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  • Writer's picturewavylinesem

rant time: "digital art is easier, and it's cheating"

I'm starting a new series (not really). It's called rant time. Is rant time just an outlet for all my frustrations about humanity's stupidity in relation to the art world(and sometimes not)? Yes. Yes it is.

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If you're a digital artist, somebody, somewhere, has probably told you or said: "but digital art is easier than traditional art".

Some of them then proceed to jump to this incomprehensible conclusion: "Therefore, digital art is cheating."

Which, in response, I ask this: "cheating in what?"

Is there some sort of test that we're all taking? Like the SAT but instead of it being the Scholastic Aptitude Test, it's the Standardized Art Test? Are we being graded?

If not that, are we in some sort of competition? At this, some people might wave their big foam fingers and scream 'life is a competition' but here's the thing. IF, say, digital art is 'cheating' in the art community simply because it makes things 'easier'(*cough not true cough*), then how come typing isn't cheating in the world of novelists? Some people still hand-write their books, you know. Are the people who choose to type...cheating?

If you're still saying yes, then this blog post isn't going to change your mind.

But if (and I suspect the majority of you are) the answer is no, then...somebody please enlighten me. What are people cheating at?

Digital art is something that is available to everyone(I recognize some people do not have access to electronics. But the novelist example still applies. Some people do not have laptops. Are the people who do own laptops cheating?). If somebody wanted to learn the software, then they can.

Most traditional artists CHOOSE to stay traditional.

Why? Because they think it's easier. And before someone says 'no elissa, they just like the way it looks', then let me put it this way: it's easier to get their art to look like how they want using traditional media.

The sad fact is, the majority of digital art critics are people who don't. do. art. Which --and I hope I don't come off as rude here-- means that they don't know the process of art and what is actually required to produce something good.

I told my little brother something once when he was yapping about wanting --nay, needing--- an ipad pro. Your tool is less than 10% of your output capacity. (Obviously, this does not apply to mechanics, even though I phrased it as if it was).

When it comes to art, a skilled artist with nothing but a pencil and paper could produce a piece of 100x the 'quality' than a beginner with state-of-the-art technology. Funny how this is so commonly agreed on yet so many people think digital art is somehow cheating simply because it's digital.

In fact, if digital art is so 'easy', how come people don't tell beginners to open up Photoshop and paint something?

Simple. Because it's not.

Has anyone actually tried to open Photoshop and start painting something? It's literal hell if you don't know the interface. Ridiculous. And Procreate. When I first got the app my art was terrible. The blending was off and I wasn't accustomed to the slickness of the screen surface.

Yes, you learn the app over time. But it's much faster to learn a pencil and paper. Just saying.

Now, I'm not saying digital art doesn't have its perks. Because it does. I frequently joke that the liquify feature in Procreate (a feature that allows you to 'push and pull' parts of your painting around as if it was water) is my lifesaver.

But think about it this way: in order to use the liquify feature (commonly used to fix proportions rather than create cool effects like it's intended to), you need to have an eye for mistakes. Artists develop an eye for catching mistakes over time, as their skill level increases. The reason why you might think an artist you used to love is 'getting worse' is probably just because your own eye for mistakes and skill is getting better.

When I first got Procreate, I was fully aware of the liquify feature. And yet, my art still contained a myriad of errors, which were once invisible to me but oh-so-obvious now.

My point? You have to improve your skill before being able to 'properly cheat'. And at that point, it's not even freaking cheating. Because you have the capacity to produce something just as good as the final product after 'cheating'.

I suppose, on some level, people could say that digital art is 'faster'. It helps you see mistakes faster. It helps you finish a piece faster. Develop your skills faster.

But is it easier? Hell no. Your brain is working overtime to learn and apply that information. Your habits are constantly getting torn down and rebuilt. Your style is fluctuating more than ever with all the options you have.

I don't know about you, but drawing the same uneven eyes sounds easier to me.

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