Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Digital Art Is Not "Real Art"

-By Dan Luvisi

I had a little bit of a revelation the other day when I read someone's comment on Facebook saying: (Totally paraphrased, but this was the gist of it):

"Digital Art is not real art, and you're a fool for thinking so."

I was really peeved at first, after been training and studying digital art since I was 15 (28 now). Calling back to all the people I had to prove to, that I was actually painting and not just touching up photos like everyone thought Photoshop was used for. I wanted to write this big whole paragraph up, then I realized I was 28-years old and on Facebook, about to argue with a kid who had never drawn in his life.

So I stopped and moved on. But as the week passed, the idea of this kept on hitting me. It reminded me of the teachers and older artists that would roll their eyes at me whenever I brought up Photoshop in school, like I was this huge fake. It reminded me of comments on websites and blogs, bashing realistic paintings and so forth.

But then I realized that I had become that way against people that Photo-Bashed, and everything kinda clicked. But first, let's jump back.

My father was a traditional painter. You know how you remember specific moments in your life, and can practically see it? I recall my father showing me a massive oil painting he did, of this woman, clad in fur-hide, holding a spear. It looked real to me. I was so impressed, and wanted to be just like my father.

Inspired to paint or draw like him one day, I picked up drawing at around 3-4. I began with pencils, believe it or not. I know, all you guys have seen is much of my digital art, but don't worry, I actually do draw with pencils and pens. I grew up on them, drawing on anything that I could. My grandfather owned a print-shop, and would deliver boxes of sketchbooks that I fill to the brim in days.

As I grew up, I continued with pencils until one day I stumbled across this very exact image, by Justin Sweet.


I remember losing my mind over it, knowing right there, this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So Justin, if you're out there, I know we've never met, but thank you for inspiring me to take a risk. From there, I dropped traditional tools and for the next four years of High-School, taught myself how to use Photoshop in a day where there was not many people teaching...how to use Photoshop.

Now, this is a risk that would cause lots of debates in school. I had several art teachers in High-School and junior college and each one of them disliked me. I never received above a C in any of my art classes and you want to know why? Not because we didn't get a long (mostly due to different generations, and looking back, I can see why), but because I chose to bring a crappy back-in-the-day Wacom tablet to class, when every other student was using pencils or charcoal--painting plants and fruits, no less.

I wasn't being an asshole by any stretch, digital painting was perfectly welcomed by the class. They had the computers set up for it, and they had the programs (this was back in the early 2000s, so Photoshop was not as snazzy as it is now) that would allow digital art.

But my teachers despised it. Saying Photoshop is for hacks and people that don't know how to draw. Digital art will never catch on and I'm silly for thinking otherwise. There was so much hostility against an art form, that it made me begin to realize that it wasn't due to wanting to learn it, but that it was because it was a new medium taking over and making it easier than what my teachers once had to use. They saw how fast art could be produced, and to me, I believe that intimidated them. They never wanted to understand the process or the art farm, they simply would disregard it.

I caught another glimpse of this when John Lassetter, CEO of Pixar, began to introduce 3D-generated animation to Disney, and they practically laughed him out of the room. A lot of the traditional animators began to question it, asking if it was an end of the era for Disney Animation. He got flack and slapped around, but thankfully stuck to his gut, and as you can very much see, has inspired and changed the way Hollywood treats animated films now.

Being something new, I stuck to it. I kept on practicing, trying to get better at digital painting, inspired by the others around me doing the same thing. But it kept on getting a bad rep. People saying digital art wasn't real, and that people just cheated when they used it, bashing together photos and what not.

See, I'm one of those artists that spends days, hours and weeks on a painting, trying to push everything that I can. My business partners see it in the office I work at. I usually am glued to my computer when I'm really into a painting, and will spend hours rendering tiny things. Over the years, I've developed my own style, which I guess could be hyper-real (using others' words, not my own).

Every now and then I'd read a comment going "Looks like a photo, this isn't art." "Is this just photography? Don't call it a painting then."

I fought this question forever, always using a rebuttal of "It's my style." "I love details." "It's the only thing that calms me when I paint. It's how I meditate."

Thankfully I grew out of that, and it became my style and you either like it or not. As the years passed, new art styles changed as well, and eventually photo-bashing came about. For work or freelancing? I totally get it. We're all on the same timer, and time is money.

