I was standing in line at the CVS pharmacy, waiting for what felt like forever, and as I was drawing this week’s entry, on my phone, it occurred to me that technology, and specifically in over the last five years, has completely changed the way that I create art.
Then I really started thinking about it and it hit me that I have seen some pretty amazing advances over the years and I decided to sit down after finishing at the pharmacy and take some notes about things that really changed the way I do things.
Before 1990 it was binder paper, and maybe copier paper but more likely it was several perforated pages out of the dot matrix printer hooked up to our Tandy1000.
Around 1991 my father got a laptop that weighed like ten pounds and had a blue-ish/silver screen. More importantly, it could be hooked up to a CRT monitor and I could use the paint program to create art, one pixel at a time… this is where I learned that the color brown was actually made up out of purple and yellow… go figure. It was also around that time that I was introduced to the Internet, my father called me into the office, unplugged his phone, and plugged it into the laptop. After a few minutes of annoying screeching, my father began typing and said something about how cool it was… that he was taking to someone using a similar set-up somewhere. At the time I was unimpressed and pointed out that he could have just called the person on the phone and not have to type. (this attitude has somewhat persisted in that I dot really like to text people)
So around middle school I was introduced to actual art classes, comic books, and sketch pads… in 1997, my senior year, I used a scanner for the first time, it was big – the scanner – and probably cost a fortune, I was able to color those drawing using something like an early form of Corel or Photoshop or something, it was all very basic, but so cool in that I was able to save these drawing onto either a 5” floppy disk or a 2.5” disk. I could also put these drawings on the Internet which was a great place to chat with strangers and download guitar tablature to all the songs I loved.
The next advance was when I went to college – I had a zip drive that had disks that could hold a whopping 200mb, got my first DSL connection and was able to start making websites, download music on Napster or Kazaa, I had a computer, a new flatbed scanner, a DVD player and cd burner. Along with software that fell off a truck, I was able to learn new scanning and cleaning techniques, coloring, layout and all the other skill I acquired in college.
Aside from the Wacom tablet, the way I created art was primarily the same, until around last year or so. It was mostly hand drawn when I was out of the house, in school, coffee shops or bars. Scanned when I got home and then colored with Prisma Color markers before the scan, or in Photoshop after the scan… and sometimes I did both.
It wasn’t until last Christmas that I got my Samsung galaxy note 10.1 tablet, and with the magical s pen, I had control over the pressure and opacity of the tool I was using, brush/pen/etc. and was able to draw directly on the screen, making it so that I didn’t have to sketch as much, but there were times when I didn’t have the option of busting out the tablet, so I kept the Molekines in my art-snal (art+ arsenal) and continue to, to this day because people seem to think you aren’t paying attention more when I’m using tablet as opposed to pen and paper… and I love paper.
So I now have the galaxy note three, it is the phone that I have been waiting for, for like the last fifteen years. It comes with Autodesk Sketchbook, and even the pro version of the app is like five bucks, I can sketch something, take a photo of the sketch, import it into the sketchbook app, and using layers, I can ink the lines, color and shade with this phone. It has had a big effect on my artistic process.
Five years ago, I had what I called a portable office. A laptop, a digital camera, wireless mouse, and several flash memory drives to hold large .psd files and raw scans that I had done before leaving home.
Now I have a tablet and a phone that have the ability to access the Internet, that can connect to drop box and Google drive, I have access to thousands of sketches and drawings I’ve made over the years, not to mention like 32gb of music and e-books and a few videos for when I feel like taking a break.
Five years ago, I had to carry two bags to hold every and anything I might need, today there are times where I don’t even bother taking a bag at all and have the ability to be as or more productive than I could have with that portable office I used to haul around.
I will always have a place for traditional methods, digital art isn’t going to replace the pencil or pen, for me at least, and I don’t even think that I explained this whole concept very well I know that I am leaving out more than a few advances in technology but I think I covered the highlights . Still, it kind of blows my mind when I think about the tools I have today versus 5 or 10 years ago and then I get a headache thinking about all the hassle I used to go through transferring data, both physically and electronically.
I’m pretty sure that this probably more than a little boring for anyone who isn't trapped in my head, but for me it is an incredible age in which I live, and the time and energy that I can use on more productive endeavors.
So yeah, now I’m going to be lazy, do something that i haven't done in a long time, and get a five dollar pizza from Little Caesars, eat way too much and hate myself for it afterwards.