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  1. #1
    danielh68 Guest

    Does the tool make the artist?

    Hi everyone.

    This is just another observation of mine and I'm curious to think what other artists feel about this issue. The issue pertains to ablility/talent versus tools. For instance, I just visited a thread that displayed some amazing pieces by a single artist. Almost all of the responses were great, but a couple oddly stuck out. What made them different is that they seem to give more credit to the tool then the artist, such as "You're great at Photoshop!!!", "I think it's Painter", "I need to spend more time learning PS", "What kind of brushes are you using?", etc. For me, it's just a tool and nothing more. However, I have been labeled by friends as the "Photoshop guy" although I have been sketching and painting all my life. Even at work, I've had people approach and ask how I create characters and paintings in P.S. as if there's a special plugin or filter. Then they look disillusioned when I tell them that I spend hours just meddling with the paintbrush tool just to get a descent image. I guess the bottomline is that these people think I'm more of a computer geek then a traditional artist. Any insight on the matter?


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  3. #2
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    Well as far as Photoshop goes you can tell when someone is going overboard with the filters and shit and it looks like they went overboard on the filters and shit. yano. whereas someone can use PS as a tool to get the look they need and want and crank out some nice looking stuff using filters, layers or whatever,; basically really using PS to its fullest and coming out with some really nice stuff.

    I'm going to give a few examples ( i hope I don't get in trouble with this.)

    Someone that obviously knows Photoshop inside and out but doesn't go over board with filters would be Bobo the Seal (1st thought). Think about it: you have to really know PS to be using it to make some baddass skins everyday, and not look like some weenie that has to compensate skill and an eye for excellence with a damn filter. blaahh.

    Another example would be facezero's Demonia. by the gods that is some beautiful work. But if he would have cheezed out with the filters it would have been crap.

    I could go on yano with the talent in this forum (bengal, sparth, hawkprey, to name a few) I mean for crying out loud hawk makes PS look like a pencil sketch man. it's amazing. these are people pushing PS to its fullest.


    So there may be a lot of credit going out to the tools used but it still boils down to the skill behind the tools when it comes to the finished product.

    Mitch
    There was much rejoicing in the realm of the Harvest Gods when man created the beer, light could not penetrate.

  4. #3
    danielh68 Guest
    Yeah, I agree. I basically feel that the names you mentioned above could excel in any medium within a short time. As a matter of fact, they probably already have experience in a variety of mediums.

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    I understand your concern in this area I just read the thread in facezero's Demonia piece and there are alot people that seem to be looking for THE "secret ingredient" that makes his stuff awesome. But it all boils down to dedication to the craft.
    My fascination from that piece is the use of color and where he's placing it to get the "POP". I always feel that i don't use enough variety of color in a piece to make a desired tone.
    whereas that piece in particular oozes with tone. It's like A Fender Strat.

    mitch
    There was much rejoicing in the realm of the Harvest Gods when man created the beer, light could not penetrate.

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    my answer: no



    but i do think the digital painting programs have created a new breed of artist that can learn from his mistakes quicker and has alot more freedom for taking his piece in whatever direction he wants. but the programs aint shit without some sort of traditional foundation education in drawing, painting from OBSERVATION...yano?
    Last edited by tyboogie; July 29th, 2003 at 12:37 AM.

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    I have hardly any patience for traditional mediums now. It just slows down my creative process when I have to deal with paints and brush's and cleaning brushes etc. I LOVE DIGITAL PAINTING!

    It's the same process to me, just half the time and maintnece.

  8. #7
    danielh68 Guest
    Thanks tyboogie & mcotie for your insights.

    BTW, facezero's image is a fine piece. The texturing is incredible.

    Another great artist I just saw on the board is Nathaniel West. His cityscapes are spectacular. I love his little trick with the warm and cool palette.

    Well, I'm leaving to New Mexico tonight. Catch you guys later.

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    It's funny – sometimes it really can seem that the tools (or the materials) do make a difference. I learned that when I was in college and I had one of those professors who believed that money should be no object when it comes to art supplies (he required us to use a brand of printmaking paper for our drawings that was $25 a sheet :eek: ). But, as much as I hate to admit it, I did far better work that semester than ever before (or since).

    You are all totally right when you say that having the coolest tools can't make up for a lack of talent or hard work. But in the right hands, sometimes those cool tools are the missing piece of the puzzle to really turn out some amazing work.