Now I know we live in a day now where photo-bashing is the new hip thing to do. I've seen hundreds of copy-cats throw it about on art websites or Facebook, and quite frankly, I'm getting a little tired of it. Why? Well, the same reason I'm writing this article.

But then artists began clinging on and doing it. It became a fad. The cool thing to do. People that don't even work in the business, just bashing to photo-bash because some of the greats did it. I started seeing less painted art, and more Franken-photos. And honestly, I got upset over it.

Why is this now okay, but I had to struggle to prove myself that I was really doing it when someone else was just slapping photos together and getting the same feedback?

But then it clicked, it's not about that: Times change, art and styles evolve, and the world will not wait up for you, so you better adapt one way or the other.

That's not to say painting will ever die, but I've come to realize that we are in one of the most prolific times ever, where technology is literally evolving every hour of the day, techniques are improving and doubling, and there is not only just one way to produce art.

Art is art, it will always be a universal expression of creativity, imagination and story telling, whether through music, painting, sculpting, or writing.

The lesson I learned is, don't be so quick to judge just because you don't prefer the medium being used. It matters not the tool used, but the product that was born from it. A lot of artists have put thousands of hours into honing their craft, and growing the gut to put it out there for the world to see.

And I think that's a lot more powerful than the debate of whether digital art is real or not.


Goofy says hello.

70 comments:

  1. Generally I think of the people who see digital work as "not really art" as being not much different to the (British) Royal Academy when they ranked watercolour as one of the least prestegious media, to the point that several members seceded and formed what would become the Royal Watercolour Society so their work would gain fair recognition. Pretty sure acrylics were looked down on too at one point

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  2. Oh I'm doing a module on this at University, just because it's digital doesn't make it any less art in my opinion, there is a statue of a horse in the center of London that was sculpted by Scott Eaton in zBrush and 3d printed and I can guarantee people would accept it as art, but if they were told how it was made, their opinions would change.

    As for photobashing, I'm not a fan, in the work place and production pipeline sure, it's required for speed, but personal work I will stick to the brush, I saw the Level Up! demo by Maciej Kuciara and it was comprised of just photos, barely any painting went into it, and it made me depressed, yes it kind of looked cool, but there was no human aspect to it, it was a lens that had captured the images not the eye/hand combination.

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    1. Sorry Andrew, but in photography the eye DOES capture the image, part of what makes it the great image it is.....

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    2. Of course the eye directs the photograph, but the eye does not technically capture the image, what I was trying to state in my original comment is that when something is painted and captured by the combination of our eyes and hands working together, there is more life to it than just a photograph snapped off Google Images.

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    3. The eye ALWAYS captures the image, no matter what device you are using. Unless you are blind.

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    4. The eye aids in capturing the image, it is not the eye alone, when you take a photograph, it's the camera that captures the image, the eye directs it, when drawing something from life, the eye is the filter and the hand does the drawing, it is not only the eye that captures the image, so when people photobash, they're bypassing that filter (which for productions is fine, time is money) but as I stated above, in personal work I prefer to see an image that has been painted.

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  3. People who don't do digital art don't understand that there is an entire (different) knowledge base required for manipulating digital tools. (And by "manipulating" I don't just mean "photo manipulation," although that has its place.) I have worked in both traditional and digital media and the skill sets are very different, but they are still skills (that is, it is possible to suck at digital coloring, for example, as well as be really good at it).

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  4. One interesting thing that I keep bringing up when at school currently is that if you were to take a digital painting, print it off on really badass canvas, matte and frame it, basically make it the best it could be, and then delete the original file, then what does the digital painting become?
    Does it then achieve traditional painting status?
    Does it then just become a limited print?
    This kind of thing is a confusing issue for me because I believe strongly that digital is just as powerful as traditional media, it's just that - another media really.
    I personally don't think that it matters what media you use for your piece, because it's not the materials that matters, it's what you do with them.
    Anyway, great article!

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    1. Your question, about printing out the digital and then deleting the file, is a fascinating one. It really has me thinking about. I don't know that it is anything I would be inclined to do, but still really interesting!

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    2. While I can't cite any examples right nos, I was told in an art history class that when photography first started going into galleries, they were looked down upon because they were copies of an original, so to counteract that notion, photographers would destroy the negatives and make a numbered set like for printmaking.

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  5. Boy, these last two posts come a really key time for me. I decided to go digital and was a little "embarrassed" for wimping out. But now I realize it's not the tool you use, it's you, yourself and how much work you put into your art is what matters.
    Thanks Arnie and Daniel for posting these.

