Most illustrators have been using digital techniques for years of course, and whilst I frequently scan artwork and send digital files, it hadn’t really occurred to me to make digital images as such. The last straw? It’s hard to say but I read that as a result of working on 'Lord of the Rings' Alan Lee now works digitally. Can you believe it? He’s a fantastic draughtsman, a wonderful watercolourist; it's the sort of work I aspire to; I had nowhere left to hide, so I resolved to have a go.
I don’t simply want to reproduce the sort of work I make traditionally, so I’m playing with the differences between imagery that is obviously drawn and the more shiny stuff that you can do with Photoshop. And, maybe because it also suits my learning curve, I quite want to see the join between the two; it creates a lovely visual tension that reminds me of early stop-frame animation; Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin’s ‘Ivor the Engine’ perhaps.
There’s a story that I wrote some time ago but have never really tried to illustrate, (strangely, because I couldn't decide on the right combination of techniques). It’s called ‘Glum the Weaver’ and it seems to fit the digital/analogue idea well.
‘Glum was a weaver and he had a shop in the town, but no one went there anymore.’
‘He was an old grey man in a world of bright new things.’
You get the analogy of this now grey-haired illustrator in the bright, new digital age. Glum’s is a slightly dingy, drawn world where he thinks and works as he has always done. Flora, his granddaughter, brings him colour and light and he starts a new way of thinking and working. It ‘made the town an even brighter place and Glum a happy man.’ So, together with traditional work, like Glum, I’m going to pursue this new way of making pictures and see where it leads.