Although digital painting has always been a fascinating subject to me, and I think it’s amazing how a technique is
executed in minutes when it normally takes days to get the same effect by hand, I can’t help but think it takes away the integrity of a real painting done by a truly skilled artist. With “digital” painting there is no real artistic talent used in applying the techniques that are mimicked by digital painting programs.
Digital painting, for those who are still unaware, is an art form in which traditional painting techniques are demonstrated using digital tools in computer software, or a digitizing tablet and stylus. The “artist” uses painting techniques to create the digital painting on the computer. Included in the programs are brushes that are digitally styled to portray the traditional style of painting as with oils, acrylics, and water paint. Creating with the effect of charcoal, pen, and pastels is also an available tool. In most programs, the user can even create their own brush style using both shape and texture, which is important in bringing traditional and digital painting together as an authentic looking product.
Although digital painting has always been a fascinating subject to me, and I think it’s amazing how a technique is executed in minutes when it normally takes days to get the same effect by hand, I can’t help but think it takes away the integrity of a real painting done by a truly skilled artist. With “digital” painting there is no real artistic talent used in applying the techniques that are mimicked by digital painting programs. They are applied by using digital tools in the computer software. It’s hard for a traditional artist to think of a person using this kind of software as authentic. Not to say they don’t have an “eye” for color or have a lack of vision, but what about the skill of actually using physical mediums and tools? Not to mention the feeling of accomplishment that comes with finishing a painting that has been lovingly worked on for a while, mixing paint to get the perfect color, and, by trial and error, getting that effect you’ve been striving to achieve. The whole style of the artist is different.
Many traditional artists are very physical with their paintings and will use hands, feet, clothes and whatever else to get a certain effect or texture. They like to mix the paints with an actual palette knife, use mediums to adjust the paints, apply the paints to a real surface, and work a painting until it is finished with great satisfaction. They especially appreciate learning from mistakes made and skillfully correcting them… not by selecting “undo” in a software program, but by hand.
I can see where it would be tempting to use a digital program just for the fact you have a palette of a million
colors to choose from, and the ability to take back mistakes in an instant. However, it’s still apparent to me that these digital programs should be used primarily for work and school projects or on a commercial level for graphic designers. Fine artists who want a hands-on relationship with painting mediums and their smells, canvases and their textures, and the overall messiness of using their fingers as tools should stay authentic and true to their craft.