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    1. You'll realize that you feel out of your comfort zone just like with any other new media. :) Good luck!

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  6. Art to me is decision making. Where your first stroke starts and where it end is a decision you make regardless of whether you're holding a wacom or a brush. When you decide to use a certain colour over another, which elements come into the foreground, background...When you decide to stop painting and start. The decision making and the judgement that comes with it doesn't change, but the efficiency does.

    I recently received flack from a writer about using the digital medium, saying that digital artists can never be as good as the traditional equivalent, which frustrates me. Craig Mullins and Jaime Jones stand as testaments of people who can cross these bounderies effortlessly, and these sort of comments sound to me as elitist remarks, but only for the sake of elitism and do tend to come from people who don't generally paint.

    In hindsight, I should have told her that writers that type will never be as good as those who write.

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    1. Okay, that typing v. handwriting comment made me laugh. Pretty close to perfect analogy!

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  7. Very good post!
    An interesting point to all of this is that whether it is traditional or digital, it all begins with a thought. You draw this thought either on paper or a wacom. A lot of digital artists scan their drawing to base their finished painting, traditional artists transfer their drawing to canvas, panels, etc.. What is the difference? Some do traditional media to begin a painting and finish digitally. I used to be biased against digital art because at that time it seemed to harsh to me, but since the programs have gotten so much more refined and able to produce the textures that traditional media have I have become a great admirer of the art form and am studying it currently to expand my own art. I faced the same criticism when I learned acrylics and airbrush. It's not the medium you use it is the mind and the thought behind the art. That is what counts most.

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  8. I always believed that a true artist was someone who could take any medium and create something beautiful. They could take crayons or dirt and berries or garbage or whatever. I honestly don't even understand why this is even a controversial issue, other than people being pretentious. Anyone that thinks that digital art isn't "real" art - they probably also think a lot of things that aren't part of their personal experience are also not legitimate. That kind of narrow minded thinking is why we have poverty and wars. It's disgusting.

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  9. Very nice reeading!
    Makes me think about what new things are coming and how we have to adapt, because we have to survive if we want to have a job or have food and also how to deal with the bad critics or how people blame you for the way oyu di things, thanks for this article Dan very inspiring and just one last thing to say the same as Justin sweet inspired you you have inspired a lot of peopple in the same way so that´s a big price for you man.
    Greetings!

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    1. oh and last idea i´m "young" and noobie in the art insutry but i´m really tired of the looong debate about wha´ts art and what´s not so i decided everything painted, image, etc i see if it likes me and makes me said OG it works as art for me.
      End of the message.

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  10. I think most ppl just tend to forget that photoshop is just a tool, a multi tool that lets its user make a brush that is fitting of the situation. they seem to forget how much digital artist still practice skills they have as a traditional artist.

    in a way, to me, digital artist is more artsy than traditional artist who sold a painting of a blue canvas for millions of dollars

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  11. I'v sort of experience this myself to some extent; I'm currently in the last year of doing my A-levels and I do both art and product design and the opinions on digital work in the two vary to a ridiculous amount. There is a lot of emphasis on CAD/CAM in product design and although I'm only one of a few people that use it creating 3D models and getting them 3D printed are really encouraged.

    Comparatively in art a few weeks a ago i started doing some digital sculpture for which i ended up teaching myself blender, and the response has been really negative. I do a fair amount of sculpture through a traditional medium and really I wouldn't say its any easier to do it digitally, the challenges are different but its not simple by any means.

    I think half the problem is that despite my best efforts digital sculpting isn't really understood by my art teachers but

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    1. *at the same time there's definitely a fair amount of snobbery involved as well.

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  12. it suppose not to have any answer 。Just how you think about it

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  13. Good for you! To the people who say it's not "real art" -- good riddance! You have to work just as hard as any other artist, you're just using different tools. I think it's funny -- back when cameras started becoming popular and photographers were working hard to learn this new type of art, they were considered "not real artists" because they didn't have to paint the scene, they were capturing it. Ironically, photography (especially film) has always been an incredibly difficult art to master. Now, with the new wave of digital photography taking over, it's happening all over again.

    I am a digital photographer, and I was at a mixer one time taking photos as a favor to the person who was putting the event on, and some stranger walked up to me and the first words out of his mouth were, "you're not a real photographer." I was taken aback.

