Today’s post will no doubt be controversial because I know lots of people are dismissive of new technology when it’s applied to art – they think it’s somehow not ‘real’. Maybe we should ask David Hockney what he thinks about that! He’s even older than me so neither of us grew up using computers like our children and grandchildren have, but he has really embraced the possibilities – just google David Hockney iPad drawings if you want to see what I mean. So, as you’ve guessed by now, I’m talking about digital art. I’ve had my iPad Pro since Christmas and I’ve been experimenting with using it for drawing and painting. It doesn’t replace the process of using paper, canvas, pencils and paint – for me nothing ever will, but it’s a new tool in my artistic vocabulary and one I’m getting more and more enthusiastic about. For a start I can use it anywhere. I don’t have to carry pots of water and paint palettes around with me if I’m out and about.
Nor do I have to worry about paint drying too quickly or worse still, too slowly. When I make a mistake, which to be honest is often, I can erase it in an instant. What I think the sceptics have to understand is the machine does not do all the work – if you are making a drawing it’s your hand that guides the line and your eye that decides where to place that line. That’s before you even venture into the realms of what colour and what value. The drawing experience is exactly the same as on paper – you just don’t get dirty hands while doing it.
I’m working with a program called Procreate and an Apple pencil and if you ignore the special effects and tricks that are no doubt available if you like novelty and gimmickry, it’s the nearest experience you can find to putting pencil to paper. I’m still a novice and I realise there is far more potential than I have as yet mastered but it’s still a very satisfying and dare I say, fun, experience. Digital techniques make it easy to share images, to post them to social media and of course to print them to both paper and fabric with hugely exciting possibilities! Although I will never stop drawing and painting in the time honoured, conventional sense, I’ll be scribbling away on the screen till some new and even more creative process is invented! What do you think? Is it cheating or just the next exciting step in the evolution of art?