A Question From A Rugby Dad

Image showing a comparison between a photo and a piece of digital art

© 2017.


One of the dads at rugby last night was curious about how I create my digital art and in what way it might differ from a simple photo effect or texture. I think it's a valid question, I mean what is the real difference between pressing a button and creating a digital painting? He's not the only one who has such a query, my mum (among quite a few others) has asked me something very similar. There are numerous apps and effects available to anyone with a smartphone, tablet or pc that could get a similar result compared with the art I create, so how can I show that what I am doing is not the same? The best way to do this really is to show what I mean with visuals.

The photos above, starting from the top, are the original photo that I referenced from and the (finished) digital painting I did for my son's birthday. They both seem to look very similar and that is the idea, however they are very different. I have added extra bits like my son's left leg and I chose not to paint other bits like the other players from my son's team. One of the opposition boys is wearing blue shorts in the photo and I painted white ones to match his team mates. Another boy wears huge socks over his knees and, admittedly, I was tempted to paint in shorter ones, but finally decided to keep them big. I think the socks portray a certain innocence and fun and that's why they got painted to look as they were in the original photo.

To create my art in pixels or in acrylic paint, at every stage of it's creation, the artwork relies on thought, feeling, decision making and a particular set of skills. Oh! and layers, many, many layers.

The following is an example of a similar scenario. A modern drum machine can produce a drum loop at the press of a button. A very nice loop that doesn't necessitate any skills (other than button pressing you might argue) to make the drum machine play the loop. But a skilled player could play on the drum's pads in order to create a pattern and even add (or omit) certain elements to make the rhythm different if they desired. A trained ear, hands and focussed emotions instruct whether something should be added or not to the drum pattern. A certain flourish and emotive or conscious stylisation. Me creating art is like the skilled drummer on the pads, as opposed to the average Joe (or Josephine) pressing the play button. Both might produce similar results but are created in a completely different way.

We are all different, so I am in no way saying my way is best, but it is most suited to my tastes. I prefer work from the person who presses record to work from the person who presses play.

I hope this helps to answer his question and if anyone has any more please get in touch here: Enquiries and I'll do my best to answer them (either that or I'll start charging tuition fees ha!)