    "Excuse me?" I said.

    He went on to inform me that because I was using a digital camera, that did not make a me a real photographer. That real photographers only shoot film, because it is much harder and they don't manipulate their images in Photoshop. It was the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. And don't get me wrong, I agree that film is a LOT harder than digital. But that doesn't make one "real" art and the other "fake". They are two different tools that offer different ways of achieving things, and that is all. To say that film photographers don't manipulate their images is absurd -- what is a dark room for?

    The irony of it all is that this man didn't know who I was, he just saw some young girl taking digital photos at a mixer. He had no idea that I am a professional fine art photographer. I have an agent that has sold more pieces than I can count to the interior design industry. People ooh and ahh over my work and buy it and hang it on their walls and love it. And I'm not saying this to sound vain, because for every person that loves my work there are plenty of people that don't like it at all. I don't really care either way, I'm just happy that I can make money doing what I love. But I find it hilarious that some stranger was hell bent on telling me I wasn't a real photographer and all I wanted to say to him was, "you should tell that to all of the people who love and buy my work." Instead I smiled politely and let him keep his opinions for himself. I don't have to prove him wrong to know that he is wrong.

    There will always be narrow-minded people who insist that something different than what they know is not "real" or "valid". I don't think they are wrong to have a preference. There should always be preferences and people should like different things. That's what makes the world beautiful, and that's what makes art so wonderful and personal -- it's all different. I say, let there be purists! But for the purists to say, "my art is real because I use a pencil and yours isn't because you use a Wacom tablet," is the biggest bald-faced lie I have ever heard. Just remember: opinions are like assholes -- everyone's got one.

    Art is art is art is art. It is subjective, it is personal, it is constantly open to interpretation. No matter who you are, some people will love your work and some people will hate it. If people are hating on you, it means that you are doing something right. It means you are creating, which is the most important thing that any artist can do. If you love it, keep doing it, and don't let anyone ever tell you that you are doing it wrong. If you force yourself into the same box that everyone else is painting in, you will be like everyone else. It is the people that break free from the pack and go their own way that are the truly great artists of their time.

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  14. Pieces created with Wacom tablets aren't real art. Only pieces created with Wacom Cintiq's are truly art.

    kidding.

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    1. Now the only true art is made on a Cintiq Companion :P

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  15. Thank you for this.

    I made a comic about "how people think digital painting works," you might get a kick out of it: http://kmcmorris.blogspot.com/2014/04/how-people-think-digital-painting-works.html

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    1. hahahaha awesome, can I share it on FB?

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    2. I may also share that on FB...I know it would appeal to lot of my friends...

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  16. May I approach this from the other side of the equation. I am a watercolor artist, I work both freehand and digitally. I am familiar with both approaches. I have respect for all art and agree with your thesis that art is expressed in a variety of different forms. However, as this particular issue sticks in your craw, (the denigration of digital art as not 'real' art) it very much sticks in mine when people using a format that employs a stylus and a pad as 'painting'. I do not disagree on its merit; but I do balk at the verb employed. Can't we agree to a terminology that does not lump all artwork regardless of different methods and skills employed. Perhaps that is what leads to such acrimony on both sides . . . painting: with a brush, in the real world is a centuries-old medium that has earned a place in shaping culture, which requires an entirely different skill set, which deserves respect. It is no disrespect to digital art, which I love, which is amazing, to say it is a different medium and requires a different name.
    I do not see this as an inability on my part to evolve or adapt, you can have a museum that holds the Last Supper next to the Super Bros, but don't call them both paintings. Yes, they are both art but they are not the same thing, it is a disservice to both to confuse the two.

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    1. I see your point, but I have trouble conceiving of a suitable verb to replace "painting".

      Alternatively, I think the term "painting" has moved beyond the traditional definition. It no longer applies solely to paint and brushes, but to the action or process of creating an image, including by non-traditional means. That's life in the modern world.

      For myself, when describing my method, I employ the modifier "digital" to soften the blow for traditionalists. It's not perfect, but it works well enough.

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    2. Hmm, that would seem to elevate the means of production over the means of expression for categorisation, which seems a bit odd to me.

      And by that logic, pieces created with a palette brush, or an airbrush, or splattering paint, or using hands/body parts, etc, etc, would also all need differentiating verbs.

