Within the creative community there seems to be an ongoing divide between the realms of digital art, and traditional (non-digital) art. Often traditional art is viewed as somewhat archaic, conjuring images of the Mona Lisa or a Monet landscape. Whilst these masterpieces, and much of traditional art is of course pivotal to our conceptions of art and creativity, there still exists this divide in relation to the digital medium.
The smooth gloss of a photo manipulation has nothing to do with a beautiful oil painting. Or does it…?
Today I challenge the divide between old and new, and suggest that the varying mediums within ‘art’ as a whole are not only not unrelated, but inextricably linked. Digital art is of course directly influenced by the fundamental principles of traditional art. As graphic designers this is not a chicken egg scenario, digital art would simply not exist without traditional art.
The beauty of these varying mediums is that they can help one another. Whilst traditional art does have certain limitations (as does digital art), digital art can often take hand produced pieces to new dimensions. Digital techniques are often the best way to lift a piece of traditional art, giving it new life and substance.
Today I will show you three incredibly talented artists, who are each masters of both traditional, and digital mediums. What is especially interesting about their work is how they use digital techniques to enhance their already stunning traditional artworks. In fusing the two mediums their work takes on a new richness.
Incredible Hand-Drawn Works (With a Digital Twist)
Florian Nicolle’s Hand-Drawn Works
Florian Nicolle is very well known within the design community, and for good reason! His portfolio is a vast collection of mixed media masterpieces. Florian has clearly mastered traditional art, producing some incredibly realistic drawings.
What makes Florian’s work so intriguing is his treatment of his original drawings. It actually seems that some of his traditional techniques are influenced by the digital medium. For example his application of watercolor brush marks is reminiscent of the grungy, watercolor techniques used in many photo manipulations.
After he completes his original drawing he will typically scan it into Photoshop and proceed to color the image, often applying background textures and details. A common trait of his work is to use Photoshop to paste relevant words over his portraits (for example the lyrics to Billy Jean are laid over his portrait of Michael Jackson).
Andreas Preis’ Hand Drawn Works
Andreas Preis has one of the most unique styles I’ve come across, and a really wonderful portfolio of art to back it up. His work is typically produced using ink in the early stages. He is a true master of the cross-hatching method of shading, giving his works an incredibly detailed, precise look.
Often he will use Photoshop to digitally color his images, whilst retaining the precise, sharp lines of his original drawing. This is a prime example of how combining mediums can produce the best results possible.
The important thing to remember though is that no matter what effects are applied in Photoshop, it is the strength of Andreas’ original drawings that are the basis for such inspiring art.
Alexis Marcou’s Hand Drawn Works
Alexis Marcou is an awe inspiring mixed media artist with a very unique style. Alexis’ work will typically begin on paper, producing some fantastic drawings. He then uses a range of mixed media techniques to add depth and detail to his images. Some notable examples include using a make up applicator to powder his image with subtle color, and refracting light from a prism to lay over his drawing.
Whilst Alexis’ work doesn’t make tremendous use of digital techniques, he is widely respected within the digital art/design community. His art, whilst using traditional mediums seems to jump away from the typical constraints of non-digital art. His drawings often take on the appearance of epic photo manipulations, with subtle lighting, gradients and coloring. Amazing what you can achieve with a little creativity!