top of page
Helen Capewell
OCA Learning Log
Student Number: 522802
Degree: Illustration
Current Level: 2

Digital Illustration

Research point

Is there a clear distinction between digital and non-digital illustration?

“Can we really say with confidence that the computer will only be a silent partner? Can’t some visionary artist create an illustration form that is unprecedented? Or is illustration an antiquated art that defies change and so will vanish? Film is an integral storytelling medium that bears no relationship to painting. Can the computer be an integral medium that changes the way we perceive and practice illustration?” - Steven Heller 2000

What is interesting about this topic as a research point is that we are now facing the beginning of a new digital era, one that is less popular with illustrators, artists and in fact many other industries where people are being affected besides art - AI.

AI is fast taking over the digital world, as it is gradually being filtered through many programmes and web experiences such as website building platforms and more. So not only does this question hold true in the sense of human operated illustration both digitally and traditionally, but we now contend with a computer generated form that is only directed by human rather than executed by them. In other words, there is now greater complexity to this answer, with a fear of the line of distinction between digital and non-digital soon becoming even harder to distinguish.

Before jumping forward to how AI is changing the game for the worse (though many would argue against that statement), I am interested in looking back at both digital and traditional as mediums for creating.

It would be hypocritical for me to dismiss digital illustration entirely, as this has definitely been in my life since the tools became available. Since the early days, it has been incredible to see the progress in performance and ability, seeing how the tools changed and programmes developed into what we see today is really quite the ride. Many traditional artists that are famous for their classical styles have also jumped on the digital rollercoaster where they enjoyed experimenting with a brand new medium. The likes of Hockney, Haring, and Beksinski amongst others embraced and experimented with digital tools. Whilst in some creative industries would see the rise of digital as a death to tradition, many have embraced it. Animation, for example, had began as a 2D hand drawn technique, until CGI came along.



bottom of page