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  17. For long-term a long term perspective and possible prediction on this subject, look at the relative value of photographs over time versus traditional illustrations. Photography largely replaced illustration in many sectors like computer artwork is replacing traditional art. How do the current and historical value of the illustration pieces compare versus photographs in resale value, in museum acquisitions, in the public's eye, and in the auction houses? Will this trend continue in computer-vs-traditional products? What about ZBrush vs. traditional sculpture, computer typesetting vs. traditional typesetters, robot painters vs. traditional artists (http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2013/09/meet-edavid-robot-painter.html)? Very serious subject.

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    1. Good point, Lester. Although digital art may not stand the test of time in regards to market value, it doesn't make the image any less artistic. However, longevity (more than value) does seem to be a driving factor for a lot of artists. I suspect we will see a movement back toward traditional art in a few years simply due to the fact that many artists want to make something truly tangible.

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    2. I'm not sure we'll necessarily see a movement "back" toward traditional art as much as we'll see an acceptance for and recognition of the validity of CG art (and undoubtedly for other ways to create that will emerge in the future): traditional painting and drawing, like every other form of artistic expression, will always be important, isn't going away, WILL never go away, so the alarmists in the world who pretend otherwise are just playing Chicken Little. Likewise, digital art IS art: once it's printed, once there's a physical manifestation, it's on the same playing field (so to speak) as a traditionally created work and has the same shot at longevity as any other real artifact. Maybe a better shot these days, considering the materials. Considering the papers, inks, and process, it's surprising that advertisements by Mucha or movie posters from the 1930s haven't all crumbled to dust…but they're still here. :-)

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    3. Good thoughts Lester, Dan and Arnie!

      I have painted digitally for most of my career, but have switched to mostly traditional in the last couple years. I find it harder (that may change as I become more proficient) and as a result, I find it more rewarding when I hit the mark I am after. I suppose for me right now, I value traditional media more, but not for artistic reasons, just esoteric. Not in others' work either, just mine. For other artists, it doesn't really cross my mind whether it is digital or traditional.

      I do think that as more and more aspects of our life are manufactured on an assembly line, the value of art will increase, whatever the medium. I can picture the inside of a stormtrooper's locker containing a still life painting of flowers, a lone bulwark from the onslaught of conformity and sameness. *sniff*

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  18. I don't think there's such thing as 'not real art'. People who says thatdigital art is not real art might say the same thing with abstract art.

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  19. Artists have been "photobashing" for over 100 years, its called collage.

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  20. Tremendous respect to you for putting this up, Dan. What you state is real & true. It's not the issue of the tool, but the actual gripe held b the artists whom styles are from yesterday's times. No, I don't state that referring towards older art forms. Heck, majority of them are still equally as relevant today as yesterday, if not more so. I state that in the aspect of the artist afraid to actually venture into the new form of the field. Art is like a battlefield. Anyone whom isn't keen on at least actually LEARNING how to use the new "weaponry" are causing themselves to be nothing more than tragedies in the making. Again, I do not refer towards older styles being what's declared "passe." I mean that there are always growing styles in every particular form of art. It literally develops with every tick of the clock. The trick towards it is not being a master of every particular style of it. The trick is to be familiar with it and don't throw stones towards what's new. Because, that new style might be something that puts your favorite style on the back burner. Yeah, it'll still cook. Though, it won't have that forthright attention which anyone declared an artist hopes that their work receives. Digital art is as real and as factually sound as drawings/paintings upon paper. Hell, ancient individuals didn't even have as much as that.Still, if that particular new art style/form has a lifespan past the three year mark(yes, I understand that the traditional is seven, but times have dwindled that down), then it is declared a relevant piece of work. Even more so if it has moderate(or greater) attention & recognition. A HECK of a lot more if it actually generates a worldwide buzz. If it is nothing more than an equivalent of a One-Hit Wonder in Music(spark ignited, but no fire actually lit), then it was just a brief phase. That's the situation with it.

