Monday, July 25, 2005

Digital vs Handcrafted Artist Trading Cards (ATCs)

More and more people are making digital atc's. There is lots of computer software out there that enables the digital artist to make wonderful and complex images. Some digital atc's require more time and energy to make than some handcrafted ones. Do you think digital should be considered "handcrafted"?

12 Comments:

Blogger Sharon K. Shubert said...

Since I've just recently ventured into the world of digital art and have myself created a few ATC's this way....I don't know that I would actually refer to this medium as "handcrafted". You're right; it does take a lot of time, and thought and imagination to create these just as it does the paper ATC's. BUT, there's no "hands on"...just my hands on a keyboard. I prefer hands-on but do enjoy experimenting with digital art. I still have MUCH to learn about it though.

9:36 a.m.  
Blogger littlepage said...

I agree, digital is not handcrafted, but it is creative and time-consuming. I think of digital art as just as valuable, more like photographic art in that it can be reproduced once it is made.

I tend to incorporate digital images I design into my cards, though they are mixed media, so include other things as well.

11:34 a.m.  
Blogger kiyotei said...

Digital definately takes as much time as "hand-crafted" - but the majority of the time involved in their creation is usually front-loaded. I spend a lot of time playing around with PhotoShop on the computer and getting the digital collages or scans just right. After the design is saved, it only takes a few minutes to print and cut out the cards.

I know a lot of artists hate to trade digital cards and think they are somehow inferior or not as valuable as other mediums.

I think that if the digital artist takes time to come up with a good design and then prints it out on quality paper at high resoultion (300 DPI or more), then the card will look great. But I have seen a lot of digital cards that are printed on flimsy paper and very low resolution and they look kinda cheesy.

I also print my digital cards in very limited editions of 8 or less.

I make both kinds of ATCs and I love to trade for both. So I usually ask the other person BEFORE a trade if they prefer one type over another.

11:08 a.m.  
Blogger Sharon K. Shubert said...

Well, I have yet to PRINT out any of my digital works....they remain online. If you're taking an extra step with digital ATC's and printing them out, cutting, adding other embellishments, adding other mediums, then YES, I would say they are handcrafted. They're just like any other ATC you handcrafted. You actually had your "hands on", creating MORE than just a digital illusion.

8:31 a.m.  
Blogger Johnny Jane said...

It's a valid question to ask concerning "value". The biggest enemy of digitally produced art items is the archival quality of the end product. I went to some extra expense to get ink and paper with higher archival propeties than standard papers or inks. So, I think this is one part of a conditional "Yes" answer. On the "No" side, a single print from a computer can't compare to the patina of a handcrafted item. This is why I sometimes use more than one print and cut out parts of them and assemble them in the way a traditional collage is done. I'm not sure "time" is a valid condition in the equation. Some of the greatest photographs ever made only took a fraction of a second and how long did Duchamp's "Urinal" take to produce? So, my HO..is a conditional "Yes". I do place a higher value on a physical item that has been mialed over one that has been emailed. I think the possibility of survival is greater knowing how things can go wrong with computers.

12:12 a.m.  
Anonymous Pamdelion said...

I use my black & white photography to make ATC's. Would this be considered digital art? I take the pictures myself, but most of the work is done manipulating the picture on my computer, and printing out my ATC. I'm not holding pencil or brush to paper, but I do put a lot of work into it. I've seen some ATC's done by hand that don't look like much work or thought was put into them. I think you're going to see both types on both sides.

7:38 p.m.  
Anonymous blue apple said...

True, it may take some artists hours to create a digital image, but my answer to this question is no. I do not feel that digital art is handcrafted.

blue apple

1:22 a.m.  
Anonymous maya said...

I am a digital scrapbooker. 3 years ago paper scrapbookers argued this same point about the validity of digital scrapbooking as handcrafted, and it often struck chords that would result in puritant arguements. 3 years later it is not only accepted but many a paper crafter has embraced the creative opportunities available to them in digital.

