I keep six honest serving men
( They taught me all I knew )
Their names are Why and What and When.
How and Where and Who.
I used to think that digital art was all, smoke, mirrors and twiddling knobs. A procedure full of canned performance leading to a stunning but sterile perfection. Too good to be true. It remained an interesting area of artwork that had every right to be there. It simply didn’t include me. To an extent I still hold this view. Painting in the traditional sense of getting brushes wet remains a cherished creative experience. My retro self says, what ever happened to those six honest serving men that taught Rudyard Kipling all he knew.? Where is the warmth in digital art. Why has the human touch been replaced by clicks and clones. Why is there a guarded acceptance to the how, what and when of so called smart art. Where has the honesty of art gone, has a digital file replaced a heartfelt human hand? Is that how you view digitally generated art ? if so, you’re certainly not alone.
However, if like me, someone introduced you to a second generation iPad Pro, with a 12’’ x 9’’ screen plus an Apple Pencil. Perhaps you would be glad they took the trouble. Chances are, an enjoyment of digital art would begin to make inroads to your creativity just as it has me. Here’s why.
Having held a pencil for over 70 years, believe me, Apple got this pencil right. Importantly, it feels right. All we take for granted when picking up a humble pencil is packed into this most acceptable and unusual experience. Ok...you’ve kissed good bye to a hefty wad of notes but, you’ll soon forget all about that. In the normal flow of things around the studio, a pencil is a pencil. It’s something we take for granted. Stick it behind your ear or you’ll loose it. Does it matter anyway, just pick up another. A personal attachment to the common pencil is at best, transient.
Not so the Apple Pencil. It’s special. You’ll never need another one. It will never need sharpening. It does all you will ever require and has the proven potential to become a familiar, faithful friend. Rudyard may well have considered it an honest servant. It has unique characteristics too. This accommodating little chap needs charging up! Fear not, it won’t let you down. The charge lasts ages, plus it will tell you when it needs a boost. Even in the middle of an important stage during artwork, it can be boosted by a ‘’lightening’’ 10 second zap into a slot of the iPad to keep you going. All of the lines and shading are instant. No time lag of a marks trying to catch up with the flow of your hand. The precision is utterly reliable. Every touch is touch sensitive. The harder you press the darker the line. The converse is also true. Holding it sideways to render shading or texture is a delight to behold.
You will begin to appreciate its willingness to serve your aims with the honesty and dignity that your artwork requires. What’s more you will always know where it is!
Make no mistake you will look after this trusty servant with the care it justly deserves.
The iPad Pro 12’’ x 9’’
You will have the means to produce a vast array of digital art without the use of Photoshop or any other app. This is digital art that embraces old school. Simple. Direct.
The approach to the use of an iPad is just like a sketch pad or canvas. There’s no need for an extra camera, the quality of the iPad camera is impressive ! What’s more everything is at your fingertips for quick reference or storage. Yes, the experience of producing marks on a screen is different to working on paper or card, but this is minimal and momentary. Our desire to create moves us to appreciate a reliable consistent feel as we work. It all becomes as it should, a flow of mind, heart and hand. For the really persnickety sounds can be manufactured in time with the marks you make while working. (yes even such tiny scratches of lead as you draw on textured paper!) Frankly, I’d go and get myself seriously looked at if I resorted to that degree of reality, but obviously some folk need it ) I much prefer talking to myself, the cat, or listening to jazz and reggae.
The markup of basic colours in the iPad is excellent and works fine. No need to get extra apps. Technically I’m a fossil. I’ve found all the cropping, exposure and saturation choice on iPad, easy to understand. The lifelong decisions of artwork procedure plus presentation are comfortably similar to the iPads layout. On the other hand, it’s refreshingly different. The advantage of having an entire working studio on your lap anyplace, anytime without all the mess, remains a constant revelation. The importance of seizing the moment to capture the essence of an idea is made even more significant by being instantly recorded, plus backed up. This peace of mind while working is a unique experience. The entire creative act is at once elevated and dignified. All this outstanding technology is conveniently to hand. When it’s complete send it to Japan or....anywhere. I’m not clever. This is !
My images are simple.
The choice is straight forward, hence it’s no surprise I choose objects I’ve related to most of my life. Art stuff, musical instruments, or objects that have a strong story line, toys etc.
I endeavour to invite the observer in by using props that convey a rich heritage of associations. Ladders take you to higher places, Biplanes are simply flights of imagination. Fish and water are tranquility itself. The blank canvas paint or easels keep the focus on real art, not virtual art.
To sum up.
My compositions are traditional still life stage props. They convey real shadows and interact with each other naturally. I place them on a huge 6’ x 4’ white board. At all possible times I endeavour to compose and photograph my subjects outside. Especially early morning or late evening for long shadows. Surely, real shadows will always look real. Why be content with anything else. Digital art can look too perfect, mechanical, even sterile. Long live a wiggly line that relates to a human touch. A doodleloon is art without the use of smoke and mirrors.
There remains an element of suspicion about digitally generated art. That need not be the case. The iPad takes into account a way of working that would have wowed the 60s while still working old school. Album cover design in the 60s-70s would have an even bigger place in art history books today. This website collection endeavours to relate some of the ideas that simply couldn’t be achieved due to time or expense. It’s a delight to recall some of those ideas now, with some new ones too. I realise along this narrow retro path I’ve much to learn and discover, that in itself is the very essence of art. I hope you may enjoy this observation of doodleloonz.