Man VS Photoshop
For the longest time I HATED the idea of computer art.
I mean yes, I enjoyed old CGI cartoons such as Reboot and Beast Wars as much as any kid, and who could NOT love Toy Story? – But I knew that it wasn’t for me. Granted, at the time I made this decision, all I had available was MS Paint on Windows ’95, and there was no such creature as Photoshop, but I genuinely couldn’t see the appeal.
Where was the fun in creating something on-screen that didn’t really exist? Painting on a computer to me was just telling pixels which colour they should be – it wasn’t really art at all. There was no feel of paper under your fingers, no messy pencil lead all over your hands/arms/face, no smell of acrylic paint… it was all just synthetic. When you printed it out, it was just a flat, smooth, coloured smear on cheap printer paper – no texture, no bumps in the under-side of the paper where the pencil had carved its way through, nothing, nada, zip. It was flat, dead, boring. Not only that, but computer pictures always seemed to take less time to create, and were easily fixed by the click of the ‘back’ button, all the risk of gambling with the colour scheme in your head, or the dozens of thumbnail sketches became completely unnecessary, and I resented this.
I think it was this attitude that caused me to run screaming from any previous opportunity to experiment with the more advanced software that was coming out during my time at college – I just plain wasn’t interested, and it’s created a massive gap in my knowledge today. My childhood dream of being some sort of ‘original-art-material elitist’ seems like a ridiculous concept to me now, as everywhere I look even the simplest of illustrations have felt the touch of a computer at some point during their existence. Every piece I post on this blog for example, will have gone through my scanner, then touched up in picture manager to restore the colours. And when I was dragging the portfolio of my collected work around Cardiff and Bristol universities it became clear to me that I had to at least make an effort to plug the gap.
I still hate it though >.<
Below is a recent piece I did for my housemate Sammie’s birthday party. She’s a big fan of the pop artist Lady Gaga – who is quite big right now, but it wouldn’t surprise me to read this back at the end of Uni in three years time and have completely forgotten all about her… – anyway, on the left is a scan of the original picture, where after inking I then cut out the bits i wanted coloured, and stuck it down on a sheet of red paper. On the right is the same image (before i started cutting) simply block filled on photoshop to get the same effect.As you can see, there’s bugger all difference between the two. The vibrancy of the red on the original can, and could be easily altered on Photoshop (but this is simply an example – i.e I can’t be arsed to change it) and the computer version not only retains the black outlines that were sometimes lost during the cutting, it also took seconds to colour – something that can’t be said for the amount of time i took trying to cut around that damn phone cord on her forehead. The advantage of the original however can even be seen on the scan – it seems to have a depth to it, and you can SEE the grain of the paper.
So – The winner? I’m not really sure anymore. If i were to hold both up in front of my face, then the original would definitely be my favourite… but it was so much quicker and easier on Photoshop, that if I’d actually HAD any ink in my printer… I probably would have gone for it.
My conclusion: If it’s going to be a big show-piece, taking the extra time and putting the hard work into an original is definitely worth it. However, as a quick present for a friend, it’s Photoshop all the way baby, I’m not getting any younger. Depending on ink availability of course…