Art and the Marketplace


Digital drawing has made me into a miniaturist.  Previously I had been painting  very larger canvass or drawing and printing on  paper  that is 22 x 30″.  My digital drawings are on a standard IPad, 9.4″ x 6.6″ and the size of each drawing is very small.  These drawings can be reproduced in a larger size, but the fact that the drawings are so small changes the relationship of the image space in a very fundamental way.  Not only size, but the time it takes to draw an image is radically changed.  I may spend several hours on a drawing, but with an actual large drawing, it may take me days or even weeks to complete the work.  All this means a complete change in the way I think about constructing a drawing.  A digital drawing can be changed constantly.  Ideas can be expressed and tossed quickly.  A drawing on paper means that the gestures and marks are more permanent and therefore, more thought needs to be put into each line and stroke and color.  Digital drawings can be tried out in different color schemes, particularly when an app has many layers to work on.  An actual drawing is one layer.

Digital drawing is much more spontaneous than drawing on paper.  There are endless possibilities for experimentation in terms of colors, textures and shapes. This spontaneity makes it a particularly exciting format for abstract art.

Science Fiction

Monkey Sidebars word was Science Fiction

I have previously mentioned how the game of Monkeysidebars has stimulated my imagination by providing words to draw that may be unusual, provocative, or out of the odinary.

Waiting for Godot

Monkey Sidebars word was Absurd

I drew an imagined otherworldly landscape in reponse to the words Science Fiction.  The word Absurd made me think of Samuel Beckett’s classic play “Waiting for Godot” now playing on Broadway.  I’ve seen the play several times and each time I came away from the drama with many questions and numerous ideas about the meaning of life and art. This isn’t abstract and I used a Google  reference I had seen some time ago referring to the play. But in this case I wanted to express the isolated loneliness engendered by the dialogue in the play. It is a fairly literal depiction.  Sunday’s word is quagmire.  I don’t have that drawing yet.

Image

Abstract Sketch Club Drawing

Monkeysidebars words, selected by members, are announced in time for  Wednesday and Sunday posting.  My problem is that although  the words may have a particular and useful definition, the visual interpretation can be difficult for me.  My intent is to transform visual terms into an abstract image that will suggest the meaning of a word.  This image is my interpretation of the word “Ebullition.” By drawing a sense of explosive force I think I did do that. But it is up to the viewer to decide whether or not I achieved that goal. Today the word is “Herald” and it can mean an announcement or a standard bearer at an event.  Or portents of things to come or about to happen.  For example Daffodils are a herald of Spring.

Monkey Side Bars is a twice-a-week drawing game where you are challenged to a piece of art on a specific theme. The game was created just a few weeks ago by several artists who had been posting their art on Instagram.

I noticed that several times a week a number of the pictures on Instagram said Monkeysidebars.  It looked like a fun game and I wanted to find out about it. I asked one of my Facebook artist friends how could I get in on it and she introduced me to the other players and to the game. The game works because the people who participate enjoy the challenge of creating an interesting drawing. They also get pleasure out of seeing everyone else’s work on the reveal day.

Players take turns selecting the theme for each round. Everyone submits their drawing at the same time on Wednesday and Sunday.  An interesting word is selected by different members of the group.  The word needs to be illustrated in no particular style.  Artists can do the drawings in DrawSomething or in any other digital app or by hand using traditional materials. More information about the game, word lists, members, and how to join can be found on the Monkeysidebars Website. The different time zones are listed here. A listing of the Member Monkeys’ Instagram Galleries can be found here. My Instagram Gallery is here.

 

 

Previously I wrote about my interest, perhaps addiction to the mobile app called Draw Something2 by Zynga.  I have been drawing continuously ever since the latest edition of the application was published.  The application has a lot of features but it also had and still have a number of bugs in the operation of the various aspects of the program.  One of the most vexing problems for some people is the need to limit the file size for each drawing.  The game calls this aspect the Ink level.  An increase in the ink level is probably what most serious players would like to see improved. Some people complain of numerous crashes whereby their drawings are lost and drawings disappear from galleries that each game player has where their drawings are displayed. Eventually, it will be impossible to exhibit every drawing because there are so many players accumulating large galleries full of their art.

Another side effect of DrawSomething has been the creation of a community of artists who collaborate and share information with each other via chat and through communication by using a mobile app called Instagram . It is there that a group of artists have joined together to play a game called Monkeysidebars.  Each week  two words are chosen by different individuals. Everyone playing the game has to draw their interpretation of the word and every Wednesday and Sunday, at exactly 5PM CST for me, but whatever time is the equivalent time in other parts of the world, everyone posts their drawing on Instagram at the same time.