    Now, with any real art form, you'll find heaps of stupidity and the small cluster of brilliance(yes, I'm aware that there are the "in-betweeners" somewhere in the midst). Don't fret nor shy away from any art(provided that you are a true admirer of art) that has full-on attention. You might not recognize it. You might be befuddled by it. Hell, you might just think it's childish, originally. Still, give it a full go and seriously investigate it before you bash it. A grand number of times, the bashers end up being the biggest fans of it when it's in full swing. Know it prior to expelling negative rhetoric about the art. No, I'm not saying that YOU neglected to do that part, Dan. Heck, you somewhat stated that you did learn about it inside of your post. I give you respect for that. Towards the knuckleheads whom just blatantly don't like something because it's new and seems easy, don't turn yourselves into the bullseye for time & society to fling shat at. That new style, trend, tool, technique, craft and/or skill might just end up being the shovel that throws dirt on top of you. In layman's terms: That can be what slays all of your future dreams. Not saying it WILL be. But, for damn sure, it CAN be. Know your craft. If it upgrades, you upgrade. If you don't upgrade, then you'll become portions of the pavement. And, time + other individuals will drive on past you with no intentions on stopping to dig you up and drag you forward. Well, not unless you are a legend. Then, you'll be appreciated for your meaningful contributions & ignored elsewhere. Such is true. It happens in life. Plus, any real artist will tell you that art IS life. Digital Art is just it's next full fledge saga.

    Sorry for the mini book, everyone.

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  21. So true and points very well made. Respect all art/creativity wether traditional or digital we all start with a scary blank 'canvas'. Artists used to make their own oil paints and looked down on those using 'modern' oils in tubes!

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  22. What is art anyway? It has been argued by some, such as Robert Henri, that it is a state of being, not the object produced. Art is the state of mind while in the creative act. Hence the term "a work of art".

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  23. Man, you have no idea how irate it gets me when I hear people say digital art is "cheating" or "isn't actually art". So thank you for this, for echoing my own thoughts. As someone who also learned first with pencils and paints before moving on to digital art, I was baffled when my teachers and peers looked at digital art with disdain.

    I wrote about this at some length as one of my first tumblr posts: http://llfrank.tumblr.com/post/29944259669/in-defense-of-digital-art

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  24. We had a forum at my University today, and this topic came up, as we hosted speakers from the disciplines of painting, crafts and illustration. It was an interesting discussion and I had an observation. That each of the panel members were driven by an innate connection to the materials that they chose, which, in turn aided in the faciltation of their message. When a student asked if they would consider doing their work digitally, their responses were intelligent and insightful. Each was interested in the physicallity, the labor and the opportunity afforded in becoming inseperable from the materials during the making. It is also important to note that the means by which the work is created relies entirely upon how it is viewed (functions) and whether the artist puts emphasis on the image, the artificact (actual object), or both. If the work is pervasive in nature- illustration that seeks a viewer who may only view it in small increments of time- the image is king. If the work is viewed in a gallery, museum or on someone's wall, the artist is afforded more time with the audience and the artifact is given particular weight.
    Each new technology seems to threaten the old guard and inspires those looking to create something never-before-seen. I find the most compelling artists to be those who acknowledge the past while trying to forge a new path into the future. Dan, thanks so much for posting your work, your thoughts and sharing your passion. Your path is certainly your own.

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  25. P.S. I'm inclined to reply to such dismissive, categorical comments with "But digital art already won. If you are a living artist and you are not on the internet, then you don't exist." Not my belief completely, but a nice arrow to have in your quiver in such occasions.

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  27. Our focus should always be not the medium but the quality.

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  28. The one thing we struggle as humans with is change ... even in art we struggle to accept technology, as it made to make our lives as artist alittle easier and make our turnarounds faster but in reality it just gives us that much time to make it better.
    Make good art was what I was told by my father as I left home to go to art school he said no matter what medium it is the work still has to be done so make good art .

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  29. Just yesterday I showed grandpa a picture of his new great grandson on one of them so called smart phones -digital, small screen, and all the bells and whistles of modern crap. Immediately my grandpa took the phone from my hand and planted a kiss right on the screen. If that ain't art, or at least what art should do to people, then I toss in the towel.
    And this is coming from a 'traditional artist' (a dumb term; Even good digital art relies on the traditional rules).
    Just like people will pay through the nose for USDA approved organic food (another dumb term, but an argument for another day), people will still buy old school art.

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  30. Traditional vs Digital is a dumb debate. Pencil is a tool just like a wacom tablet and photoshop are tools. I can tell when someone who does traditional and/or digital work is "thinking" like an artist. The command of the language of value, shape, edges, colour is present in their work. Traditional or digital.... if you understand focal point, colour harmony, edge quality, shape, design you will look good. Your "thinking" is communicated within the visual language.

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  31. I'm sure others have said this but my response would be, "whateva" ...life is too short to waste trying to educate someone about how you're making money and he/she is NOT. I don't care what you call what I do as long as I can continue to avoid a real job.