    And a PS to all you techno-babies out there – if you learn the traditional methods first, I guarantee that your digital work will be ten times better. (Can you tell I'm a bit of a craftsman? Gimme the old-fashioned way any day.)

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    A tool is only as good as the artist. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else, but right now it makes sense to me.

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    There seems to be a bias concerning the use of computers based on ignorance. Let me explain that:

    When people found out I was going to school for "art" they acted impressed. When they found out I did some of this art on the computer, you could actually see that respect drain out of their faces. There's this attitude that art on computers isn't art, that it takes no skill because the tool, the computer, does it all for you.

    One of the main drawing instructors in college had a strong prejudice against computers and often criticized those who painted digitally or who were taking 3-D animation.

    I once talked with him about the very subject of this thread: Does the tool make the artist? He said no. His prejudice was mostly caused by ignorance. He didn't know how to use a computer. He didn't even own one.

    Pencil, pen, acrylic, oil, Bristol or Photoshop... It doesn't matter. It's the human using them that makes the difference.

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    Rim –

    I've seen that same reaction many times. It drives me crazy, especially when those same people come back at you with something like "if I had a good enough computer, I could do it too." As if talent never enters into the picture.

    The biggest reason I recommend learning the traditional methods first is because there are many times when the software incorporates some of the elements of traditions (especially traditional terminology) that will have less meaning if you're not familiar with the tradition in the first place. But as far as what medium a person uses to create the work? Who cares. I've seen tons of people on this site alone whose work far surpasses what I could do, no matter whether it was done with Painter or Photoshop or whatever. And I"m totally content to just sit over here and turn green with envy while I appreciate the work.

    Pete

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    I've only read about half of the replies so far so...If I'm repeating anything or being redundant: Please forgive me.

    A while ago, some good artist posted some really nice drawings that they did in MS Paint. They were great. (Actually, it was about a year ago) They were great because the artist had both talent and practice.

    I, on the other hand, have a fairly nice computer, Painter & and Photoshop, yet I don't think that I could turn out anything better at this point in time using "superdeedooper" programs like Photoshop and Painter.

    It's not the medium or the tools, it's the artist that makes a good picture.

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    I totally agree that it's the artist, not the tools, but some tools just work out better than others for the particular. I started using Painter 5.5 on the Mac and it was awesome. Everything felt just right, the brushes had a great feel to them. Then I switched to a PC and Painter 7. Big difference. Suddenly there was this weird artifacting thing going on with the line tools (which they still haven't fixed, not totally at least) so i switched to photoshop. I eventually got Painter 9 and I just can't get into it. I always feel like I'm fighting it. It seems like every mark i make isn't what i wanted (for color at least). The one thing it still has over photoshop is amazing line tools (scratchboard tool, fine point especially) and great brush tracking.

    On a semi-related note: Anyone know how to make the photoshop tools make smoother lines? Every time I make a long line, it's really wobbly and I gotta redo it.

    Gracias.

    _____
    www.andrewtrabbold.com

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    Well, this conversation is older than computers.

    Give me the shittiest paintbrush on this planet, and I won't be any worse of a painter. The painting will just take longer. Same goes for computers. One of my teachers has said (a line which I really like) "It's not like buying Old Holland paints is going to solve your color issues."

    (I'm just trying to kill a few minutes before class anyway)

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    Daniel by the sound of it you have some experience and it looks like you know your shit. So why the dumb question? Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be abrasive or anything, but everyone here knows the tool has nothing to do with the piece.

    If you want more proof than these forums and the artists that post here, I can scan you some highscool Digi drawings and shit .
    Brendan Noeth


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    July 28th, 2003, 08:43 PM
    I'm just sayin'...

    Tristan Elwell
    **Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial

    "Work is more fun than fun."
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    "Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
    -Marc Maron

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    The issue pertains to ablility/talent versus tools. For instance, I just visited a thread that displayed some amazing pieces by a single artist. Almost all of the responses were great, but a couple oddly stuck out. What made them different is that they seem to give more credit to the tool then the artist, such as "You're great at Photoshop!!!", "I think it's Painter", "I need to spend more time learning PS", "What kind of brushes are you using?", etc.
    my response brings up a point i'd like to share: the obsession of craft and therefore overlooking application in the process.

