Thursday, 25 August 2011

Venturing into Digital Art!

From time to time my daughter in Sweden sends me the artistic offerings of her five children, in particular those of her one little daughter, five-year-old Hafsah, such as the one above which is a portrait of me!

I love to see them and I am very encouraged by the way Hafsah draws and paints with such confidence. Long may it continue!

But recently something new arrived by email – two of Hafsah’s digital paintings!

The Pink Panther on Television

As you know, I have my reservations about digital art. But I think these are great fun and they seem to have succeeded in keeping that spontaneous, ‘hand-drawn’ look that is sometimes lacking in digital art.

Hafsah's friend, Sarah

For someone who isn’t much interested in digital art, maybe it is strange that I do actually own a graphics tablet? It was a Christmas gift from my son and I use it almost daily to clean up my designs – ie to remove little marks and bits of fluff that have been picked up in the scanner or even little splashes of paint or glue that aren’t easy to see with the naked eye but which sometimes show up when the cards are printed.

To begin with, I had a very hard time coordinating what I was drawing on the tablet with what I intended to draw on the screen and I practised by writing my name until it became legible. 

I was comforted to find that another artist friend found it even more challenging than I did; though, on the other hand, a non-artist friend took to it like a duck to water, when I allowed him to ‘play with’ my tablet! Maybe it’s something to do with the way the male brain is wired? Could there be a connection with the way men generally find parallel parking so much easier than women do?

But I’ve found that the more I use the pen and tablet, the easier it has become and I am at last able to draw recognisable people and objects with it. I still find it rather awkward and unpredictable, though, compared to using paper and pencil. I think this may be something to do with the way I normally draw – not in single clear lines but more as if I am feeling my way around a shape. People have suggested I should try sculpture but I call it my ‘Annigoni’ method. And I still find the difference in pressure required on the tablet somewhat disconcerting!

I seem to have a low boredom threshold when it comes to my artwork. So when I feel the first signs of waning enthusiasm, I try something new, just for the fun of it! I had been wondering whether it would work to draw my design in the normal ‘dead tree-ware’ way, scan it and then work on it with my tablet and pen. Recently, an afternoon of experimenting and ‘playing with my tablet’ was an excellent antidote to staleness and this is the result:

I don’t think it’s something I shall do all that often; maybe just when the subject seems especially suited to this style. Nor do I know whether any dentists would really want to send this to their patients as a check-up reminder. But as it cost me nothing but time to produce it, I thought I might as well post it on Zazzle, just in case!

And I would have found this Jewish New Year Card very tedious to paint neatly so doing it digitally worked well for me:

It certainly wasn't quicker than painting it traditionally would have been. But I learned a lot from creating this design digitally. So, while I was about it, I created a Diwali design, putting into practice the lessons I'd learned - such as blowing it up to at least 200% from the start saved me a lot of 'cleaning up' time later!  The finished traditional Rangoli pattern found its way on to all sorts of Diwali gifts as well as greeting cards; so watch out for it in next Monday's post on my other blog . . .

It’s also nice to know that, if it ever comes to the point where this ‘starving artist’ can no longer afford expensive art supplies, my ‘naughty pencil’ will still have my graphics tablet for a playground!



SFCount said...

Good for you, Judy! I admire the fact that, despite your reservations, you at least are giving it a chance. Many people would stubbornly refuse to try it and may miss out on discovering a very useful tool.

Sandra van Doorn said...

i dream of having a graphic tablet!! i think that as an artits it is always wonderful to mix different medias, digital is just another one!
love your blog BTW, just dicsovering it :)
x sandra

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you, Sarah! I thought you might be surprised by this 'new development'!

One of the things that put me off a lot of digital art was that it's somehow 'too perfect'. But I've discovered that it's perfectly possible to retain some of my usual 'imperfections' when using the graphics tablet :)

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Sandra - thank you for your kind comments and welcome to my blog! I hope you'll find some past posts to interest you, just as I did when I visited yours :)

BTW, I don't think a small graphics tablet need cost very much if you shop around.

art2cee2 said...

Glad you are branching out...always good to try new things. I love the kid's free and creative! :-)

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Crystal - glad you enjoyed Hafsah's art. Wish we could all be that 'free and creative' all the time!

And you're right about it always being good to try new things - especially if you're feeling a bit stale or 'blocked'.

I'd never tried collage until last year and now I'm quite at home with it - and some of my collages are top sellers too :)

leartiste67 said...

Hi Judy,

I'm always mixing up traditional with digital art myself! It's lots of fun! Just let your hand guide the pen! Congratulations on you blog, too. Very informative! Take a look at my link:

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Anna - thank you for stopping by and sharing your work on flickr. You certainly do have fun with your images!

I found a little trick for coordinating my hand and eye with the graphics tablet. I remembered being told when I was learning to drive, not to look at the ground straight in front of the car but to look at where I was intending to go. That helped me to get the steering right, which I found difficult on the particular car I was learning on. And it worked with the graphics tablet too :)

Country Mouse Studio said...

Your granddaughter has a future ahead as an artist too just like grandma. I think the dentist card is very truthful but I bet it will sell

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you, Carole :)

My granddaughter is only five years old so I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that nobody takes away her confidence in the next few years!