Recently a read a debate about the use of photoshop in art (I use GIMP, same thing). Specifically, it revolved around enlarging a photo reference in photoshop, then tracing it onto paper or canvas to skip the chore of sketching free-hand. Given my style, expression and goals, this would never be a useful technique, so I’ll decline to comment on that specific technique. My answer, in the debate, was that as long as it was a technique that you would proudly share with others, buyers, viewers, and other artists, it’s not cheating.
It did get the gears turning on my own ethics in art. I grew up with the idea that copying (using reference images) of anything anytime, was cheating. While I managed to learn to draw horses from memory pretty well, there wasn’t much progress beyond that, and while I still spend plenty of time drawing with no photo reference (sketches) I find a little goes along way, and I take lots of snaps to help me along.
Which brings me to “Dreaming of Mice…” This is from a small graphite ‘bed sketch’ I did quite some time ago (literally, sketched while in bed). It was, by necessity, drawn from the imagination (nope, there are no mirrors on my ceiling) and is a self-portrait of a cuddly companiable night with the cats. Because I found it evocative of companionship, I used it for my static page, Casual Connections, but I could, through GIMP, never manage to bump the pale graphite into a good contrasting black. So today, I decided to use technology differently. I took the scanned image and printed onto 8x10 paper. I made transfer paper with a graphite stick scribbled onto tracing paper, and transferred the image onto a fresh sheet of sketch paper, redid the lines in coloured pencil, Inktense watersoluble pencils and Pentel pocket brush, while trying to maintain the spontaneity and mood of the original. Now, I’ll have an enhanced version of the original using both high tech and low tech to get there.
I will leave the original version on casual connections for a day or so so that you can compare.
PS. Those cards I promised are going out tonight, lurkers included (actually, only lurker came forward, for the remainder, “Happy Lurking and Enjoy the Holiday Season” (and hopefully, this blog where lurkers are always welcome!))