Artist's Toil

I consider myself an artist. My media is simply pencil and sometimes ink. I have at times had to jump into the arena of logo design for mostly financial reasons. My first real experience of this biz was initiated at the invitation of my brother to help him in his designs, particularly logo, in a side project business he launched. At this point I entered into the realm of vector art (Illustrator) and learned as much as I could. After grasping what the program could do, I set out to contribute as much as I was able. A good understanding of the software let me turn out designs within a short period of time. Bam! Logo done. Wow that looks really good. Money made...It began to become insanely easy, and soon enough I started to really take into consideration the design fees graphic artists charge, and clearly saw they were outrageous given the amount of time and actual creative effort they (not the computer) put into it. So we charged accordingly, not competitively. Targeting the mom & pop businesses who did not have large sums of money to spend. I still felt a dullness from the work, so I began more and more to sketch with my own hands/mind, pieces of art which I then scanned and manually traced into vector. This just to give me a little more creative control. I did this for awhile, and soon dropped out of the biz because it still just had too much of an artificial flavor. Now I find out, programs like Illustrator/Inkscape have the ability to automatically convert a raster image into vector (and other mind boggling features), and I am asking where does it end? How little real creative effort is involved. How easy adjustments are made to compensate for an "error". Are there any other artists out there who feel this way? A disenchantment with what tech advances have impacted on the world of an artist? Part of what I identify with in the world of art is what goes on in the formative process of the piece. It is at times such a "mind bleeding" painful process that in the end when it is complete, there is a heavy sigh of relief as if the battle has ended. After all, in its essence, the finished piece needs to be for OTHERS no matter how much pain you went through in making it. That's what keeps you going. And somehow the creative toil in the mind makes it all worth it.

The reason I am even writing this, is recently I was invited to help again in some logo design. In tough economic times such as we are in now, I may just have to do this. A quick glance at what advances in the software have been reached have stunned me. As far as the business aspect is concerned, I have to look at it as basically the client is paying me for my knowledge of this powerful software to do a job. Not for my good old fashioned toil as an artist...Sure it's fun to mess with for someone with any kind of creative initiative, but that pencil and that sketch pad by the window somehow is more the real thing to me.


deleted deleted
1 Response Apr 26, 2010

I was an illustrator in the Army (been out since 1991) and it was computers that made my job obsolete -- they were primitive then but still took away most of the need for me. Now I am about to return to my first love -- graphic design -- and I am excited to learn about all of these tools you speak of... can't wait... but there is no replacing the satisfaction of creating something nice with my own hands. I GET IT!