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I recently read a post in one of my Linkedin groups… ”Does Anyone Still Draw?” Are you kidding me? First of all that sounds like a statement from Leonardo or Michelangelo and though I revere those two and my wonderful figure drawing teachers from Art Center, Lorser Feitleson and Henry Carmean give me a break. First off, the answer is unequivocally yes! I do, every single day. I enjoy drawing and sketching. In fact I will state right now that I promise you readers 3 new sketches a week for the next two weeks.

Check out some of the responses this blogger got…(1)I for one always thought digital too perfect. It lacks the personality and character other mediums
have….(2)No…….we’ve turned into robots and have semi lost the ability to be practical beings….(3) Even though I may loose commissions through my traditional way of working (illustrations in pen, pencil, markers and paint), I prefer it to the slick, clean computer work…(4) I am just as cynical as you…(5) I have lost commissions because I have been true to myself…and finally this…(6) Illustration and the design is basically problem solving on a very creative level. I don’t think the designer or art director you’re working with cares how you physically complete the illustration as long as the finished product is what they’re looking for.

nude drawing by Lon levin

drawing by Lon Levin

Whether you use a tablet with a stylus or like me use the clunky “bar of soap” mouse it is the final product that matters. Did you accomplish what you set out to do. That can be for a client or yourself. Let me address this person who I assume for arguments sake is pointing a finger at the under thirty crowd who have grown up in the digital age and use every electronic device they can get their hands on. These Millenials use photoshop, painter, corel draw and any other digital program that comes their way. They are showing us the way to engage with the art market in the 21st century. I want to thank them for doing that. And by the way, my disgruntled Linkedin friend some of the best artists and draftsman and women work digitally. They draw and paint the lights out.I did a sketch of jefferson then scanned him into the computer and painted the finish. I have dozens more examples of the same process. I work back and forth on the computer to traditional drawing and painting to projecting images to anything and everything to achieve the desired effect. Those who stand on ceremony who only want to be purists will have a tough time competing and remaining relevant.Thomas Jefferson
The real question is, are these younger folks or anyone who works in the digital arena competent artists? Have they been trained whether self-taught or schooled at a place like Art Center, RISD, Visual Arts or Cal Arts. Do they know the history of art and are they taking that history with all it’s influences and creating something new? I don’t care if they use a pencil, charcoal or a crow quill dipped in permanent black ink to draw, if they are experimenting trying new things developing and pursuing a goal of being the best artist they can be then that’s fine. Personal hubris about your traditional skills may make you feel good about yourself but in the end are you a “falling tree” that no one hears? My suggestion…do both and you’re likely to reach your goal and stay relevant.