Many of us remember the first time we enhanced a simple sketch with coloured pastels, or realised that the application of paint could add a whole new dimension to a collage made out of newspaper or magazine clippings.
But does the joy of using design programs such as Illustrator and Photoshop mean that it’s all too easy to create pieces that utilise precious few of these traditional methods?
Creating on the computer alone means we no longer need a large physical space and a vast collection of expensive materials. However, the downside of this approach is work, while technically perfect, can also appear somewhat flat.
Raphaël Vicenzi says Switchblade Soul looks rushed, but he spent a lot of time trying to find a balance in the image. Scanned textures were used for the woman’s hair
We have much to learn from those who successfully manage to combine both traditional mixed media techniques and digital elements. Their process allows for speedier experimentation and execution, but the resulting works of art still retain an organic element.
“Something that is hand-drawn always brings tactility and authenticity to a piece of artwork,” says Ollie Munden (megamunden.com), who blends eastern influences and 80s skate graphics in his intricate creations.
“Only using a computer can make an image feel restricted and a bit stale, but using one to find the perfect finish for your image is quicker, easier and allows you to try effects you may never have got around to, if you were working by hand only,” Ollie says.
Mateusz Sypien sketched papercraft models, before creating his digital composition, Mad Eyez & Papercrafts
“Even though I totally embrace digital techniques, I can’t help always having a little more respect for something that’s handcrafted.”