The digital age has certainly changed the way we do almost everything. In the 90’s, I was a bit saddened to learn that a designer friend rarely used her real paintbrush, revealing my old fashioned preferences.
Typewriters and carbon paper reigned when I was in college, and I spent a good deal of my teaching career transitioning to the digital world.
Recently, a friend planned a travel workshop to include architectural drawing using an iPad. I saw the advantages of a small tablet but was skeptical. However, a recent Apple store class, my eyes were opened!
Yes, I jumped in with the purchase of an iPad and stylus. I have wanted one for a long time, and a travel opportunity, where I will retrace my friend’s itinerary, is providing motivation. I dutifully down loaded a program called Procreate, (a bargain at $9.99 after purchasing the iPad!). I am somewhat familiar with Paint Shop Pro, but this is adding an entirely new drawing dimension.
The young Apple class instructor reminded me of my innovative and enthusiastic high school students. She knows her material, and by luck, the free class had only two participants, both retired teachers. We walked to a nearby quiet outdoor garden area, where she explained as much as she could about the basics of the program in 90 minutes. She also shared some of the mistakes she has made during the past year using Procreate-and how to solve them! I spent the rest of my errand-filled day sketching with the iPad—at the car dealership as I waited for service and at a restaurant. I knew I had to practice individually or I would forget my new lessons. I will return for more classes - a 45 mile trip for me.
So – my initial opinions. I still think drawing, not tracing, is important. I have a hard time calling a photograph which has been digitally manipulated to appear liked a brush-stroked work a painting. The Procreate program (and many others) gives you a variety of “sketching/painting“ tools in a variety of sizes. I found it was easy to download a photo of one of my own paintings and create a color palette from it-voila! My own palette.
My iPad is small. It will never be the same as drawing on large paper or canvas- the flow is not the same. However, for catching color, light, what you see…it’s great and my short experience is only a beginning. For travel, it should prove useful. I will still pack some pencils, a sketch pad, and watercolors.
I first entered the digital art world last year experimenting with photographs of my own paintings. These have proven popular. Color schemes, values, and backgrounds can be modified with almost a click!
For centuries, artists have used innovative tools, and this is another. Drawing and painting are unique experiences to be savored. However, painting digitally certainly gives one’s brain a workout, and the results are impressive. Have fun – and don’t worry about having to wash out those brushes!
Note: The last 15 months have challenged us! This month I encourage you to learn from the isolation and I wish you a cautious, but joyous June reopening!
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