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DIGITAL PAINTING

what It IS, Why I use it, and why You Should Care

The beautiful Huion Tablet (Kamvas Pro 24") - how I love it so.

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Just like traditional media, I start with form, shading and colour basics to start.

“What I discovered is that I’m an image maker, and I don’t care how its made—whether it’s through painting or photography or drawing—I just want to create images.”― James Stanford

The above quote by James Stanford frames very well the thoughts I have about Digital Painting; ultimately I see it as no different than other types of accepted art mediums - it is simply newer, and a bit more ephemeral and harder at times for the traditional art world to get used to, or understand.

I built this page to show some of the Digital Painting process, how it is the same as traditional media, how it differs, and hopefully, ultimately, how it is simply another form for artists who simply want to express and bring their ideas and images to light.

Traditionally media, like Watercolour, Oils, Acrylics or Mixed Media are used to build one original creation.  Artists of all kinds: formal, informal, abstract or realistic use these mediums to express their ideas and create their work.  Once an original is created, they can and sometimes do, sell that original - with an option to scan it and sell posters of that original in the future.  Artists can be formally trained or have no training - the end result usually has more meaning than the degree behind it.  However, most artists, either intuitively or through training, know something about form, composition and colour, and apply it to their mediums.  

Digital Painting is no different than its traditional counterpart, but it uses a computer program(s) as its canvas, and produces in the end a digital file that can be printed either as one original, Limited Edition prints, or just a great poster.  Both Traditional and Digital mediums require practice and knowledge of their respective tools.  Traditional artists know their mediums but many cannot use the digital counterparts, some digital artists know their programs inside and out, but could not pick up a physical brush to reproduce it: some amazing talents cross the boundary between both - but both require skills and practice and creativity.  The same knowledge base of colour, form and composition is still needed to create a piece.  The difference is: the paintbrush is a digital one, and for people who really love 3D and Concept art, the limit to what you can do lies only with the ability to use the program and bring those amazing ideas to life.  

Digital Painting, so far as I can tell, is largely dismissed by the Fine Art community, and that is unfortunate.  Like Photography before it, which struggled immensely to be accepted as a Valid Form of Art, Digital Painting has its detractors and its naysayers.  It has yet to find a true foothold in the art world.  Given the immense creativity and beautiful quality of images I have seen, this is indeed a very sad state.  

I can however, given the confusion on technology and what it can do - see where there are questions and where their is room for Digital artists to, well, not really create art but to "cheat" with a program to "Make it for them."  To be fair, that does exist.  Most Digital artists know a "canned" or "pre-made" effect when they see one - but to the person who doesn't know the technology and what it can do, or to an art buyer - it can seem like a real painting.  Just like art world forgeries and scams, digital scams also exist, and sets digital art validity back in its acceptance.  

There also is a difference between "Digital Painting" and "Photographic Manipulation".  Many wonderful photographers put their photos into programs and manipulate and/or add to them to create beautiful composites or simply to colour correct their work.  I think of it as a "Digital Mixed Media".  Digital Painting however is using a program like "Corel Painter" or "Procreate" to create from scratch (usually) a new image.  Like a traditional artist might use a photo or a model as a reference, so too can the digital painting artist.

Digital acrylics, oils, watercolours, as well as a huge variety of digital brushes and effects

can be used. Ultimately, it is still a blank canvas awaiting an idea and the ability to use

the tool to create it.  This is what I do, and what I enjoy using to create my art.

While I have studied and created within the traditional mediums (Acrylic and Watercolour), I have also studied, created and made a career in visual effects and digital art. My paintings these days are done digitally because A: I lack a proper studio space or the ability to afford one for traditional media, B: I'm impatient and I appreciate and love the  ability to immediately layer new digital paint on top of another layer, C: it's flexibility in the size and output of the final piece and D: the ability to bring in other digital elements if I so choose, such as my own photography or other mediums like 3D composites.  I work on a large tablet monitor (painting on the monitor itself), and for me, it's just like working on a canvas.

As for the "Why Should I Care" portion of this page - well, you should care if you are an artist, gallery owner, or lover of art - so you can appreciate what digital painting has to offer, so you can educate yourself on the various forms and what to spot in a scam, and so you can further its acceptance in the art world; allowing more brilliance, beauty and creativity to shine.

I'm not sure if my work is brilliant, or creative, but as James Stanford said above: "I just want to create images" - and for me to add, that I hope those images I may create, bring some beauty to the world.  

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