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  33. At first I fought that this post will be about "oh digital art is real art because I draw every fucking line by myself because I'm a pro" but then fortunately it was exactly what it should be, longer version of what Neil Gaiman once said:

    Make good art.

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  34. I've struggled to find a good verb for digital art-making too since I spend lots of time working digitally in addition to traditionally. I keep coming back to "designing" as opposed to "painting". I just feel like even though traditional art incorporates design (composition, focal point, etc), AND digital art requires drawing skills, obviously, digital art seems like it's more about design than traditional art. With digital art, more time seems to be spent arranging things and undoing and redoing, since you have that capability, and traditional art is more of a performance-type thing. You try your best, maybe wipe out a few parts and repaint them, but in the end it could either be awesome or suck horribly. With digital art, I feel like you can spend more time on a piece, arranging things, changing things, designing things until you are happy with it. On a computer, your paper will never fall apart from too much reworking. So, "designing" seems like a more accurate verb to me for describing the digital process.

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  35. If anyone today would believe for a second that Caravaggio, Leonardo, or any of the old masters would not jump at the chance to use digital tools in lieu of traditional/old world tools of their time, they would be kidding themselves. Because after figuring it out on their own or being taught/observing how to use computers, wacom tablets, whatever... I can promise you,... the output of whatever they did would be art. Real art. Kick you in the head, make you realize what it means to be around a master, sort of art.

    I have never viewed creativity as having to adhere to definitions as much as being the manifesto in life that consistently redefines the parameters of the art world.

    Cubism, Post Modernism, Armoring, Leatherwork, Tattoos... all of those interpretations of art rely on ideas that are intangible moments in the mind's eye becoming tactile visuals in some way.

    That's the one unifying thing art had. The ability for others to see what you have created.

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  36. I get so tired of people treating art like a sport. Making art is hard, so if you use a tool that makes it easier (which digital media does... or do, in most cases, including certainly my own), then you must be a less capable artist, or cheating, or whatever. I guess that's the thinking.

    But art is not a test of prowess. Art is not about proving something or setting a record. It's not about setting up artificial constraints then seeing who can "win" within them, while chastising those who don't accept those limitations. That's exactly what sports are - a fabricated contest. Art is the opposite of that, but I guess sports are easier for most people to understand.

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  37. I don't care how something's made. if i like it, i like it, end of story.

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  38. Great thoughts here, Daniel. I am also 28 but have a much different history having worked traditionally for most of my life, only in the past 5-7 years have I become comfortable with digital art making. I have seen the bashing on digital art and I too have been frustrated by the medium contemplating to myself if it is real art or not. But I've come to realize and agree with Daniel, it is art, like anything that is created by human beings and translated from observation and through hand rendering. There's no doubt about it, if it takes the eyes and hands to make, it is real art. It's interesting to know what artists processes are like, many people are unsure about whether my pieces are traditional or digital and many guess wrong about the medium. I've come to a place now where I prefer to draw on paper, but sometimes drawing completely in photoshop, and sometimes I do traditional watercolors and acrylic paintings, but my favorite medium has to be half way inbetween! :) I really enjoy drawing and inking on paper, then coloring, shading, and toning in photoshop, and then sometimes my shading is half created in the ink drawing as well. I'm straddling the bar between digital and traditional and there shouldn't be a bar. These are the tools we're using today to make art, this is where we're at.

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  39. Great posting. I am a very traditional realist oil painter with an interesting story you might like. I remember when I was in art college I was working on an oil painting of figures in a desert. My friend who lived with me was in the illustration program and worked primarily with Maya. I would often ask why he had put down his drawing tools for the computer, often inferring that he had given up something more valid, something that was more "art". He said to me one day "Art is about creating a window into a world, would you agree?" I did. He then said "in your painting, it's only one view from one angle, one time of day, one feeling... in mine I can literally go anywhere. My possibilities are endless." Computers are the future of art, I just stayed in the past to keep a medium from dying.

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  40. That's okay.... not to worry. Digital opinions aren't REAL opinions.

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    1. Ha! I should just lock the thread now.

