Does your digital practice improve your traditional skills?

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  1. #1
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    Does your digital practice improve your traditional skills?

    I'm not looking for the absolut truth about this subject, nor looking for a scientific explanation, I just want to hear about your experiences.

    So, empirically I know that practicing with traditional media (pencils, acrylics, oils, etc.) helped to improve my digital painting skills a lot. On the other hand, I've been doing a lot of digital-only pieces (generating traditional media textures or basic sketches/layouts at the most) and I see a lot of improvement in that area. Buuut, I feel that my traditional skills are somehow getting poorer, so I plan to go back to the drawing board soon.

    I'm just curious, let me know what you think.

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  3. #2
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    i think every time you draw, it improves you. no matter what you draw with.

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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrr
    i think every time you draw, it improves you. no matter what you draw with.
    100% agreed.

    * Help a CA artist! Visit the Constructive Critique section! *


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  5. #4
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    The understanding of form, color and other things you learn when painting digitally will still count when you paint traditionally. So i guess its safe to say that digital practice will help improve your traditional skillz.

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  7. #6
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    i used to draw with my paper rotated in various degrees, but can't do that with a wacom, screws up that hand-eye coordination thing, so i've gotten over that habit and am able to almost draw any line/shape without rotating the paper.

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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ah.heng
    i used to draw with my paper rotated in various degrees, but can't do that with a wacom, ...

    oh, you can, if you using corel painter, just use the hotkey "e", and you'll able to rotate as you wish


    by the way, my opinion is: the digital work and the traditional, must walk toguether, digital gives you quick resourses and the gods most usefull tool : "CTRL+Z" lol, so, you can test and test and taest again, without risc of loose your paper or spend lots of materials on it. BUT i believe that great ideas there's no time or place to apear, and you can walk everywere with a laptop and a tablet... so, walk around with your sketchbook and keep praticing in PC at night.

    c ya

    ps.: please, sorry about my english
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  9. #8
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    My traditional art suffers because of digital practice. Maybe it's because I have a 4x6 IntuosII, or maybe it's because I just can't get the loose control that others have with digital. All I know is, as I fight to use digital, my traditional skills seem to vanish


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  10. #9
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    Yeah man I think it helps...as I think practically every creative endeavor would help. If you take photos, you'll get ideas for odd compositions, or an idea for lighting you wouldn't have thought of. If you sculpt you'll see a certain form in a whole new way. I'm kind a noob at digital but I'm already getting ideas about texture and color combos and thinking "hmmm..how would I translate this to oil paints"...
    just my thoughts

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    Quote Originally Posted by m o я p h o
    you can walk everywere with a laptop and a tablet... so, walk around with your sketchbook and keep praticing in PC at night.

    c ya
    i think you meant to say 'can't walk around with laptop and tablet'. well i know a guy who bought a tablet PC just so he could digi-sketch on the go.

    but yeah, you're right. practise more on your sketchbook than on your PC. if you can't draw good stuff on paper, chances are you can't draw good stuff on the computer either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ah.heng
    i think you meant to say 'can't walk around with laptop and tablet'. well i know a guy who bought a tablet PC just so he could digi-sketch on the go.

    but yeah, you're right. practise more on your sketchbook than on your PC. if you can't draw good stuff on paper, chances are you can't draw good stuff on the computer either.

    oh man, sorry , you're right, unfortunately, my english isn't so good...
    sorry all for the mistake

    tablet PC? i don't know this! O.o

    ps.: please, sorry about my english
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  13. #12
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    I agree, any drawing no matter where you do it will increase your skill. Personally though I find my traditional practice increases my digital skills much more than the other way around.

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    I'm going to throw a wrench in here that some of you might want to kill me over...

    Digital doesn't do a damn thing for your hand skills as far as traditional art is concerned. It does open up more possibilities in the realm of color, easily making major/minor element shifts, producing a cleaner more accurate drawing--especially in bezier, and keeping your clothes clean, BUT...

    The act of drawing, painting and image manipulation based on intuition only are the result of traditional media, and don't carry over well to the digital world. The use of a mouse, trackball, or even a tablet is counter to that set of skills. In fact, it's a whole new set of mind/muscle connections that actually hurt the traditional training you received.

    Sorry to revert to my "I'm Old, Dude..." mode, but I need to here for proof...

    Thirty years ago:

    I could execute a complete drawing with a stripping brush and ink, with running lines from nearly invisible to a pica across without a single mistake or even thinking about it.

    I could execute an entire painting from ground wash through impasto, then to final dry brush gradations so sensitive and subtle IN FOUR OR FIVE STROKES that not many of you could do it with all the opacity/brush/pressure controls at your command in PS or Painter in less than 40 or 50 hand-movements.

    I could draw with a brush and ink faster than any of you probably can now with digital.

    I have yet to see anything digital over any length of time that approaches what can be done with a conte or lithographic crayon in five minutes.

    After roughly 20 years on the machine, these skills have deteriorated to the point that I'd be embarrassed to try them in front of an audience. The belief that your hand skills improve in the real world as you CG skills improve is BULLSHIT, plain and simple. It's like trying to convince me that you can produce a better cat by more careful cross-breeding of fish and camels.

    You MUST--MUST--continue in both media sets or you will "traditionally" die, and it's such a subtle progression that you may not be aware it's happening til it's too late to go back.

