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iSpeak some iThoughts on an iPad Friday Fan Art

March 4, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a couple of wonderful watercolor renditions of a Spiderwick nixie and mermaid from Mason. Shortly thereafter, we received a follow up piece from him that, I think, is much stronger. The difference: he created this on his iPad.


Normally I would move onto another submission of fan art for FFA, and fortunately, there is much here for me to choose from. And, though I’ve had computer-generated fan artwork here before, based on the simple fact that this was created on an iPad, I felt it needed to be shared. Its a nice segue to post my thoughts about digital artwork, something that can be quite a heated topic among illustrators.

I have a love-and-hate relationship with artwork created on a computer despite the fact that I use it regularly for many aspects of bookmaking. In fact, the majority of the Meno books were created entirely in Photoshop. Though, in truth, they started out like all of my illustrations – as pencil drawings, just like this sketch for the cover of The Wyrm King.

I love the freedom to explore a variety of compositions and palettes with the swipe of a mouse or click of a button. However, I am oft-times left with a longing for the original artwork that was touched, smudged, smeared and crafted by my hand. You know, something to cherish and share after a project is completed. (Or, if I am lucky enough, to exist in a gallery long after I perish).

The presence one feels when viewing an original piece of artwork does not exist in the virtual world of a computer. One needs only to visit a local art museum and stand before a painting done by Vincent Van Gogh, John Waterhouse or Norman Rockwell to know this to be true. But, as seen by Mason’s iPad artwork, it is becoming increasingly more enticing (and dare I say convenient?) to create art digitally.

I suppose at the end of the day, creativity is creativity no matter what medium an artist chooses. Like music and film, books have reflected our love and curiosity for the digital world. There are trends to be sure, but if the artist’s imprint is successfully relayed to the viewer, I suppose it doesn’t matter if it was done in hand-ground pigments or in pixels.

For me, the computer is no different than a pencil or a brush. Its what you create with it that speaks your truth. As to whether it will hold its allure, like an original watercolor wash by Arthur Rackham or a graphic gouache painting by Mary Blair, I suppose only time will tell.

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Never Abandon Imagination Tony DiTerlizzi: Never abandon imagination.

Imagination is a world of possibility that exists within each of us. It is what makes us uniquely human. It is our creative fingerprint that touches and influences the world around us. Imagination is essential to art and science; to innovation and prosperity. It gives us hope, calls us to action and leads to change.

Whether it’s fairies, dragons, robots or aliens, all of my children’s book characters are siblings born of my imagination – an imagination strengthened through years of encouragement from family, teachers and friends. While so many others abandoned it during their transition from childhood to adulthood, I fiercely held onto mine, hoping for a day when I could share it to inspire the next generation of dreamers. Innovators. World changers.

Imagination empowers us to envision and create a reality of what could be. We must hold it dear, foster it and never abandon it.