Wednesday, 11 November 2015

020 Traditional art skills - are they even important nowadays?

I love digital art. The vast possibilities of it are what make them my favorite painting medium. But I also love pencils. They are a constant companion and I draw with them daily.
But are other media like oils, watercolor, acrylics etc. even worth their while to delve into as a digital artist?
The answer would be a big, fat YES!

Recently, I started to incorporate more different media into my sketch routine and I started to experiment more with ink and watercolor.

The reason why traditional media are important (in my humble opinion) is, because they make you think differently about how you approach a drawing or painting.

With drawing media like inks, you have to plan ahead, you have to know where to put your marks. Once they are on the paper, there is no going back. It is kind of an unforgiving medium, but they are great to learn drawing! They force you to add more discipline and care to your linework and think constantly of what it is you are about to do.

The same applies for any painting medium. When I started out with watercolors, I really needed to adjust to the from light to dark approach. You need to know where your lightest lights are right from the beginning, again forcing you to plan ahead.

The second thing traditional painting media do, they really teach you color theory in a practical way. In photoshop or painter, you have every color imaginable at your disposal. Apply them opaque or in layers to automatically multiply. When you are color mixing, you have to know what you are doing. It´s one of the most important steps in painting. To know how pigments behave when mixed with other pigments on the palette or on the canvas is crucial and teaches you much more than digital painting alone could. Learning how to dull your saturated colors, how complimentary colors behave and generally how to mix any color from your three primaries is a huge leap in understanding color theory.

With the last couple of paintings I did, I learned more about color than in all the years I painted digitally. I can highly recommend to any digital student of art to try out any traditional medium! It won´t be pretty at first, but you really learn so much that is easily transfered into the digital world. (And don´t forget the fun factor! Nothing beats sitting out there in nature on a warm autumn day, painting the scenery)

Here are some first examples of watercolor and pen sketches/studies. Not all that great, but I´m learning a lot from them:

I´m also starting to paint with gouache and plan to turn to oils soon. Wonder how these will turn out :)

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