    DO NOT confuse speed/undo/clean toys to play with with the real world of hand skills. They are two different animals, and they will never be the same until technolgy advances to the point that it's possible to "feel" the viscosity of your paint, the drag of your graphite or litho, or the action of your brush as it moves around in that techno-window you're looking through right now.

    Throw stones, throw rotten fruit or dog shit. I don't care. I can prove my opinions, and they aren't opinions, they're facts. Convince me I'm wrong without "guessing" or "excusing" at your "nice shiney monitor end"...if you can. I'm willing to listen and learn...I'm old, I'm not fuckin' brain-dead.

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    Hmm...interesting Ilaekae. I haven't painted traditionally in almost 2 years. I'm about to start on a project using watercolor and acrylics, and now I'm curious to see how it turns out. I'll probably post the results when I'm done. Unless they suck. In which case I'll fully support you.

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    Traditional practice will improve traditional skills / Digital practice will improve digital skills.

    Unedtanding the fact that you undestand color, form, anatomy, etc, things that are moslty just stored information of things you learned by re-creating in a digital or traditional method.

    Never the less. muscular memory is different, as well as the textures you can acomplish using traditional materials. As well as the fact that in tradtional media you work with colors in a reflected light, and in digital you use proyected light.


    However, you can make some simple materials to feel the same in bouth mediums, like a simple lead pencil ( but you need to know quite a lot about all the possible configurations your digital pen can have), Some other mediums are almost imposible to fully imitate with today´s technology ( but is impressive nontheless).

    So there are 3 choices:
    - Use traditional mediums only
    - Use Digital mediums only ( this option must be an abomination for older generations, but it is an option)
    - Use bouth.

    Still, people starting with traditional and then moving to digital will still preffer a method that imitates whatever your muscles recorded. For example, someone who preffers rendering with a mechanical pencil might like to use small digital brushes with the oppacity jitter on...etc.( but is still different)

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  17. #16
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    The act of drawing, painting and image manipulation based on intuition only are the result of traditional media, and don't carry over well to the digital world. The use of a mouse, trackball, or even a tablet is counter to that set of skills. In fact, it's a whole new set of mind/muscle connections that actually hurt the traditional training you received.
    How do you explain people like Justin Sweet? He draws traditionally and digitally, although I'm not certain if one has been neglected over the other?

    I just want to pursue digital because of the game industry or graphic novel industry.

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  18. #17
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    Sweet obviously does what many artists do today...he works equally (as much as possible) in both types of media. This is the ONLY way to preserve both sets of skills...

    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

    Ironically, the concept of SIMPLICITY is most often misunderstood by simple-minded people. --Alj Mary
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  19. #18
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    I pointed that out, actually...

    I was going on the basis that fedezz's question was technique oriented ("hand's on skills"), not "brain" skills...

    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

    Ironically, the concept of SIMPLICITY is most often misunderstood by simple-minded people. --Alj Mary
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  20. #19
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    Ilaekae: YES YES YES YES YES YES YES.

    There's no way ANY digital program has been able to emulate the way light acts upon pigment accurately. I've become far less confident in my skills with "irreversible" media and honest to god have been watching dust collect of my oil paints out or fear of screwing up, wasting paint, embarrassing myself, etc.

    ...maybe I'll use some crayons this weekend. Gotta start small.

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  21. #20
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    Wow, never expected so many responses.

    Ilaekae said
    I was going on the basis that fedezz's question was technique oriented ("hand's on skills"), not "brain" skills...
    You got my point right, my question was indeed technique oriented. I think by now we all agree that you improve your "brain" skills (I'll borrow your term because I can't find a better one), like color or composition, no matter if you go digital or traditional. Regarding technical abilities, I feel exactly what you describe in your first reply. For example, I've found that it takes me lots of time to do a fully rendered pencil drawing. After I lay down the basic lines I start to rush things just like I would do digitally, so everything start to get ugly and I just think "I'll fix that later...", just to find that I cannot create another layer. This leads to long sessions in the lightbox to get even the simplest of drawing done.
    Because Sweet was mentioned, I'd like to point that Ashley Wood walks the same path, switching schizophrenically between traditional and digital, and mixing them to a point where you can't tell when one ends and the other start.

    Ilaekae said
    They are two different animals, and they will never be the same until technolgy advances to the point that it's possible to "feel" the viscosity of your paint, the drag of your graphite or litho, or the action of your brush as it moves around in that techno-window you're looking through right now.
    Steph Laberis said
    There's no way ANY digital program has been able to emulate the way light acts upon pigment accurately.
    Actually, I prefer that to stay that way (being two different things, I mean). I'd rather see digital painting software evolve in its own strengths than trying to emulate something they could never be (and that's one of the reasons why I use PS instead of Painter). I think that way it can get rid of the stigmata of being the cheap copy of the real thing.

    It's great to see so many points of view, keep posting!

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  22. #21
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    Ilaekae, I could hug you. But your whiskers scare me.

    Anyway, for myself, I find that when I spend more time on the computer, my illustration skills begin to suck like a black hole. When I go traditional, I *always* do better. I've gotten to where I really don't draw on the computer anymore. I'll scan an illustration in and paint it there.

    But all that said, I agree with Ilaekae 100%.

    ~Oreg.


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  23. #22
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    Once again, Ilaekae delivers a true pearl of wisdom.

    To me, digital media is a nice shortcut, and does produce some wonderful art, but IMO will never truly replace traditional mediums. There are some things you just can't reproduce 100% with a computer. This is why, in my experience, I have stayed the course with my pencils and pens, and have not gone totally CG.



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