Serif in Education

A brush with digital art

I was reading an article lately, about a digital artist who was once told:

“digital art is not real art, and you’re a fool for thinking so.”

It got me thinking about the concept of creativity and art in terms of working on a computer compared to working with your hands, painting or drawing, for example.

If we look at the history of art, artistic works have existed for almost as long as humankind. Considering that cavemen existed around 200,000 years ago, that pretty much gives us 199,920 years worth of ‘traditional’ art and about 80 years worth of digital art. No wonder people are still getting their heads around true art in a digital form!

Nowadays, digital (and the computer in particular) is just a media of choice for expressing creativity and of course, creativity is what makes art. Would there be a difference if I typed a poem, as opposed to hand writing one? The words and the creativity are still the same.

The impact of digital technology has transformed traditional activities such as painting, drawing and sculpture, while new forms, such as net art, digital installation art, and virtual reality, have become recognized artistic practices. More generally the term digital artist is used to describe an artist who makes use of digital technologies in the production of art. It is especially popular today in the media and advertisement industry, including posters, album covers and flyers.

So, how can pupils get started with digital art? Try mixing traditional art skills with digital painting processes for unique-looking imagery. Begin with sketching ideas on paper. Ask students to pick a final project and illustrate it on paper until they feel they can do no more with it. Then, scan in the art (or take a picture) and finish it digitally. This can be done in reverse too – so ideas are sketched digitally in DrawPlus, and then printed and finished by hand.

Don’t worry about making mistakes, either. This is the beauty of digital art. Everything can be fixed once a drawing or painting is on the computer using the Serif Design Suite! This enables children to have fun with their creations without having to worry about them being perfect.

An exciting way to combine traditional artistic media with digital art, DrawPlus gives your pupils a new set of brushes to express ideas creatively. They can experiment with new charcoal, pen and sponge brush effects which are great for blurring, smudging, sharpening and erasing parts of designs to produce perfect digital artwork. In PhotoPlus, pupils can instantly transform any image into a retro Comic book style poster, fine art painting, or black & white studio-quality photograph. More able pupils can create their own masterpieces using the huge range of editable brushes, erasers and special effects.

I’ll finish with some of my favourite quotes about art, and the different interpretations of what it truly is.

“Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.”

(Oscar Wilde)

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

(Thomas Merton)

“Above all, artists must not be only in art galleries or museums — they must be present in all possible activities. The artist must be the sponsor of thought in whatever endeavor people take on, at every level.”

(Michelangelo Pistoletto)

And finally…

“Let each man exercise the art he knows.”

(The Greek philosopher Aristophanes, writing in the 4th century B.C.)