October 12, 2006

Ask not what your software can do for you...

'Ask not what your software can do for you... ask what you can do with your software'. These immortal lines were recently typed by John Shelly, an online artist acquaintance who lives in Japan, though he's an englishman. I think that line neatly sums up the entire issue of digital art and what and who it's good for.

I'm of the persuasion that digital software is great... but not an end in itself. I still think the lowly pencil rules. And I'm afraid I'm even largely in the camp of preferring the look of traditional mediums of paint and ink and pencils on the rough surface of watercolor paper and all the variations they can achieve. Something to do with the complexity of the surface or maybe it's just conditioning. I read a quote from Seymour Chwast to the effect of "the computer is a great place to process art, but a difficult place to create art". I know what he meant, I think. I still like my pencil on paper the best.

In any event, I'm lucky I can do either one... or both... and happily. The picture at the top is from 'One Smart Cookie'. Maybe, people might wonder... "HOW did he do that?". Clue: It's all painted on real watercolor paper. Trade secret! LOL!

InDesign has been one of my newest discoveries. I think they ought to call it 'Dummymaker'. What fun to piece together a book like this... saving scads of time and with unbeatable flexibility. Need a different page size? Takes 2 minutes to resize the book. Need a new font?... click, click, click. All done. I find the buffing is really where it's at with InDesign. By 'buffing' I mean the ability to fine tune each page to match the image. It's quite a different experience from just writing everything in one text document.

All the same things can be done with just photoshop alone, except one would lack the ability to print out multiple pages and scroll through a story with ease. Anyhow, I'm always playing around with new techniques... figuring out what new things I can do with my software.

Ah... yes, the spark plugs. With the Cookie's help I too have recently replaced the plugs, wires and distributor cap on the trusty volvo. It's always so empowering to fix something so it's like new again. All it takes is overcoming ignorance... and a few tools really.

And of course, without a car, one could not go on autumnal drives through the bucolic countryside... savoring the pleasures of the season. Cows, pumpkins, barns, rivers, wooded hills, bridges, cornfields... all the usual stuff.


Kactiguy said...

Wow. Great blog and great illustrations too. I'm with you on the computer thing. It is a great tool, but it just can't replace the trusty pencil. And I too love Indesign. I can print out a dummy in a few minutes. It's great.

Joy said...

I love your illustrations. They remind me so much of the drawings I enjoyed in storybooks as a child.

John Nez said...

Thanks for all the compliments... and thanks for dropping by.

June said...

"All it takes is overcoming ignorance... and a few tools really"

Lovely quote John.

I have sharpened my pencil (mastered that part)!
Now I need to get the ideas bit going.... and then let InDesign do its stuff!

You make it sound so easy.... I just have to give it a go.

John Nez said...

Actually that quote was about automobile repair... LOL! But it applies to computer software too...

In both endeavors it's mostly ignorance that we're up against.

That's why I luv those TV 'how to' shows that take all the mystery out of doing home repairs and other jobs that are really so easy with just a little knowledge.