    i quoted the message above b/c first i'd like to point out that this forum is chock-full of artists, and like in school, we're all around to discuss craft and criticism, constructive hopefully....
    but i think we all-too-often forget about how our art is going to apply in the world outside of academic and the pursuit of perfection. Why don't we discuss, is this art intended to be in a gallery to make people think about something? is this art telling a story, if so, what's the story about and does the art do a good job telling the story?
    is the art meant to hang in the home to enrich the space?

    it's nice to make art for art's sake, but in terms of the tool being pointed out instead of the artist, what about the craftiness of the art being noticed instead of its application in the world?

    how does the art serve a purpose?

    i don't believe craft is more important than story and idea, when it comes to art-making, i think it's important to study and get better, but better at what?
    translating story and idea, to me, is more important than having work look
    impressive and eye-catching... the best works out there are impressive and eye-catching,
    but i think they are strong because they're developed out of strong ideas...

  19. #18
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    Materials can make a big difference. If you want to produce a sharp clean pencil drawing your not gonna go using wallpaper, you'll use a much smoother surface. The artist has to choose his/her materials intelligently to achieve the desired effect.

    So it kind of works out two ways, a certain medium can be used to achieve a certain affect better than another medium but it is the artist that decides how and what to use.

    I hope that sort of makes sense.

    Edit: Crap I didnt realise how ancient this thread was.
    Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell
    July 28th, 2003, 08:43 PM
    I'm just sayin'...
    godammit....
    Brendan Noeth


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    ok, so this thread started 4 years ago...

    what's the big deal that we're responding and discussins it now?

    this thread probably could have essentialy started

    as soon as someone started enjoying the look of berry-juice spread on the wall as pigment instead of charcoal from a fire pit...

    maybe they asked then in a series of grunts,
    "wow, who painted the red bison over here using the berry-juice?"

    "yeah, i'm trying to get better collecteing berries for pigments..."

    see what i'm sayin' ?

    most of these philosophical-art-discussions are MUCH older than hundreds of years...

    cheers

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    *kicks self in the ass* - JAG
    Last edited by JAG.; April 9th, 2007 at 09:53 AM.
    it's only after you've lost everything, that you're free to do anything..

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    No it doesn't, no matter how ancient the thread is.

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    Does a word processor write a novel? Does a recording program create music? Does Photoshop create paintings? No. Computers are not creative, just another outlet for creativity like any other tool.

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    It seems to me that a lot of people think that with a computer you can do every thing better then you would normally. The problem with this idea is that unless you know every thing to know about the program and have the skills that would be needed then it really is no better then any other tool that you don't know.

  26. #25
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    The greater the tool, the easier the imagination can splash onto paper. Can you make something beautiful with just a stick and tar? yea, but i bet you'll create it faster with better tools.

    The thing you imagined though, that is the same in both situations.
    My work: [link]

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    Quote Originally Posted by CamiloDragon
    ok, so this thread started 4 years ago...

    what's the big deal that we're responding and discussins it now?
    Because there is no discussion going on at all. It's just a bunch of people reading the post's title, then responding without reading the previous posts in which everyone has already said the exact same thing.

    Nobody here thinks that the tool makes the artist. There's no need to chime in to declare that you also do not think that the tool makes the artist. It was a rhetorical question in the first place.



    Eric
    www.WhereIsMyEyeball.com My portfolio! Go check it out!
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    Does the artist make the tool?.....



    ...SOMETIMES!

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    Quote Originally Posted by alxcote
    Does the artist make the tool?.....
    YES! You can use a stick and poo!

  30. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0kelvin
    Because there is no discussion going on at all. It's just a bunch of people reading the post's title, then responding without reading the previous posts in which everyone has already said the exact same thing.
    I never check time stamps on posts, I simply assume the topic i see (which is new to me) is new. I hate it when this happens though...I always get fooled when someone decides to play grave digger.
    My work: [link]

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    Hah, old post, but to add a different view to the mix:

    I think that it's a symbiotic relationship, because you need both a tool and an artist. An artist would be nothing without his tool the create, but the tool would be nothing without the artist to hold it.

    Also, I can express myself much better using some tools than others. Hell, even within the same medium, I find myself much better using certain brushes than others. Some brushes are absolute crap and I have to fight them, and others are smooth as sex and do exactly what I want.

    So you may not be completely reliant on the tools you use, there will be a strong bias to some tools over others, and it is on that reliance that your best work will be made. Therefore, your art is made possible by both the nature of the tools and your knowledge of how to use them.

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