Drawing on Tools for Art vs Design

Although computer technology has completely transformed aspects of my business, with digital manipulation of hand painted artwork and designs, I am cognizant that the roots of what I create falls to creativity and hand applied method of drawing and painting. Drawing to me is fundamental to artistic expression.

When I read this post on Art Backwash regarding the aspects of drawing versus computer skills, it got me thinking of how in the age of technology certain art forms, like drawing with a pencil on paper may become disregarded. Von Glitschka is a graphic artist and blogger. He sets off an ongoing debate by describing the importance of analog versus digital methods in a humorous and thoughtful way. It is interesting that for someone who expounds the importance of drawing, most of his images do look overly computerized. There’s a lot of truth to this article about what the job skills of a “graphic designer” meant to someone in pre computer days and now. Previously, it was assumed that drawing was the core skill for a graphic designer, now the assumption is that you create all your designs on the computer and hand drawing is not a necessary component. He calls those who create only on the computer, “toolers.” He lists five things to critique good design:

1. Is there a core concept? Great designers should be great thinkers.

2. Is the style appropriate? It’s commercial art, not fine art.

3. Is the art well executed and precise? Quality craftsmanship is a must.

4. Is it unique? Don’t be a drop in the sea of marginal prefab design.

5. Is it inspiring? Does it contain a clever visual twist or metaphor?

And the difference between Great and Bad Design:

Great Design — Contains all five attributes but is very rare.

Good Design — Must contain 1, 2 and 3. Most often 4 too.

Marginal Design — Only contains two attributes, fails the rest.

Bad Design — Most manage to avoid all five attributes.

I do believe these are good, general criteria to use for many aspects of design, including interior design.

This is a good site for learning more about computer skills needed to create digital artwork, however, which for me is becoming important as I need to learn and take on more technical abilities for casart coverings.* His site offers free tutorials, particularly for Mac,  which may be worth downloading.

* Notice our logo is a purposeful mix of originally illustrated elements within a vector text design/graphic

This was another stimulating post on the difference between Art and Design. I agree with the poster on the different aspects but I see design being part of the bigger art umbrella and aspects of each overlapping. The argument made is that a good artist has natural born talent and a good designer has skill but talent is not necessarily needed and to create good design and that art is subjective and made without a purpose, unlike design. There were over 150 comments in reaction to this post, all very interesting and some very heated.

This argument of art vs design crosses over into my realm. I’ve always done artwork as long as I can remember and I’m constantly expanding my knowledge and honing my skills. Although, the artwork I do relies on good design, it serves a purpose and in many cases is done on commission from illustrated portraits to house renderings to calligraphy, decorative painting and murals. They all require composition, eye for color and technical ability = all elements of design. I see the two collaborating and leading to a creation that can be subjective.

Case in point. I ran across this exceptional artist’s work, Ron Francis on In The Real Art World. He is incredibly talented but he couldn’t achieved his artwork without design and skill. Although the concept may not be planned everything about it’s execution is completely planned, purposeful and precise. It has a highly realistic, illustrative quality. He even uses software to iron out some proportion difficulties before painting. It achieves a completely subjective response by the viewer. It’s the talent and the twist that makes his work stand out.

On the Edge, painting by Ron Francis (via In The Real Art World blog)

Darwin, painting by Ron Francis (via In The Real Art World blog)

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The Divine Window, painting by Ron Francis (via In The Real Art World)

Strange Little Clouds, painting by Ron Francis (via The Real Art World)

His work makes you think. There are a lot of complex layers. In some ways his work reminds me of David Wiesner and Andrew Wyeth. I like that he looks to the great masters as Caravaggio (one of my favorites) as well as Titian, Magritte, Rembrandt, Manet and Dali as past influences.

1 thought on “Drawing on Tools for Art vs Design

  1. At a recent visit to NYC’s Museum of Arts and Design I struggled with the relationship between art, craft and design. The docent used some of the displays from the permanent collection to highlight their relationship. visit MAD’s blog at http://www.madblog.org/.

    I like how Von Glitschka includes craftsmanship (execution and precision) as one of five elements of good design. Modern art often ignores this element.

    An interesting & thought-provoking post.

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