Off-topic: Digital vs. Hand-drawn

With all the new technology and innovations in the art world, I’ve spent a few years trying to figure out where I stand as an artist. If you know me personally, you know I spent a few years in college studying digital art. I’ve muddled in just about everything. My ultimate goal in school was to become a concept artist for environments in either movies or video games. My goals have shifted since the Lupus came about, but I also believe that as time goes on, I would have developed the same disenchantment for digital art that I have now. Here’s why.

Is it just me, or do DreamWorks and Disney pump out a new CGI movie every year? When was the last time they drew something? The average cell-animated movie took 3+ years to complete. But these computer-animated movies keep coming one after the other. They’re a dime a dozen. They all look the same to me. Sure, they all have some funny dialogue sprinkled here and there, and voice-overs by the flavor of the week. But there’s just something missing. These movies feel like the “Dollar Store” versions of their predecessors. 

Obviously, video games are a different story. You can’t hand-draw a video game. Computers have to be involved. This is why I feel so conflicted on where I stand. There have been some amazing realistic-looking creations that came from a computer. And it’s not just the computer, you have to be a good artist AND handy with technology to be able to do these things. It definitely takes a lot of ability on the artist’s part. I should know, I’ve spent a lot of hours, some of them frustrating, working in 3D studio Max. It takes a long time for it to feel as natural as brush and canvas. Some days, it just doesn’t.

In the more frustrating hours, I remember wishing I could just DRAW it. Like, on paper. With pencils. Especially when your final digital product is so…intangible. Especially if you don’t back it up, and then back-up the back-up. Hold your breath if the power goes out.

I guess personally, I feel like if sweat and elbow grease didn’t go into it, and I can’t hold it when I’m done, then I don’t feel accomplished.

It’s not to say that digital art doesn’t have an important place in the art world, because it does, but in commercial settings the “old-fashioned” way is being swallowed by computers. Employers and companies aren’t looking for people who like to do it the old way, because it takes 3 times longer, is more expensive, and isn’t as malleable, changeable, or redo-able.  

It’s unfortunate that digital art and hand-drawn art aren’t able to coexist. I guess that’s where my issue lies. It’s not that digital art isn’t awesome in it’s own right, I just don’t want to see the magic of things hand-drawn die out in pop culture because someone wants to make a fast buck.


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