Say NO to the Digital Shortcut

For the past two weeks I have been ‘trying’ to create a small range of placement designs for my new product. I have come up with a hundred ideas, attempted to draw half of them, have managed 10 of them and liked, maybe, 1. But still it feels ‘not quite right’.

goats
Using my mouse, I drew this scene after creating a collage of a goat eating clothes on a washing line.

My solution: I need a Wacom tablet. At my old job I had one and I never had a problem designing (or tracing a created design). I would collage images and then stylize them with my digital pen. It was like having a interactive light box.

So what is the problem?

Today my old lecturer (who is now a friend) visited and I realized something…

I have forgotten to look!

Can you draw a penguin, or an oak leaf. I bet you can… but when you draw it does it look like a real penguin or a real leaf… or is it what we “know” a penguin to be… short, black and white – a little beak and the demeanor of a butler? Is an oak leaf green, or brown? Or is it a subtle mix of ochre, moss and fine veins…When did you last look at something with fresh eyes?  What this means is to not see what you should see but rather what is really there. Not a leaf but an organic shape. This takes time and patience – things we have very little of these days. Sometimes we need to keep the medium as natural as possible to keep the clarity and pureness of the finished product.

We need to be able to open our eyes, and then open them again and see what is really there, not an interpretation of what we have been told is there.

I was, simply put, reminded that it is so very easy to take the digital shortcut, but this isn’t always the right path if you want to design something honest and original.

0 thoughts on “Say NO to the Digital Shortcut

  1. Avatar
    Meg says:

    I used to be a photographer — my camera was never tucked away in my bag — and every day I spent at least a few hours in photoshop editing and altering my photos. A lot of my stuff was more art than an actual photo, but I did plain photography too.
    I did a lot of re-coloring different areas of the photo that required lots of tracing the image that took hours. I wanted a tablet SO badly. Then I realized I get a lot of inspiration on my project by spending all that time getting the details right, which helps it evolve into the final piece. With the short cut, the work would always turn out sub-par because I didn’t spend the time “getting to know” my photo.

  2. Avatar
    Steffi says:

    It´s a very interesting post,Wendren.Unfortunately I can´t see your first photo of your post…
    Yes,I agree a own drawing has more character or details as a “simple” photo taken with a Digicam.
    Have a great weekend!

  3. Avatar
    anja says:

    Interesting post and yes, even us artists/designers do forget to look and apply the basic criteria we’ve been made aware of when studying Art. Even as all these tools are available to us, the end result of any application still has to be of fresh approach and effective. A different take of day to day things,even a simple line drawing no matter what application, to be inspiring to more ideas of other designs etc. I also think it is important to be true to the initial concept and if exploration can take you to more true matter, what bliss.