Christ's sake, you're fifteen! Do you honestly expect to be good at everything instantly?
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  10. #9
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    Different mediums require different skill sets. When I started doing oils after many, many years of doing digital there was a period of learning I had to go through.

    There are some things, composition, color theory, anatomy, etc. that are universal across all mediums which once you know make picking up a new medium that much easier but by no means should you ever think it's going to be a walk in the park.

    In short if you want to be good, you're going to have to do the legwork.
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    AND in trad med you have to mix the color you want, in digital you can just pick it, there´s a HUGE difference in that.

    I tried oils for the first time like yix years ago or something - and it was crap, nothing worked. Since then I have been doing digital for a while now and NOW going back to oils has been a walk in a park compared to the earlier try. I believe I inherited some kinda color understanding or something of a sort from digi. But they are different and they have to be treated differently.


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    Yeah, I think mixing your colours is a sort of lag when working traditionally. You don't have the ability to just make the colour quickly with yer rgb slider hehe. But atleast i know I'm not the only one now! You were scaring me before! Well I just sat down and did a quick SP, and one thing that is bugging me is colour. I can eye the values just fine but I get so occpied in mixing the right colour, at the right value that i can't keep my head on straight and everything just starts going wrong. So I think I need to get a lot more efficient at mixing colours, and I suppose a large part of my question is answered there. Another thing though that I realised was that I'm not as concious and aware of what I'm doing when working traditionally. I start thinking about going back to school, the time of day, what I'm gonna do tommorrow and shit, and I just kinda drift off. When I work digitally I'm a lot more concious of the edges I'm using, focal points, balance and unity etc. But I don't when working traditionally and that really shows in the work I produce. Are you guys/gals concious of what you're doing when you work traditionally? And by the way, whats premixing?

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    hrm strange ... im much more concious of pretty much everything when doing traditionals (well lets say... attempting traditionals hehe). the part i benefit most there is the mixing though... and to be honest... i hate it. but making you think "what do i have to do to this color to have this color as a result" is awesome for learning. i havent done much traditional stuff yet, but i pay close attention to it (reading the painting from life thread is some awesome resource btw).
    often i sit there and just think about how i would paint something... which colors should i mix.... where to place a stroke and which direction and so on. whatever. often its not only about doing the art, but to really try to get a grasp AND understanding what youre doing and why. (for example you could copy stuff all your life and learn almost nothing other than mimicing stuff... its only really beneficial if you try to understand why this artist did it, at the same time.)

    somtimes it bugs me aswell that there are no shortcuts... on the other hand these skills i worked hard for yet would be worth nothing if there were shortcuts .
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  14. #13
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    I find digital to be way more difficult, to be honest. When you dip your brush into paint, you can feel the weight of it, and you know how it will apply and react, to some degree. Digital is mroe about memorization of brushes and programs. Both can produce lovely art. but I find tradition to be far easier.
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    I agree with Interceptor; honestly, though I'm not great at painting in general, when I use watercolors or acrylics or oils (the times I have used acrylics and oils at least) I really can feel how I have to use it. the viscosity of different paints as well as the brush itself really make a difference to me. for some reason it's just alot harder in painter and photoshop for me to understand how to render things effectively; I guess practice will solve that though.

  16. #15
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    i think your traditional works are way stronger than your digitals. Digital allows you to fake the funk. it may look good to you and your friends but to anyone with art knowledge and a solid understanding of the basics they will fall apart.

  17. #16
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    Thats funny. I enjoy the unpredictable mistakes you get in traditional that you can't get when working digitaly. From an illustrative perspective digital is easy and great. Traditional is ideal for fine art.
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  18. #17
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    Some really good points made here. I'm one of those people who doesn't really think when drawing/painting (from ref). Is that bad?? I actually find it easier to mix colours than to pick one from a chart because you get to select what hues you see or sense and dab X amount of it in your pallet. With the RGB slider I find it more trickey because you have to decide what colour dominates and pick a shade from that (like picking pink when the bar is on the red part of the slide) - what if it has aspects of other colours? (I'm guessing underpainting)


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    I remember one term at Art Center, there was talk of drawing the model in on of the computer labs using the wacom tablet - I thought that was it, its all downhill from here...
    Once you start training digitally, and put the safety net of undos, redos and a million layer options for the student- you will never be able to train the student to reach the point of putting down each stroke as if its the last stroke: The correct stroke, color, value
    When you watch a good painter paint - they spend 3/4th of their time mixing their colors on the pallette - essentially they do the painting on the Pallette...theres hardly any fussing on the canvas.
    You train someone digitally - they will never get to that point - I dont think so
    Last edited by Rascar Capac; April 22nd, 2006 at 10:48 PM.

