Monday, 12 May 2014

Q&A: Hand-made design "flaws" vs slick, polished digital illustration

Last week I answered a little questionnaire for illustration student Elena Barroso. Elena is writing an essay which discusses why some designers prefer to build flaws into their work in an effort to counter-act the slick, perfect look in today's ubiquitous digital are my answers to her questions! 

Q: Which kind of process are you most familiar with, digital or hand-crafted based process?

A: I am definitely most familiar with traditional, hand-crafted methods as all of my work revolves around drawing, painting and creating textures by hand. After scanning into the computer, I will sometimes finish the illustration by adding in digital elements, although mostly I will only use the computer to add emphasis or clean-up my scans.  

Q: Have you ever put an intentional error or slip in your work just to make it look more special/crafted? and why? 
A: Yes - sometimes, my drawings can become quite technical and exact, but to create a sense of movement or life I need to force myself to be more spontaneous and loose with the media. 

Q: Have you ever kept a non-intentional error or slip in your work for any reason?and why? 
A: Yes – Most of the time I don’t erase my “mistakes”. It creates that look of being “hand-made” and often some of the best parts of an illustration can happen in the form of accidents.  

Q: Would you prefer to use or create a digital tool to simulate a slip or would you induce it with a physical medium (like splashing your drawing)? and why? 
A: I always prefer to be loose with the physical media – it is the most spontaneous and natural way and I believe it creates more effective, more believable results because of this. 

Q: If you have done any of the above, was the outcome successful?
A: Yes – mostly. Even though I aim to invoke a sense of spontaneity within my work, it still needs to be controlled! It is very easy to go over the top when adding in looser pencil lines or paint splashes, so it’s important to know what the right amount is, and when to stop. 

Q: Do u think hand-crafted work has a stronger sense of authenticity and would be more valued?
A: I think the fact that hand-crafted work is physical and “real” makes it seem more believable, as we associate hand-made crafts with care and hard work. However I believe how much a piece is valued can depend on a number of factors, such as the subject matter or how much time/care/attention/passion appears to have gone into it. A lot of digital illustration is sensational and expertly created with love and care.

I hope you enjoy reading these little Q&As. What's your opinion on a "hand-crafted" look vs a sleek, polished digital look?    


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