Rock, Paper, Computers: Does Traditional Media Trump Electronic Media?

One thing I like about working at DDA is that I can do both design and illustration.These two disciplines don’t feel as separate as before, because in the last 15 years they have been brought together by the computer as one medium.

When Adobe Illustrator first became popular, illustrators had the option of using those electronic tools, or sticking to traditional media like pen and paper. There was a debate whether the quality of illustration would change, and many were skeptical that the computer could produce an illustration with the detail and richness in texture that can be achieved with more tactile materials.

Print Magazine decided to put the debate to a test; a group of very well know illustrators were asked to produce an illustration in their established style using the computer, to see if the result looked different, better, or worse. The result was that, uniformly, the illustrators themselves were surprised to find that they did not feel limited by using the computer.

I remember being suprised that each illustrator’s distinctive style was preserved, and that I liked their electronic illustrations as much as their traditional illustrations.

We still use pen, paper, and lightboxes when illustrating at DDA, along with the computer. I always loved having many tools available to create an illustration — colored pencils, ink, paint, and pencil. The computer is one of my favorite tools now, and it’s good to know that my illustration style is more influenced by me than by the tools that I use.