Are the tools important?

5 01 2009

There seems to be an eternal argument about tools being important int he creating of good art, and let’s not get into the (in my opinion meaningless) argument about digital versus traditional art. Are the tools important for the creation of quality art? Will the good tools make me a good artist? Maybe, maybe not. I think that good tools can help improve the learning process, or facilitate it, but they will not make anybody a good artist. You become a good artist by putting time and effort into learning.

Black Mermaid (mouse)

Black Mermaid (mouse)

Since my dear husband gave me a tablet as a graduation present, and since I could actually start using it in June 2008, I feel that my art has improved a lot. Before I was working with a mouse. Sure, I did learn a lot, but I found myself going towards cell shading a lot, not only because I do like the style, but also because the work of painting with the mouse was really hard on my wrist. It is doable! I think my best work with mouse was the Black Mermaid, but it was a terribly time consuming process and strokes were less fluid.

My first work with tablet was Delvyn. She was completely done in Photoshop, and it was very well received, everybody liked her and I think it started a process of experimentation in my artwork.

Delvyn (first work wih tablet)

Delvyn (first work wih tablet)

The fact that you can use the tablet’s pen as a traditional brush helped me in playing more with colors and blends. Which ultimately brought me to where I am now and I hope to keep improving.

But I mainly believe that a good product is achieved only by the mastery of a good artist. There are no magic tools, the computer does not do it for you, you do it yourself through the application of hard work and study.

There is an anecdote that tells how Bellini asked Albrecht Durer to show him which paintbrushes he used to do hair, since his painted hair was nearly perfect. Durer did so and to Bellini’s surprise they both were using the same brushes. In front of Bellini Durer painted some hair. Bellini asked him if the bristles were separated in a special way, to what Durer answered that he was only using a form of symmetry. Thus being reduced to the masterful technique that the artists had so hardly studied during his stay in Italy.

I would love to hear your opinions.



6 responses

5 01 2009

I think that good tools are essential in making good art. For example you can make an excellent painting using good bushes, fine canvas and expensive paints and you can try to make the same painting using tools of a lower quality but then not only painting process goes more hard and looks a bit different (usually in a bad way) but also you get angry and just want to quit it. It’s a pure pleasure when you can see that the brush is doing exactly what you expect it to do, when the paint dries to a colour you knew it would dry to.

The same goes with digital art. I’d throw my computer through a window if I were to work with a mouse. Also I got pissed off frequently when I was working with a tablet of a lower quality. Now I have wacom and I love to work :3

You can learn the techniques on whatever materials and tools you have – but it’s a greater pleasure when you use those better ones *nods*

6 01 2009

@Adelaida: Amen to that! The enjoyment of doing art is big part of the process, and it feels soooo good when you are using good quality items!

5 01 2009

I feel that a tool is very important toward giving you room to hit your potential – as an end cap to what you can accomplish with the circumstances. But these tools aren’t the skill set, and the quality of the image is up to how you approach it. I’ve seen amazing mouse art, though I feel that tablets are better for sake of not blowing out a wrist and giving a more natural movement that we grow up with on paper – it’s easier to relate the information between the two (equal!) mediums.

This is why I’m using default brushes more lately – I LOVE custom brushes, but people need to see that you don’t need special tools to make it all nice. It’s all for flavor, preference, and the chance to hit your full range of abilities 🙂

6 01 2009

@Cris: Excellently put, as usual, you have the gift of eloquence that I lack. 🙂

5 01 2009

I don’t think they will make you a better artist until you’ve learned with basic tools. Of course really bad quality tools might make it harder to learn (no you can’t really learn to draw and paint well with MS paint or crayons) but if you start with a basic good to learn it’s practice that does it. If someone picks up paints and paper I use they won’t be able to produce the same thing. Better paints might cause less frustration for someone who has lots of experience or make things easier, but If I use something I’m not used to I’m going to have trouble (like my current problem with an awful block of paper)

Tablet =/= master drawings 🙂

6 01 2009

@Mere: I agree Mere. Sometimes you find people, though, that will think that you are doing a good job because you are using a certain program, instead of acknowledging that the good program might facilitate the work (as Chris mentioned) but you are putting all the skills and hard work into it.
And about MS paint…. have you seen the Mona Lisa video? 😉 It’s a good humility lesson!

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