There is No “Create Art” Button in Photoshop!

A mother at my daughter’s school, after learning that I was an illustrator, commented something to the effect that she knows it’s so much easier for someone to make art now that there are programs like Photoshop out there to do it for you.  I informed her that, even with Photoshop, it still took work to create decent art and that there was no automatic “Create Art” button in Photoshop.  She reluctantly conceded that, but responded that she thought that it was only a matter of time until there really was.  I tried to explain why that wasn’t practical and wouldn’t happen, but she didn’t believe me.  Her faith in the possibilities of tomorrow’s technology was fierce, if simplistic.  It was a very strange conversation and I came away from it feeling vaguely insulted.

So, in case there is any doubt by anyone out there, I would like to say:

Digital art takes just as much talent as any other genre of art.  A digital painting is usually created by an artist using a stylus on a graphics tablet.  It’s very similar to using a pen and paper or a brush and canvas.  It’s just another medium, with its own techniques and challenges.  Although Photoshop does have some very cool, arty filters, there is no automatic feature to create art.  Good artwork, digital or not, takes work.  It always will.

7 thoughts on “There is No “Create Art” Button in Photoshop!

  1. Shez says:

    Working in both mediums I have to say one fully created and colored graphic “painting” takes me longer than a water color. The biggest advantage is I don’t have to start over again from scratch if I want to change something. It’s also harder on the eyes…

    It’s pretty obvious this particular mom knows nothing about the processes for any of the styles, the coolest thing about art it how many different ways there are to work with it from a charcoal sketch to a full blown sculpture or a piece of exquisite jewelry or the Taj Mahal start as a concept.

    Keep on drawing. Your work is fun and exciting. Also you totally captured the sad crocodile with tears.


    • Karen B. Jones says:

      Yes, I find working digitally allows me to give full rein to my perfectionism, which means it can take longer to finish. I can fiddle and fiddle until I think it’s just right. With a painting or drawing, you can only change things so long before is starts looking overworked. You have to force yourself to stop. Which can be good. It preserves the spontaneity and imperfections of a hand-made piece. I actually find that I sometimes need to be purposely imprecise in my digital work in order to keep it from looking too digital. There’s a fine line, though, between keeping it loose and letting it get sloppy. It can be a challenge, but at least I can keep trying over and over until I get it just right. 🙂

      As for the mother, you’re right. She has no idea what it takes for an artist to create a real work of art. She also doesn’t really understand how computers work and why they will never be able to, on their own, create any significant, meaningful art. That takes a human mind and always will. But any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Computers are magic to her and magic can do anything.

      I’m glad you liked my croc. This week’s IF is book, but I already have several pieces that fit for that. I may just point IF to those instead of creating something new. I haven’t decided. 🙂

  2. paulineobrien says:

    I agree, digital art is great but it always, always takes me longer than I think it will -even when I plan to do just a quick,single panel cartoon. I always draw mine by hand first anyway and then scan them into the computer-I still like paper and pen and I’ve never known my computer to have any great ideas just different ways of presenting them.

  3. Lorne says:

    I am a photographer and I feel your pain. I am constantly told that my camera takes good pictures. Explaining to people that the camera doesn’t take good pictures without a good photographer seems to just make them glaze over 🙂

    • Karen B. Jones says:

      Like with any profession, having good tools help. But they’re only tools. There are so many things to consider when taking a good photo. LIghting, composition, camera settings, colors, HDR… A good ameteur may manage a few really impressive shots now and then. But to do it consistently requires a pro with the knowledge of how to get the most out of his/her tools.

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