An artist I follow asked on Instagram if when drawing digitally (on iPad or other) if it feels like cheating. I just had to comment but then the thought continued all day.
To me it does feel like cheating and it shouldn’t.
The thing is, I enjoy digital drawing and painting a lot. I remember when I first took a drawing class the instructors encouraged us to use pen and not pencil to commit to our marks, to not second guess everything and not strive for perfection. It made sense to me. But this anchored me to a pesky belief that I should always commit to what I draw and the undo is a sin.
So the question: Is analogue art more valid, authentic… better than digital?
Well, as Alfred Eisenstaedt said, it’s the eye, not the camera. In my very personal opinion, one has to have the skills to draw and paint, the tool shouldn’t matter that much.
A good photographer will shoot great pictures with a disposable Kodak camera. Probably not under extreme conditions but the composition and the story will get told. If you can draw something on paper with just pencil, chances are that you’ll be able to draw very well on iPad. Even with the undo button at our fingertips.
One of the few mediums that are hard to correct is in fact, watercolor. Acrylic, oil and gouache can be painted over and cover a mistake or a change of heart, you can use liquid paper to cover up ink. Of course you can use an eraser for pencil. But digitally you can change things as much as you want until you achieve “perfection”.
Sometimes I wonder why we strive so much to try to get that “traditional media” texture digitally. The market for digital brushes is booming. I guess it all comes down to “productivity”. It’s definitely faster, easier to export, easier to deliver.
It’s simply part of the unstoppable tech revolution whether we like it or not.