Evolving technology and its effect on the artist.

By Matthew Ockelford

Art has the power to move, inspire and improve us both individually and as a collective. Many people believe that as we move towards a more digitised society, up and coming artists lose the benefits that traditional pencil to paper brings, however as a designer with a degree in illustration and a love of the traditional arts I believe there is so much that can be gained by embracing the tides of change rather then ignoring them, or worse, drowning beneath them.

Disclaimer, after finishing my degree in illustration, I hung up my pencils. Uni was over and I needed to build a career and reluctantly start to grow up. Uni taught me that actually the life of a freelance illustrator didn’t appeal, so I decided to throw everything I had into building a skillset and career in Graphic Design instead. Six years on and I finally brought my first iPad with an Apple Pencil. I downloaded the amazing app Procreate, and figured it was time to take back art as a part time passion.

The first thing that struck me was just how accessible this new software and technology was, I genuinely felt like 
I was drawing, and in a much more natural way then on my trusty graphic tablet/photoshop combo I use in the studio.

Secondly drawing had lost its permanence but in a good way – any wrong brush stroke could be undone with the tap of a screen. Was this a bad thing? Some may think so, but I don’t. People grow through failure, and this technology gave me a chance to fail alot, and quick! I had a sketchbook with unlimited pages, an eraser that left no marks and pencils that never ran down. I was in my element and couldn’t put it down. I also had access to a library of different art supplies, watercolour, oils, you name it, and they looked good, and acted in a way that felt familiar to me.

Now looking through my old figure drawing instruction book I hit a hurdle, I just couldn’t get my head around one particular concept which I guess is fair for a book written in the 40’s. So I checked out youtube and technology came to my aid again, as I found people were using modern software to interpret the area of the book that I was having issues with. I went from not being able to understand a picture and paragraph to watching an 
in-depth eight minute video. Amazing.

drawing

Now looking through my old figure drawing instruction book I hit a hurdle, I just couldn’t get my head around one particular concept which I guess is fair for a book written in the 40’s. So I checked out youtube and technology came to my aid again, as I found people were using modern software to interpret the area of the book that I was having issues with. I went from not being able to understand a picture and paragraph to watching an 
in-depth eight minute video. Amazing.

Now I’m just picking up this hobby again so its too early to share artwork, however, I honestly believe that as technology has improved, it has made the understanding and practice of the traditional arts so much more accessible to a much wider audience. People can now produce artwork, share artwork, access critique and encourage each other all from the same device, how can this possibly be a negative?

So if this is the future of the art industry, does that mean pencil and paper is dead? I really don’t think so personally. I believe the traditional approach will always hold an appeal, both to the artist and the consumer/collector of art.

People will always draw, whether it be on the walls of caves, on canvasses or digitally. This is the fun with the risk removed, a hyper-accessible vehicle of creative expression, and I believe this has to be a welcome addition to the creative work flow of both the individual and the collective. This is especially important when you consider the role the creative industries currently has both on the countries economy, and in general as an implement for societal growth and innovation.

So sure you can’t hang an iPad on a wall (or rather why would you), but these modern advancements give you the chance to try things, fail at them, try again, improve and maybe even fall in love with them. Who knows, maybe that person that started his journey on an iPad and youtube, will one day move into traditional and subsequently earn a spot in a gallery.

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Zap Creative Ltd, 29a High Street, Hythe, Southampton, England SO45 6AG  |  Reg: 07492983  |  Privacy Policy

Zap Creative Ltd,
29a High Street,
Hythe,
Southampton,
England
SO45 6AG

Reg: 07492983  |  Privacy Policy