Thursday, 31 January 2013

Digital Cartoon Log

Going digital is not all it's cracked up to be for a weekend cartoon artist.

I haven't really found an easy way to draw cartoons on the computer.  It's still much easier to sketch out a little paper cartoon, ink it up and colour it.  For a one panel cartoon, it might take me less than five minutes to do.  For computer generated cartoon of a similar size and shape, it might take thirty minutes.  The problem?  You are looking at a screen while you are drawing on a graphic pad.  You can't really draw an accurate line when your pen is disconnected from where you are looking.  At least I can't.  There seem to be many cartoonists who are doing just fine.

I am currently working with the Bamboo pad input. It was recommended to me by several other authors.  It does the job, but it doesn't have its own art program.  It is an input that works with your current software.  I don't find most drawing programs that you can download for free easy to work with.  I can't really afford to buy and try a number of the art programs on the market to just "give it a whirl."

I have been watching for something like Wacom's new Cintiq graphic tablet.  This just may be what will eventually replace the pen and paper.  In the meantime, who can afford the $1000-$4000 price tag? (unless you make a trip to your local credit union)  And I've tried many drawing programs on a tablet and a tablet pen, but they just don't work with ease the way a pencil works on paper.

I'm not even convinced people like the computer generated art better.

In an informal Facebook poll, the response was nine for hand drawn, four for computer generated. Their comments were interesting.  The points made were hard to argue with.
"hand drawn... more original/personal." JM
"Digital...clearer and easier to read." GC
"Hand drawn every time. You can't beat seeing the hand of the artist. Hand drawn is original and unique. Digital is great for distribution and economy but essentially worthless. PS. I still have your old cartoon scripts you made for me 25 years ago. You can bet I wouldn't have saved them if they were digital." BH
"The digital version captures my eye more quickly and I will likely read it. So digital." JW
"I like hand drawn; I find it easier to read. I also prefer reading off real paper than a screen." SK
"I agree hand drawn is nice but the digital is way more eye catching." MD
"Hand drawn if it's to be a personal card; digital for colour vibrancy and impact in mass production." EB

What do you think?  Here are a few examples to choose from.  While looking through the scanned cartoon art and the computer generated cartoons, ask yourself this question:  "If I were to give you a little slip of paper with something written on it, would you rather have the hand drawn cartoon or the computer generated cartoon?"

I'm not sure the computer generated cartoon is more artistic.  The lines and colours are certainly more clean.  I get the feeling that the hand drawn one is more special to adorn your paper.  Is there an element of "cuteness" for the first?  Is there a feeling that a computer generated image is less personal?  I'm not sure.
What type of cartoon would you rather read on paper?  What style of cartoon would you rather follow on the computer?  Do you think the artistic quality of cartooning is compromised with a computer generated image?
Hmmm.  I am still undecided if the extra time and effort is worth it.  Nevertheless, until I can get used to pen and screen being apart, I think I'll have to make a temporary compromise.

I find the hand drawn cartoons easier, quicker and more artistic.  People seemed to be more impressed with a cartoon scribbled on the bottom of a little hand written note. 

However, when posting online or using a cartoon in a computer generated form, the digital cartoon seems most fitting.  I will use digital cartoons for that medium of communication.

I do look forward to trying the fancy graphic tablets, but it may be a while before those prices come down.  If I were to send you a personal cartoon - would you prefer to read it on paper or to view it online?

No comments:

Post a Comment