Digital Reflections

How does working by hand differ from drawing utilizing the computer or from typing on the computer?

As someone who came into this course with absolutely no background in art or design, drawing both on the computer and by hand are new concepts to me but what I’ve learned is that I lack the patience and precision and consistency for both mediums. However, for my final project, I settled for working by hand as at least I have some history of pen on paper (doodling, artworks from primary school, marginalia in various notebooks) and I was completely hopeless at making digital looks like a mess of lines–which could be due to the lack of professional program.

Even knowing that I have no artistic aptitude, I always overestimate my skills when I have to do projects like this (and for hobbies too–I often think I can paint beautiful landscapes I see only to have it look like a third grade drawing mums hang on their fridge). Despite seeing the limits of my capabilities in my visual journal throughout this semester, somehow, my mind thought I would be capable of much more when it came down to it. One of the first things I learned in that drawing is a lot like putting eyeliner on. You add a little more here and there to make a dramatic impact and–oops, now you’ve ruined it. However, despite my troubles in putting my creative vision onto the page, I appreciate that control–or at least, the illusion of control–that pen and paper gave me. I could attempt finer details, use different pen strokes and experiment more than I could on the computer.

Do you think you are using different parts of your brain?

It’s been well researched that students who take down notes by writing them by hand retain more of their information than students who type notes onto a computer. If you take away the distraction aspect of computers, it’s the slow process of writing that helps you remember what you putting down. As someone who writes fiction in their spare time, I have appreciated the differences and benefits of each medium. First of all, let’s go back to those distractions. While it may take longer to write than it is to type, I end up taking longer to finish writing on the computer because all the apps, websites and information immediately available to me make it easy to get sidetracked. I also think that all of that may overstimulate your brain whilst you’re trying to be productive. Writing by hand also provides a more intimate experience with the piece I’m writing and I feel more like a writer. However, the convenience of spell checks and word processors means that I only write by hand for small things and I usually end up transcribing those onto the computer.

Which media do you prefer and why?

If we are talking specifically about art, then I would have to say that I prefer the pen to paper method. Like when I write a pen on paper and feel like a writer when I’m using pen (or pencil, paint, marker etc.) on paper, I felt more like an artist. It allows me to experiment more with different styles, create multiple versions and use my old friend white-out when I make a mistake. Also, I don’t have the patience to sit and learn another computer program to become proficient in it.

However, just because I’m unable to use technology to create art doesn’t mean that I don’t have the utmost respect for those that do. I constantly marvel at how artists can create such intricate designs and world with computer programs when I can barely draw a straight line. One of my acquaintances works for Rockstar North in Edinburgh and through them, I’ve learned about the amount of work and talent that goes into creating the worlds of video games. In short, both mediums are equally relevant.