Wednesday, August 23, 2006
The evolution of craft
This is my Dad, to a "T". Seriously. He hates computers and the Internet.
I just had a brief discussion about new technology with a fellow cartoonist, (Mark Anderson), and we introduced each other to new gizmos/tools, (or write-offs). So, I thought I'd expand on that subject here and detail how the "craft" of cartooning has changed with technology.
I used to be a purist, with all my work done in india ink on paper. But with client deadlines overwhelming at times, I decided to try a digital drawing tablet for inking over my scanned sketches in Photoshop...and later, after becoming more comfortable with the hand-eye coordination differences, sometimes sketching into Photoshop, with no scanning.
I traded my first tablet in for a Wacom Intuous 3 a couple years ago, when it debuted on the market. The main innovation over the well-liked Intuos 2 is that you can program the buttons and touch strips to zoom in and out, increase/decrease your brush/eraser diameter...and also handle functions like switching among brush types & paint bucket, and stepping backward and forward in time with your non-drawing hand. It all becomes a big time saver, in addition to the time and materials saved by drawing digitally.
Recently I've been drawing some things without sketches, because with quick steps back in time possible, every stray stroke can be removed easier than erasing. It's scary in a way how the process has evolved for many cartoonists, (as well as animators and illustrators.) Still, if a client wants frameable, original art, then I break out the india ink and bristol -- and happily oblige them.
The other half of cartooning, the ideas, (the more important half, I think), hasn't evolved at all with technology. The only innovation worth mentioning is Microsoft Word...and it isn't much help in actually finding the spark of humor or cleverness needed to fuel a good cartoon.