Saturday, June 05, 2010

the hand that holds the light saber

What about technique, what about practice. That's the easy part. You repeat and repeat again until your body can move the tools along-with your mind. Half is training the body memory, the other part is harder. Drawing on paper is intimate, you embrace your writing tool, anchor your paper, focus your mind to put it on the paper. The years of writing on paper makes this second nature. Folks who draw should know this well. It takes a while before you can treat computer drawing the same as drawing on paper. Depends on your tools, your focus and your practice. I talk and type more than draw so it's taking me a little longer.

I am pretty comfortable using a mouse. The mouse is fine for vector drawing, a more constrained technique. The digital pen and graphic tablet is wilder because you feel the drawing. First the pen doesn't have a rolling ball that grips the page and lets out ink or is not lead that dislodges from the pencil and smudges into the paper. The smooth tip glides across the smooth tablet surface, so that the feel is different. With practice you get used to this. Second there is pressure, it is adjustable but getting it to feel right takes time, plus you also can use this to great advantage. Then if you don't have a direct view pen tablet, like the Wacom Cintiq tablets or a tablet PC, the tablet is in your lap or on your desk and you look up at the screen. So, you are not looking where your pen is but where the cursor is on the screen. Thus the Jedi theme, "stretch out with your feelings Luke!" 

Every application is a special case and a new skillset. Though there is some crossover, each app has it's own interface, tools and quirks. In GIMP, you can paint, draw, photo touch-up and do some vector. In Inkscape vector is prime but it will export a bitmap if you need it. Blender 3d is a world that can incorporate elements from either GIMP and or Inkscape. You don't have to know them all really well, just what you need to know to get the job done. Over time you will amass a huge basket of skills, some not written in any book or tutorial.

The fuss over digital art is huge. Digital art covers simple pixel art all the way to animation and film. It can be viewed on small screen, large screen or be printed on anything. How it is applied depends on our focus.

A guy I know in the IT field said if you want to know IT hang with the geeks. I will say it is true also with digital art on some levels. While we artist tend to disappear into our own cave of wonders to create without distraction, the art community is how we calibrate ourselves, get tips, give advice and become apt at the business of art. Digital art is still gaining respect in traditional media circles and becoming a class act in its own right. Art schools, museums and galleries tend to be gated communes that is, tightly controlled. There are also more open venues, art shows and such. Because we use computers, perhaps we could virtually gather, still I think local face to face is warm and encouraging.

Go dabble!

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