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January 24, 2003

Ghost Pen

Friedrich --

Another impossible-to-describe Web-art doohickey. It's a pen. It kinda floats. You control it with your mouse. You can actually draw with it. It's too bizarre, and too cool. Play with it here.

Link thanks to Andrea Harris, here.



posted by Michael at January 24, 2003


I tried it out, it was actually fun but not too practical--the floating pen is a bit hard to control. Have you worked with a stylus and a pad to try any computer drawing and/or painting? I got one as a gift once and couldn't figure out how to control the damn thing, not that I tried very hard. I'd be a lot more interested today. Any suggestions for how to begin?

I've also started to see on artist's websites "computer-done" art that almost perfectly mimicks other art forms. I remember one guy doing drawings of nudes (strictly via computer, I believe)that almost perfectly recapitulated the style of three color conte crayon drawings on toned, textured paper. Have you noticed this as well?

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on January 25, 2003 3:53 PM

I've fussed and played a bit with computer drawing. Haven't really kept it up, but then I don't keep much up. Enjoyed it, though drawing with plastic nib on a rubberized plastic surface doesn't give you the sensual thrill of working with real art materials. And looking at the screen instead of your hand and the "paper" takes some getting used to. Still: no dirt, no smell, no cleanup. In a small apartment like the one I share with the wife, that's a plus.

Wacom makes the tablets most artists use -- I bought a cheap one (the Graphic 2, or something like that) for about a hundred bucks. The drawing area is pretty tiny -- 4x5. But prices rise on Wacoms really fast. I forget how much a 6x8 costs, but it's surprisingly much more.

The latest version of Photoshop, I'm told, has a lot of nifty drawing features. Painter is an amazing program, which tons of drawing and painting options that do a perfectly amazing job of mimicking natural media. There's a low-cost version of Painter called Painter Classic, which is more than adequate. If you keep your eyes open, you'll notice that software (often Painter Classic) often comes as part of the package when you buy a drawing tablet.

The big advantage -- which I haven't done much with, I've just watched people who know what they're doing -- to doing art on the computer is that you can mix and match and experiment until you're happy. The layers in Photoshop enable you to mess with composition, for instance. You can tweak colors without having to repaint entirely. You can erase completely.

You can also do fun things like scan an actual drawing in, and then "paint" over it in Photoshop or Painter. Or scan in photos or ads or whatever, cut them up, plop them on layers, and create your own composition that way. Apparently more and more real artists are using the tech in this way. A traditional-painter friend told me about visiting another artist's studio and being amazed -- the guy had computers, screens, scanners, etc, and very carefully worked out his images on the computer before putting them on canvas.

How to present these computer images that you make? They never look as good printed out as they do on the screen no matter how good your printer is. What's your hunch about this? Simply keep them in the virtual world? Present them onscreen only? Maybe on online gallery?

Or maybe inflict them on unsuspecting visitors to 2Blowhards?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on January 26, 2003 10:40 AM

I like that last suggestion...bwa hah hah!

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on January 26, 2003 5:08 PM

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