Wow, the responses are fantastic and bringing up some really great and valid points.
I, like many here, have a background in traditional art. I began as a graphic designer, preferring text manipulation and stylized logos over fine art practices of oil and watercolors, though I do have an understanding and appreciation for various mediums (even if I'm not proficient in them all.) Then as a tattoo artist my medium shifted to ink and needles on a living canvas that required control with little room for error. It is this background I feel that influences how I currently approach digital art, both on a conscious and subconscious level. My mind wants to make a connection to something I understand in a more tangible manner. I look to replicate the "watercolor look" and the "oil painting look" because that is what I know and understand. I recognize this in me because whenever I see younger artists who are very adept and proficient with digital art I do not see that need for replicating traditional art. They seem to just embrace the current medium for what it is, its own tool for art creation.
Also, as Minnie mentioned, the 'canned' processing of most "real watercolor look," or "real pencil drawing look" Photoshop actions fail so miserably. My statement and your subsequent reply...
uuglypher wrote: ↑Sun Dec 27, 2020 12:38 pm
Hi, Duck ,
You said:”As you know, mimicking true impasto digitally is very tricky”
With that statement you vastly overestimate my experience in attempting to mimic other art media with photography.
...was more a blanket statement in that I am aware you understand (and likely sympathize with) the limitations inherent in translating one medium to another, nothing else, however I never really thought about my motivation for trying to replicate traditional media (the impasto look) digitally until you brought it up and it really is an interesting question.
As an artist, I feel we build on past experiences and processes. As I mentioned, I began as a graphic designer before switching over to illustrating on skin. Looking back over the thousands of tattoos I've done over my career I know they all had a very strong graphical influence because of my background in design. There was a process I went through to get to a finished piece and it always involved tangible mediums; pencil roughs, ink comprehensives, stenciled outlines, pigments in a liquid dispersion, etc.
As I explore digital painting I constantly find myself fighting against the muscle memory of the tattooing process as I work with a digital tablet (to answer you question Minnie) that is physically disassociated from the screen through a wire. It's a different kind of hand work. It would be akin to Piet doing an intarsia piece using a CAD machine and robotic arms for assembly all while looking at the process through a computer screen. That kind of disconnect is hard for me to find normal after having put tool to skin with my own hand for so long. Or, as in the case of impasto, the loading of paint and pushing into canvas has a direct tangible and tactile feedback that is completely missing in a digital format.
All the above simply speaks to the mechanical aspect of trying to replicate traditional medium into the digital realm. The other aspect, I feel, has to do with finding different ways of expressing art. Minnie, you use textures in ways I struggle with. Dave, you take a more scientific approach with some of your experimental work (3D conversion for example) that I find interesting to follow and look at but not so motivated to replicate for myself (if that makes sense.) And that's okay because as I said, we bring with us our individual influences. Me, I have a strong desire to get a grasp of digital painting. I'm still in the experimental stages trying to figure out the tools and I think... no, I know I have a bias towards very specific looks. Stopping to think about it here, in this post, I do realize that I might be limiting myself from moving forward more freely if I try to distance myself from those ingrained expectations of "what it should look like" and simply accept that it is a different medium. That'll be an exercise in itself
Along the vein of experimentation, there are a lot of crossovers between digital painting and photo manipulation and I do learn a lot from trying to replicate certain looks. In this particular example I played with a technique I have not seen anyone else incorporate in trying to replicate that heavy brush texture look. It was my first attempt and was pretty pleased with the results. By posting that image it did allow for other eyes to evaluate it and I got some great feedback on it that will definitely improve on the technique. Who knows, maybe even lead to an action that will make 'canned processing' seem less 'mechanical'.
Lastly, I'd like to leave with this thought; replicating traditional medium digitally, I feel, is a way of preserving that 'hand work' tradition while also embracing new technologies. No, it will never be the same experience for the artist going through the creation process, but for the viewer... who knows. As with anything else, it's just another tool in the digital toolbox, as they say. Or maybe it really is closer to Piet's sentiments;
PietFrancke wrote: ↑Sun Dec 27, 2020 1:32 pm
I am slowly coming around to the idea the the media in our experience is mostly the computer monitor as the physical embodiment of the art's presentation.