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  41. As soon as I read this I had to write about it. You can read my full response here: http://www.solomakeart.com/blogs/post/24

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  42. Not very religious but is a digital copy of the Bible on a tablet device still the Bible? Could I swear on it? The same comparisons can be used for art. I feel art is creative expression and it doesn’t matter the tool each tool has its own fun and creative learning curve. Art is subjective, some love it, some do not. I do wish people would see the value in appreciating art for what it is to you. Digital or otherwise. Digital does get a bad rap sometimes but it is all around us and the great works do stand out. Same can be said for traditional media.

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  43. I am a big lover of painting and i am collecting the African painting since 2 years. Now i have collected many painting and also looking for abstract wall art online that will be in very affordable prices with awesome collection.

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  44. I think I actually have to point out my husband this post in order that he will build a stone tree on behalf of me if one thing happens. completely brilliant. The grave sculpture is difficult to seem at as a result of as you say it captures the raw feeling.
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  46. I really appreciate this article and I think you are an excellent digital painter, however I can definitely understand why traditional artists don't accept digital art as real "art", although I think its misguided int he use of the word "art" as I think it is moreso in terms of a matter of skill than "art" as expression, although there's a fine line.

    Before I comment on digital vs art, I want to say that I do work realistically in illustration, and I want to just tell you that the realism criticism you've encountered has been something in existence forever and always will, and most of the time it's by people who aren't skilled enough to do so, or by people who produce really out there "conceptual" art, so keep on working in hyper-realism, semi realism, any type of realism, just make it your own.

    I believe style is one of the main things in art and what makes a specific artist "good".

    I have been seriously painting since I was a teenager using traditional methods (I'm 32 now), and while I have no qualms with digital painting or art, and I was in school while digital art was really becoming a big thing, and I do think digital painters should have more respect for traditional painters than visa versa and I'm not sure there's much respect out there.

    While I think many digital painters can draw, understand composition, etc I think digital painting can be used as a crutch especially when it comes to color.

    Mixing colors is one of the challenges of painting and also ends up being a reflection of the individual artist, whereas in digital painting, picking colors from swatches is hard to appreciate. This is one of the main things I think primarily digital painters don't and can't understand.

    more next comment

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  47. Someone commented above about computers and photoshop being a tool, but for many people it is everything and for many old school guys in certain industries it is hard to appreciate someone who sits at a computer accomplishing similar than someone with actual hand skills, and art is one of those categories. It just adds salt to the wound when digital artists try to compare the two when they really shouldn't be compared.

    A lot goes into traditional painting or drawing and there's so many things that can be done to a piece that can't be done digitally and I think that really needs to be understood and respected by digital painters and artists.

    Again, I do think many digital painters can definitely draw, however I'm not sure many could paint with the same skill or style if it came down to traditionally. While of course anyone can use any medium they'd like, and I don't think one is more of a piece of "art" then the other, but in terms of skill and style there is a big difference and I'm not sure that many digital painters would have the same result as if they did it traditionally. .

    I mentioned that I think a lot about art has to do with style. I think a distinct style in how you paint whether you do broad strokes, dry brush techniques, wet on wet,etc. there are many different techniques and methods that can't be matched by digital in the same way, and the same I think applies for drawing where line modularity and hardness/softness, etc makes a big difference in a drawing. Every digital painting I've ever seen always come across as a very smooth look and generally many paintings end up looking like they were done by the same artist.

    Other things contributing to style and an artists are things like line, brush strokes, etc and while a lot of those things can be translated by the computer it doesn't end up with the same result.

    So with this being said I really have no qualms with digital being art, as I think that's ridiculous because there are a million different mediums people use, but when it comes to skill and style I don't think it makes sense to put traditional and digital style or painting in the same category and I can say from experience it is more satisfying and gratifying to do hand work than digital.

    I have seen many wars in classes and also online about digital vs traditional, and I do think digital artists should have more respect for the traditional arts, and I think another major problem is that neither sides understand one another because they don't share the same knowledge.

    This is just my opinion and two cents, but this is a really great and so-far seeming civil blog and discussion and glad everyone respects one anothers opinions.

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  48. It's funny, (I'm a little late to the conversation, I know) but I've struggled with quite the opposite. Being the only one in my circle, up against big guns, a traditional illustrator working with colored pencils. My art always looks childish compared to the shiny digital eye candy. I guess maybe it's a generational thing. Digital is hard! Especially painting, and layering. The concepts are all the same: depth, line variation, movement, color theory, etc. They're the basics, always waiting to be manipulated. Look at Jackson Pollock, many would consider his work to not be "art". When art can be so defined, perhaps we've lost the meaning of the thing.

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