  20. #19
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    Once you start training digitally, and put the safety net of undos, redos and a million layer options for the student- you will never be able to train the student to reach the point of putting down each stroke as if its the last stroke
    I have to strongly agree witht this. Excellent point.

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    Beat's me, I suck.
    Last edited by tongue-fu; April 25th, 2006 at 12:00 PM.

  22. #21
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    I find traditionnal skill simpler to get -
    - no undo to bother you, if you put a stroke it will be there till the end. You got to learn :p
    - I like to mix my paint ON the canvas. I like how the transparency of red affect the blackness of my background.
    - Brush effect (or the absence of).
    - working with my fingers
    - the size. At my school, portrait drawing is done on a 1,5m*1m sheet. Pleasure . Some of my drawing are 2m*1,5m - when you draw at this size, you get an amazing control on things. I remember that Marko draw big too, and he's not alone.
    About mixing color : with acrylic and watercolor it's just a matter of second. The same you spend finding the right color with you slider.

    Even with a good tablet and a good program (Painter), you don't get that. And there's no bug on a sheet of paper
    But well. I learn fine art, not concept art/design - still the technique is the same (not the result nor the subject )

  23. #22
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    right, I think I get what you guys are saying now. That basically digital gets you into bad habits, that in some form or manner enable you to disguise some of the bad qualities in your artwork. In this case they are highlighted when you do traditional work. Thats why in James kei's latest interview he said he was thankful of having a strong background in fine art. Ah right, I also ask too many questions in the lounge. Hope that changes sooner hehe Thanks a lot people!

  24. #23
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    I'm with Magic Goo on this one.
    I still prefer traditional medium, namely pen and paper. I just can't get used to the feeling of the tablet, it's too smooth. and having your hand on the table while the picture is on your screen is just unnatural.

    What I like about digital is it's cheaper plus no messy paints. or piles of paper and canvas'. easy image transfer. And perhaps the coolest thing about digital is the "happy mistakes", well that's what I call them. once you've done a bit of work on a picture you can just play around with layers and settings and you find something that you normally would be to scared to try traditionally. eg:ramping contrast or using a burn brush. Mistakes sometimes lead to cooler outcomes. hence my love for pen, no erasing means you end up with things that you weren't planning on. like a baby from a one night stand.

  25. #24
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    why is traditional so much harder than digital?
    Because nobody teaches it right?

    I love the undo button by the way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoSeRider
    Because nobody teaches it right?
    WTF!!!

    what school do you go to again?

    (for the record there are hundreds of ateliers (and reputable art schools) across the country. If you can't find somebody to teach you traditional art skills properly somewhere then you fail.)

    fail get.
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    Quote Originally Posted by one2hit
    WTF!!!

    what school do you go to again?

    (for the record there are hundreds of ateliers (and reputable art schools) across the country. If you can't find somebody to teach you traditional art skills properly somewhere then you fail.)

    fail get.
    I don't know of any Ateliers in the UK, any suggestions? Genuinely curious because my "school" sucks ass..
    Last edited by Flake; April 23rd, 2006 at 10:23 PM.

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    digital...traditional...theyre all just mediums and your proficiency with any of them rely heavily on your own personal preferences and experience with them.

    Its like asking "why is water color so much easier than pastel?" The answer is it isnt, you, hypothetically, just have more experience with it.

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    I've said it before, but it bears repeating:
    The only thing a computer makes easier to do is bad work.

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  30. #29
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    Arkady, you're my hero of the week with that quote. And I was basically going to say something like this, but now I don't have to (I won't even fix spelling errors, yeah!):

    theyre all just mediums and your proficiency with any of them rely heavily on your own personal preferences and experience with them
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    I tried out oils today again, but this time with a limited pallette, and they're amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing. I actually had a lot of fun, and gave up my lunch break to work on the portrait. I got a satisfactory result that I was quite pleased with, and I had a lot of fun! Maybe it was those damn acrylics, need to buy a pallette and some linseed oil though for home usage!

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