Learning digital art before traditional art?

  • Nutrigrain
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hello,

I'm wondering whether it would be wise to learn digital art before learning traditional art. It is my ultimate goal to be able to do digital painting/drawing. I've heard that it's wise to learn to draw with pen/pencil from several people, but I'm not sure if this is actually necessary. Also, is it possible for someone with no artistic background (I'm typically more of a math/programming kind of guy) to teach him or herself digital art via online tutorials and books, without the use of art classes?

Thanks! :]
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'm going to go out on a limb and bet that the people who say to take traditional art classes before getting into digital art are people who have started in traditional art themselves, and people who learned from those people who are just passing along what they were taught.

Digital art has come a LONG way in the last decade. Just look at for instance, what Photoshop can do today that it couldn't 10 years ago. Not to mention things like Maya and 3D Studio Max. Even newer vector and SVG based applications like Illustrator offer techniques that just aren't available with traditional art.

Technique-wise traditional art classes will probably do you little good because of how different the tools used are and how forgiving digital art is with mistakes.

However, technique is just a a tiny part of art in general. There are other concepts to learn about in art classes such as composition.

Yet, there are classes designed specifically for digital art these days which surely cover the basic concepts of art and if they don't they will tell you which traditional art prerequisites you should get into.
  • Nutrigrain
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks very much for the quick reply and helpful information. :]
  • digitalMedia
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Post 3+ Months Ago

My 2 cents is that creative people are creative people - no matter the medium they work in. I think truly creative people will be compelled to learn and experiment in any medium they can because they inherently know that they wouldn't want to pass up a vehicle of expression and limit themselves.

Performing a mere function can be taught. True and innate ability and creativity - the desire to express yourself in profound, meaningful ways - cannot. If you are a programmer, let me offer an analogy; How many programmers have you known who can make intuitive leaps in logic and how many have you known who simply stitch together things that have been cut and pasted? The difference is profound and the latter cannot be taught to be the former.

That being said, I've never met a true creative that didn't doodle with paper and pencil, incessantly. I have met plenty of digital artists whom I consider to be pseudo-creatives. There are so many, SO MANY, people who fall into that category because of the powerful software that replaces and clouds real talent. The moniker "digital painter" makes me shudder. I could die happy if I never saw another computer generated fractal.

Now, in full disclosure, I fall into joebert's category of having been brought up in the traditional, and to that end I have to point out that the sublime and tactile experience of pencil/pen on paper, paint on canvas, clay in hand, etc., cannot be replicated with a mouse or even the best digital tablet. The difference, in some cases, is analogous to the difference between internet-porn and a lover.

However, in the end, I'd say it's not really a matter of one or the other. Traditional, tactile media will never go away. It's existed as long as humanity has. It's immediate. It's instinctive. It doesn't require an electrical outlet. It can come from a charred stick and a cave wall. Digital media, on the other hand, offers so many advantages and exciting possibilities to a true creative, that it cannot be refused.

Try everything, at least once and be honest with yourself about whether you are being creative or being a software operator. :)
  • Nutrigrain
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks very much, digitalMedia. Very insightful. I appreciate the time you took to reply.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Traditional art classes teach you how to become a better artist, how to problem solve and achieve what you are hoping to accomplish. As well as many other aspects in art, i.e. anatomy, perspective, light, composition, etc. When you can understand and create these things without the use of plug-ins you will be a better artist. Digital art classes teach you how to use the software but not how to be an artist. Since you don't have a natural talent to draw from, no pun intended, then it would be best for you to take some traditional art classes along with your digital art classes. Remember this, in the world when you go out there looking for a job, digital skills being equal, the artist that can put his thoughts and ideas on paper will get the job.
  • waxlyrical
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hi Nutrigrain

I'm probably somewhere near to your position... I dropped art at high school and didnt realise beyond regular doodling around the house on scraps of paper whilest chatting on the phone that I am even interested in art. Then one day I had time on my hands and a set of crayons and spent hours and hours doing a crayola portrait lol.

My experience has been that its possible to learn digital art without prior knowledge of traditional media and techniques, but as suggested above a few times, it really really helps to gain some traditional skills. I often find that by sketching something and shading it in grey scale in pencil I get a better understanding of the tones and use of light for example which helps me when I come to transfer that subject matter to digital painting. This aids my learning curve in digital art formats immensely. The other thing is that both traditional and digital art have a different 'feel' to it. Digital is certainly a lot more forgiving, and so I have to work harder at honing my skills with a pencil?

I teach myself by using the software of my choice, and looking for short examples or tutorials for techniques I'm interested in. This is a shortfall at times though, the tutorials aren't always easily found or I dont know the 'jargon' I need for an effective search in a search engine? My other setback is that I am so interested in EVERYTHING I come across, I then get excited and want to try it and so find myself distracted by many many projects in many different styles and formats at once. For example so far this year Ive endeavoured on graphite and carbon drawing, prismacolors, photoshop, illustrator, coral paint, Flash, Poser, and the list goes on ! LOL not productive at best. I find I often cant make a preference for any particular media or format, I just love to try it and work on my skills.

It is possible to self teach, and there are some amazing artists out there who are self taught, but if I had the option I honestly would have some traditional art training, or even digital art training, just to help me focus and concentrate on learning a skill set at a time? I'm sure it would be of great benefit to have somebody around to help me work out where I need to focus.
  • addaminsane
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Post 3+ Months Ago

most of my college professors would say that ability to draw is the most important element to any design, so i would say it is necessary to at least learn how to draw well first.
  • ArtphotoasiA
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Post 3+ Months Ago

addaminsane wrote:
most of my college professors would say that ability to draw is the most important element to any design, so i would say it is necessary to at least learn how to draw well first.



Yes I agree with that.... I'm too lazy to draw and not so much of a skill in that ... so I shoot! (photos)
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Post 3+ Months Ago

ArtphotoasiA wrote:
Yes I agree with that.... I'm too lazy to draw and not so much of a skill in that ... so I shoot! (photos)


Lazy won't make you good at anything. Ask any artist (in any discipline) and they'll tell you that everything they do is the result of lots and lots of practice. Photography, while still a great thing to learn, won't teach you the same things as drawing. You won't learn about perspective, line quality, shape representation etc, and photography won't help you get an idea out of your head or to explain it to someone else.

I'm not saying you shouldn't work to be a great photographer since there is a lot of benefit to understanding image capturing from that perspective, but don't for a second think it can substitute for the process of drawing.
  • steeluna
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Post 3+ Months Ago

It’s nice to do drawing and painting especially when it comes to anatomy also sometimes it’s nice to have a drawn out plan first. Although you can do these things with practice in 3d. Also it’s very important to draw if you’re doing 3d with the proportions. U can get a good idea with proportions by drawing them down on the paper first and studying prospective is also important.
  • DarkSoulEdge
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I think what matters the most is the outcome and the effort you put into it. Now if you take digital into mind it's not the same as taking a pencil and paper to start drawing.

When you use a pencil and paper you draw and start correcting every little mistake you make.

On a computer you just simply undo the action.

I think drawing by hand gives it more feeling to the creation. It comes from your hard work. And it's not pixels!!!

In the end it all started with a vision the outcome and the process is what differed.
  • Jman99
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I did traditional drawing for years, off and on, and now am totally hooked on digital art, because of the freedom it allows and the possibilities you just don't have with traditional media. Honestly, I think it's just a matter of personal choice and ultimately what you are going to be doing. If you know you want to end up doing digital art then I would just start with that, but maybe practice sketching or other traditional methods when you feel like it.

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