Sunday, 17 January 2010

...and for my first post... the lure of digital media...

Is it possible to be a productive and successful illustrator these days without becoming a digital artist? i know that the answer is probably yes, but is it a viable approach for someone expecting to make a living?  just in  case the answer is no, i am in the process of honing illustrator and photoshop skills but don't wish to trade in my passion for the hands on media which i know and love; drawing, painting and printmaking.
i know there are plenty of examples of artists and illustrators who employ old school techniques like myself, i wonder if they have had a tough ride, or if the fact that they are something of a novelty in this day and age allows them to occupy a niche. Do people appreciate their skill and the extra time it can take for them to produce their work? and, like me, do they in fact find the work to be more appealing because of the tactile evidence of process and craftsmanship which lies evident in it? as well as this, hand made work showcases the uncontrollable creative mistakes which occur so frequently and often are the features which impart a spontaneity and honesty in the image; features which are so easy to eradicate with digital media.* Are these things which only concern creative people? or does everyone notice?   
 i think that with the versatility of modern software, the highly skilled operator can produce beautiful work digitally. but i think that these individuals are as rare as their counterparts using analogue technologies, and that what is required in any creative enterprise is a balance between a certain level of technical skill and an ability to generate compelling ideas. i strongly believe that in the digital genres, there is an abundance of the former, and a distinct lack of the latter.
The reason that I'm ranting on about all this is that i have reached a bit of a crossroads in my practice. in fact if I'm honest, I've been standing here for a while looking one way, and then the other. i had hoped that writing about it would be cathartic, but i have to say, I'm still chewing on it. i need more illustrator friends!
stick to my guns and wait for the hand-made renaissance (well underway some would argue) or jump on the digital band wagon, invest a great deal of time in training but potentially increase the likelihood of employment? Both i guess, and fast, before procrastination gets the better of me!

*(having said that, has anyone else spent long periods on photoshop or illustrator, then done some pen and paper stuff after and found themselves looking for command+z to erase a mistake?!!)

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