Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Going Digital

As an art director and art buyer I have seen a huge change in the industry in the last decade. There is no bigger change then the need (requirement!) for all art to be in digital form.

I don't mean the art has to be created digitally but that it has to arrive on our desks in some digital manner. I am speaking mostly about textbook work and don't know if trade houses are the same. Publishers just don't want to take the risk or incur the costs of shipping art from and artist and back again.

I am happy to say that most artists I have worked with have adjusted nicely. Oh I do understand the outrage as some say they have to go to an outside source to have their scans done and so incur a cost that the publishers won't reimburse. But so many artists have bought desktop scanners and learned to use them as any other art tool. We may have to adjust colors when we get the art but its still better than having to send it in the mail.

I have seen many artists actually adapt their style to being created all digitally as well. At one point you could tell what was "computer generated art" but not anymore. With programs like Painter and Photoshop, I have received art that I swear is a watercolor painting only to learn that it was all done on the computer. With the advent of FTP sites, services like or just e-mail, we have been able to work with artists all over the world. And worrying about getting art mailed in time and safely has disappeared.

But I have one friend who is an artist and she has done lots of work for me in the past. When I tell her I can offer her work but it must be digital she grumbles. But slowly, even she sees the advantages. Not only does it give her more opportunities for work but she can now control colors more easily, adjust them quickly on the computer and never worry about spilling ink on a nearly finished painting!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Not to mention no studio mess to clean up.

    Also no more worry about the cat boys sipping the dirty water in which I clean my brushes.... YUCK.

    Only problem, some Art Directors think because it
    has all become faster that the artist can truly get it all done yesterday, while even digital requires some time to read, THINK as well as execute.

  3. I agree Jeff. All those scanning houses are out of business now – if they didn't reinvent themselves fast enough – and most of it now is being done offshore or priced offshore. Boy do I miss color-correcting artwork! We never even look at proofs of scans anymore. Imagine that, Pat Thoma!

  4. Sarah,
    Did I ever tell you my Pat Thoma film proof story! Oh did I get in trouble. Remind me and I'll tell you!