I have recently started making digital ATCs and I will be launching a new website soon for digital arts (eg. collage, altered, atc, art journals, etc). There are many digital scrapbookers who are moving in this direction now.

The option of email trade is always available but the mail art aspect of the trade still exists. I print, cut and paste, label the backs and authenticate, marking my cards with a number and a series number. I make and print out my own envelopes and there is no doubt about it, that it is handcrafted, from the hand that operates my mouse or tablet pen, to the hand that cuts and pastes it aftward. Even if it is only done on the computer, it is done with my vision, and by my hand.

The one reason why I embrace this artform, is the no rules aspect of it. It is all simply a matter of perspective.

10:08 p.m.  
Blogger Bettina said...

When I use a stylus to make a digital image, I am drawing the same as if I were using a pen or pencil. It's difficult to explain to some artists who think that the computer does all the work. I must make choices, just like any painter...what type of brush, how large...what colors to add. I make all the strokes. I know there are some great "one-click" effects, but most of the time my images are very time consuming. Not hand-crafted? Poppycock! (oops...was that too harsh? :)

6:00 p.m.  
Blogger gahlil said...

I have to admit, a recent trade with Cindie on Vancouver Island, definitely opened my mind to the possibilities ... her digital cards are fantastic! So, I guess digital falls into every other art "medium" category. The artist either spends a lot of time producing their cards, or not.

1:52 p.m.  
Blogger arlee said...

An arttool is a tool is a tool! It's the hand that wields it that makes it handcrafted. Brush, gluestick, sewing machine, heat gun, all only tools--they don't do the work themselves. Obviously if someone puts little or no effort into his/her work, it's a cop out, but there are just as many BAD "hand crafted" paintings and "felties" and ATC's out there as there are "digital" thingies!

Personally, my little pet peeve has more to do with crowns being attached to heads, regardless of the medium or the message.....

7:31 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, looking up "handcraft" or "handcrafted" tells you to see "handicraft". "Handicraft" is defined as "a manual skill; an occupation requring skill of the hands".

I disagree with this theoretically in that there are people without arms who can type, paint and write with their toes. I am not trying to be funny here, just trying to make a point that "handcrafted" art may lie in the eye of the beholder.

As an art major, (and a purist in my teens and twenties)I understand the issue of originality. But if we're going to get picky, isn't the use of clipart also, which has likely been digitalized and mass produced, "damaging" the state of true originality as well?
Just something for die-hard purists to think about.

The worst case of a very "unoriginal" ATC I have seen was by an adult who just cut a rectangle of a picture from a magazine and pasted it on a card. This may have been more "manual" than using a computer,but is it really art? I don't think so.

In my personal stance I agree-the computer is a tool of handcrafting. I agree also, it takes more time to create a nice digital ATC than to complete a "hands and glue on" ATC. The computer is manual as well, especially if you have used any of the tools on Photostudio 5.5. It is much harder to draw or erase with a mouse! For me it takes a more manual skill effort.

And the issue of the ability to make unlimited quantities is something I think is a viable one. For me personally, it doesn't matter. A trade card is free, you get to interact with others and share ideas and show off your art. And value??? I don't understand that. If you want value, collect antiques, unless you are speaking solely of artistic or personal value. (Meow-sorry, didn't mean to get so "catty" there!)

Enough theory-I enjoy making both "hands on" and digital ATCs. I do believe though you should let it be known which of your cards are digital and which aren't when making a trade.

If you are still a "naysayer" to digital ATCs, at least try to understand that some people, like myself, at some point, digital ATCs may be my only possible medium. I am only 43 and have Fibromyalgia on top of mild arthritis. Yes, on the days I am not in a lot of pain and trembly, I love to make the "hands on" ATCs. But at some point, making ATCs on the computer may be the only way I will be able to continue to make them. If I had to stop, a very large part of myself would be lost. I'm not looking for the "pity" vote by the way. I just want to continue to make art, however that may be.

5:13 p.m.  

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