Illustration and art are known to be rather separate professions. Illustrators create work for more of a commercial purpose, with a brief, and aesthetic niche. Whereas artists are more political, personal and self expressive. Who’s to say the two don’t overlap? What makes them different from one another? The main difference to me, as an illustrator myself, is the medium.
Being a digital illustrator, I’ve witnessed a lot of concern over the consensus that digital art has no where near the same credibility as something hand drawn. I’ve heard it been marked down as cheating, and un-authentic. However the benefits of going digital in the design industry are hugely beneficial for a multitude of reasons.
I use digital as it is fast, efficient and flexible. It enables you to draw something big scale, through a macro perspective, erase things on command, and manipulate the canvas in an instant. Once you’ve mastered the versatility of the tablet, it can become an integral design tool.
Using this method allows me to add a humanist element to my work, giving lines, strokes and curves - an inaccuracy which is unique and authentic. Yet giving me the versatility and benefit to convert the illustrations to vectors, icons, typography and logos.
A recent project I’ve worked on for Honey Centre appropriates the botanical illustration style. This technique is time consuming, but through each stroke and blending colour, the object can seem more and more realistic. The ability to ‘zoom’ in a digital canvas allows me to maintain more detail for a larger scale project, without the logistical nightmare of drawing or painting at an enormous size.
The project also included illustrations which had to be vector for the packaging, whilst maintaining continuity with the botany style of the brand assets. I created a similar style of illustration through line work. Drawing these lines in photoshop in black, I could then live trace them to vector instantly.
Another benefit to drawing digitally is making multiple adjustments and client iterations. Instead of re-drawing an entire image, I’m able to select certain aspects of the illustration and make instant copies and variations in colour, form, and rendering styles.
There is something said, that if you’re used to drawing by hand, you will come to miss the tranquility of pen on paper, the inevitable mistakes and those quaint stylistic discoveries. I surely do, but then again the instantaneousness of going digital can be quite addictive.
Even the odd moment going back to paper I notice myself reaching for ‘control+z’ on my imaginary keyboard; rather disconcerting at times. (Come on we’ve all been there).
I now tend to save the doodles for my spare time and breaks from the office. Keeping art for art’s sake, and illustration for the public and critics alike.
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