A group of more than 50 artists living in Australia, Italy, Holland, England, and all over the United States participate. They often chat with each other prior to the time of submission. The drawings submitted are beautifully rendered pieces of digital art.  Not everyone who plays this game is using DrawSomething2 for their digital drawing.  A number of these artists are using more powerful drawing programs to create their masterpieces.  Most of the artists draw on tablets or smart phones, but there are also some who participate using traditional art materials that they scan or photograph in order to create a digital image. Monkeysidebars, or MSB has become my new addiction.  I get a lot of pleasure out of the count down prior to the 5PM posting. All of my drawings can now be seen on Instagram.

Bird

DrawSomething bird

Draw Something 2 is the upgrade to Draw Something. It is now much more than a charade game. It has become a full service drawing application with a number of drawing tools, including a watercolor brush and a highlighter tool.  There are patterns and a stamp tool as well as a crayon and an air brush tool.  It is possible to draw very realistic and  complex images. The charade aspect of the game is transformed, but there are still many players who want to play a game and do not want to try to draw something in a more advanced way. In addition, there are many people who play the game who do not want to learn to draw.  They just want to play a game on their tablets or smart phones. The serious artists who draw on the game  have created an enormous digital art gallery of their work. Anyone who plays the game has access to all of this amazing art.  Their art can be followed and artists become very popular with a huge public who is also playing the game.  In my case I have at this time, September 2013, over 27,000 followers. That number amazes me.

A consequence of the social aspect of DrawSomething2 is that the many players who are addicted to the game have started Fan Facebook pages where players can ‘friend” each other and engage in activities related to the drawing aspect of the game. Many artists belong to these Facebook groups and are able to display the art that they create in galleries provided by Facebook for the different fan sites.

At the same time, many of these same artists send their pictures to another app called Instagram.  It is on this site that the friendships among the players continue to expand because IG has a system of hash marks (#) and @ signs that refer artists to each other and to similar subjects.

Tree in Yard

Early Spring Tree

Eifel Tower

Paris

Draw Something is game for smart phones and tablets that makes people draw in order to play the game.  This need to draw something has spawned a FaceBook page called Draw Something Fanatics.  It is here that a lot of drawings can be seen and where people who have played the game can post their drawings and receive comments and likes about their art. The drawings that are shown on DSF are absolutely amazing.  It is astonishing that people can get their drawings to look realistic using the simple drawing tools provided.  Of course, everyone who is a fanatic, including me, really tries to create the best work they can. Some drawings can be super realistic but others are more impressionistic or abstract.  The fact that you have to draw a word which may be an object, an idea, a place, a person, or something else makes you stretch your mind in order to draw an image which may be completely out of your comfort zone.  These drawings are meaningful because it requires a lot of time and thought to realize a good drawing. The work is just as authentic as any art that artists produce in any media, whether it be digital or material. There are other locations on the web for posting these drawings.  Instagram is an app for posting pictures so many of the artists post their drawings on it where they can be reposted to numerous other sites that receive photographs.  Images on Instagram are sent via # on to other members who can follow an artist and be followed.  Most of the time I feel like a detective trying to find out how these apps work.  I watch and note wheat other people are doing and then I do it too.

An amazing thing is happening on the internet. Hundreds of people all over the world are drawing every day  and posting their images on smart phones and tablets using an app called Draw Something. Not only are they drawing, they are making beautiful and interesting drawings.

The most amazing thing about it is that it is a game in which you are required to draw a word for another player. It is like charades using drawings.   The object is for that player to guess the word.  However, people who like to draw have been using the game more as a drawing app than as a game app. Instead of worrying about guessing the word, people are working hard at drawing a very good picture of that word. I am not talking about the many players who draw stick figures and doodles. I am talking about artists, like myself, taking this opportunity seriously. It is a motivational driver for creating art. The game provides the tools in the form of color palettes and a few different line sizes. In addition, there is a limit on the amount of “ink” you are allowed to use in a drawing. This is really a file sever limitation because many artists, myself included, run out of ink way before the drawing is finished. When you have played the game for a while you learn how to manage your ink supply. The game serves as a learning tool for finding out how other artists work. The partner player needs to watch the drawing as it is being made in order to guess what is being drawn. Even if you know what it is beforehand, most artists playing watch the creation of the entire drawing before guessing the word.

 

imageFor an artist to be able to watch another person think and draw an image is an incomparable resource to their own creativity. Many of the artist players use these drawings as preliminary sketches for more complete drawings that may be drawn by hand using traditional methods, or they may expand their drawing experience into more complex digital drawing using various drawing apps that are also available for smart phones and tablets.

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