-I must say that the transition to digital methods is nothing short of
breathtaking. I have been an illustrator for over 25 years, beginning as
film animator (I worked on TV spots, Saturday morning cartoons, Sesame
Street, Children's Television Workshop, Nova, etc.), and later wrote and
illustrated a weekly newspaper column as well as worked in mainstream
Now I have moved into children's publishing although I still do design,
advertising and institutional projects.
I mention all of this to emphasize that I have been there to ride out
various stylistic tsunamis that have swept over the applied arts. In my
opinion, the use of software like Painter will completely and forever
the illustration profession. My experience may be indicative; six months
ago I was doing approximated 5% of my work digitally. In recent weeks
number has gone up to 80%!
I was part of the 1996 New York Society of Illustrators annual show and
reviewing the exhibit I suddenly realized that at least 75% of the work
could have been done digitally without the slightest diminution of
I didn't act on that epiphany right away, but that thought festered in
mind and slowly I began dabbling with the Painter/Photoshop combination.
Painter's main virtue is also its greatest problem; it has so many
that it is difficult for an artist to decide what CAN be done rather
what SHOULD be done. In traditional media each technique requires a
level of mastery to produce a compelling image. The same is true for
Painter and I think artists often are seduced by the vast capabilities
the software rather than matching a technique to the aesthetic
of their imagery.
In my digital children's book I have deliberately limited the technique
an attempt to keep it stylistically consistent - the temptation to get
exotic is strong, but so far I'm resisting.
I know this post is getting a bit long, but I'll relate one more
illustration anecdote; a design firmed called to assign me an
for the annual United Way fund-raiser brochure. I sat down and comped it
painter in exactly 30 minutes and posted it on the web. The client was
delighted (with a few changes) and I'm going to final on Monday. The
client, a graphic design firm, was absolutely flabbergasted that I had
the image digitally. This experience is repeating itself more and more
In any case, I had always thought that ditial art was the sole
of video game designers, fantasy art and Adobe Illustrator drones. My
exprience with Painter has convinced me that digital art will not only
find a place in the traditional aesthetic, but will help that aesthetic
-- Mike Reed
-- Sandra Hildreth Home Page: http://www.northnet.org/hildreth Art 7-12, Madrid-Waddington Central School, Madrid, NY 13660 School Pages: http://www.northnet.org/mwcsart/mwart.htm Art Methods, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617