Digital drawing in isolation.
Its a tough time for so many. Being a lucky one that does not have any symptoms, so far, I am just dealing with self isolation. I am also lucky that my partner is sharing our family flat and we are supporting each other along with our family WhatsApp and zoom sessions. Video Conf with research colleagues bring more welcome sharing via screes. Day to day I have been digitally drawing subjects that feel valuable in these times. Rather than leave them on the iPad or instagram I collate them here.
Week 2. Self Portrait
With no contact with other human beings at the moment a self portrait is perhaps worthy of attention. Made from a colour ‘selfie’ photograph this image is imported into an engraving plugin. ie a digital app that enables the user to select from range of traditional metal drawn engraving effects.
It doesn’t feel that the craft of engraving is being carried out to get to this image, but in times of no access to tactile printmaking facilities digital offers some respite. The app enables conversion from a photographic image into a black and white line engraving rendition. This can be taken into image editing app photoshop and further developed. ie black replaced with pink as in Fig1. The lower part of the image is engraved with an ‘accented’ linear cutting whereas the top facial image is made with a ‘cross fine’ style.
In The Attraction of Print – Notes on the Surface of the Art Print by Ruth Pelzer-Montada explores a range of questions on the adoption by artists of digital means of image-making beyond traditional techniques and notes: “Jo Ganter, printmaking leader at Edinburgh College of Art, has expressed a different kind of reservation: Digitally produced and printed images which appear to adopt the syntax of, say, a wood cut or a lithograph still only look like the real thing and function merely as a quotation of said techniques. More importantly, in such digital prints, she noted the paucity of the more subtle codings and unique syntax that the traditional modes allow.” The concept of images made using digital printmaking mimicry applications as ‘quotations’ is good. These ‘engraved’ self portraits are definitely quoting print techniques. However in lack of haptic facilities Lockdown it it is fine to quote and experiment with digital solutions for future printed images.
In this digital manipulation environment we are physically in isolation from the Virus. It is invisible, while dominating our existence. Its image is available through our computer’s access to the World Wide Web. We are informed that this beautiful constructed and colourful image is of the fearful plague that is affecting humanity as we know it. The microscopes operated by scientists, biologists and medics show us what we are up against, but it is beautiful in its detail, complexity, structure and colour, like most of the universe seen through magnification. How can this be deadly? Well it is The digital environment offers safety from the fear of the physical, however creating a corona digital image self portrait background may feel like tempting fate in the physical world.
Art Gallery Lockdown
In lockdown Art galleries are closed. No longer can visitors be inspired by original art. Only two weeks ago I visited the LS Lowry collection in his home town of Salford in North West of England where visitors are offered pencil and paper to draw. The digital drawing below celebrates a young woman drawing in the first gallery room with Lowry’s fondness for the pencil writ large. The small drawing below the quotation is titled Carlisle and is an inspiring minimal drawing with hardly any detail, but manages to capture something of the essence of the subject he draws.