Thursday, August 24, 2006

Original Art

This card was created for a client and it fits today's subject because I didn't simply email the card art to him. I printed the card on heavy card stock and mailed it to him. (Not an uncommon request...but it happens less often these days.)

Yesterday, after blathering on here about how changes in technology have affected the drawing of cartoons, I became nostalgic for the days of old. (A time stretching from the era of "golden age" cartoons to not very long ago.) There were no digital files, just ink, pencil and possibly some paint on paper. It was simple and seemed closer to real art back then.

Does an emailed series of 1's and 0's, digitized from a scan of Charles Schulz's Peanuts have anywhere near the same inspirational ability as a large piece of bristol that he personally splashed with jet black india ink? I say nay.

Most cartoonists draw digitally now. So does original art even exist anymore?
Increasingly, it only exists if a client asks for it.

In my case, (where we're not talking about collectible art, like that of Schulz's), some clients simply want a large piece of art for their homes or offices, so a nicely printed copy will do. With some of the new types of printers with 'solid' or laser-bonded inks, you can provide a long-lasting, almost archival print.

Some clients however, are more discerning. They want an actual drawing, with the sketches in blue pencil or graphite visible in areas, and also the look and feel of the ink on the bristol board. They are willing to pay more for it and they honestly appreciate the art itself when it is done.

Despite my regular use and high appreciation of digital tablets, I agree with some of this thinking. Looking at an original piece of art -- especially one created by another cartoonist -- is fascinating. Because of this, I have some originals from some of my idols and I go to see cartoon art on exhibition. You can see some of the writing and drawing process. There are wording changes or whited-out see the abandonment of one position or facial expression for a better one. It's a lesson almost as good as sitting right next to the cartoonist at the time of creation.

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