Q: I’m a published Illustrator, have even won a few awards. I don’t use any computer programs. I simply draw everything by hand. I’m finding it very hard to compete with other illustrators who do use alot of technology to do their work. What I’m really wanting to know is if it’s worth getting out of my comfort zone and learning to do digital drawings or at least digitally enhanced drawings? I can make my work look just as good but I find it takes me soooo long to do compared to artists using Adobe/Photoshop.
A: I still mostly draw (and ink when inking is required) the old fashioned way on real paper. However I gave up most traditional color media long ago and do all my color work digitally these days. Yes, for some tasks the computer makes things faster but it’s just a tool like brushes and paints are tools. You learn how to use it so it works for your art. The speed at which an artist works is more about their process than their tools, don’t you think? I save some time using the computer to color but not that much time. Unless you can reinvent your workflow/process with the computer you will probably find you produce your work in a similar timeframe digitally or traditionally.
That said, I can tell you that most art directors these days expect digital delivery of artwork. I cannot remember the last time I sent a physical piece of art in for scanning. They expect digital files and they expect the easy and fast adjustments or corrections that the digital medium provides. That is the major downfall of still working in traditional media these days. It’s not the final look (art directors don’t care how you get your artwork to look like it does, they only care about the results) or any speed enhancements computers might provide. It’s about the convenience of digital delivery and the relative ease of revising the work at any stage.
In today’s market I don’t see how you can avoid using the computer for at least the final stage of your illustration work so you can provide both digital delivery and quick adjustments/revisions to final art. You can stick with traditional medium as far as you’d like on an illustration, but if you could then scan it and adjust it so it looks as good as a digital file, then you could provide your clients with a TIFF or similar digital image. That’s what they want.
Thanks to Tiffini Scherbing for the question. If you have a question you want answered for the mailbag about cartooning, illustration, MAD Magazine, caricature or similar, e-mail me and I’ll try and answer it here!
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