Last week, Adobe announced its new drawing devices, Ink and Slide. The release of Adobe’s first hardware products comes during a time when digital technology is transforming the way art and graphic design is seen and produced.
I sat down with a few of Tier10’s creative designers to get their thoughts on Adobe’s product launch and how technology is affecting art in general.
Me: What do you think about Adobe’s new Ink and Slide?
Jake Wilson (JW): It seems like it has some great features, especially the slide component. I think that’s what really sets it apart. From the videos, it seems like it would make achieving accuracy much easier. It also takes the next step in simulating the reality of actually drawing on paper with a ruler. It does seem like it has flaws though, such as not providing enough options for brush tips, low responsiveness to angle of stylus, etc. I could see myself potentially getting frustrated with the lack of options and/or the “touchiness” of the interface.
Jen Milano (JM): Another attempt to move away from pen and paper completely. While it looks to be the most accurate one yet, nothing compares to something tangible. The pen looks a little thick though – if the tip were smaller you could be more accurate with your lines.
John Lyons (JL): The world of the graphics tablet is nothing new to illustrators and animators alike. Tablets have aided the work of these professionals for decades originating as a use for handwriting recognition. However, for the average person the addition of Adobe’s new Ink and Slide will be a fun addition to the iPad.
Do you think it will make headway in the art/design world?
JM: I think technology goes through phases with trying to get rid of pen and paper all together, but there is something beautiful about actual textures of mediums and different canvases.
JW: I’m not sure how it will compare to competitors out there. It is certainly a cheaper option than others. The Wacom Cintiq definitely has much more to offer, but the affordability and efficiency of being able to use this on the iPad is a plus. Its success is partly relative to how many artists already own an iPad and/or if they already have a more expensive product like the Cintiq. It still seems like it’s in its baby stages. Once it develops, it could make headway.
JL: Considering tablets have already made their headway in the professional world of art this will be nothing new.
What is your view on digital styluses (i.e. ink and slide, Paper by FiftyThree’s Pencil) and digital drawing apps?
JM: I don’t like them. Because they are never as accurate as a pencil, pen, brush, etc.
JW: I think they can be very frustrating to work with, but when mastered, provide much efficiency that traditional, manual illustration does not. I think they are great tools depending on the context. I wouldn’t use them for my current job. I don’t think the mouse and keyboard will be replaced with the tablet and stylus. I believe I will always prefer a mouse to go about my design work, which is 95% of what I do. When I need to illustrate, a stylus and tablet is a great option. I have a Wacom Intuos4 and it comes in handy given the context.
JL: Tablets are extremely helpful for illustrators and animators in the digital era creating mass distribution of work rather than photocopying inked works.
What changes have you seen in design in the past few years with the rise of mobile and apps?
JM: Plenty of doodling and photo-editing apps.
JW: Design has become more and more minimal, and I believe a large portion of that is due to the focus on user interface within the mobile spectrum and apps. We’re trying to make the user’s experience as easy and clean as possible, and that same idea is translated in the visuals I create.
JL: Mobile apps have been prevalent in the last decade with the rise of smartphone technology and tablets for everyday use. Thus, this rise in technological availability has created more jobs for programmers and designers. Programmers construct the intricate code while graphic designers get to make these apps aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
How do you think these changes will affect art/graphic design in the future?
JM: While mobile apps are fun to play with, they will never be able to achieve the detail, ability or speed of a computer, in my opinion.
JW: I think it will continue to have a big impact on the evolution of design. More time is spent on making everything mobile-responsive these days, and it will only continue to be more and more focused on that as mobile evolves.
JL: Programmers have to be trained to build mobile apps and designers are brought on to make them aesthetically pleasing in the forefront. But otherwise they will not aid in design as a tool; they will just be a product of design and code. Considering tablets have already been a tool of illustrators and animators the ground has already been broken.
How has technology affected the art/graphic design worlds?
JW: Technology influences design and design influences technology. In terms of the former, technology provides new ways for design to be implemented. The Ink and Slide is a great example because it introduces yet another way of creating something. Every tool out there (from InDesign to the Ink and Slide) determines what our design will look like. A digital painting in Photoshop will look very different depending on if I make it with a stylus or with my mouse. Technology has a direct effect on what my creation will look like. Everything I do as a designer is a combination of my personal ability, ideas and the technology I use to communicate.
JL: Technology creates new job opportunities that had not existed in the past. Print is slowly weaning its way out while the digital world is thriving. Out with the old and in with the new.
Where do you see this progression (digital technology influencing art/graphic design production) going?
JW: Efficiency and versatility (don’t need to scan a drawing in, can paint in vector, simpler, cleaner, no mess). It also provides a way (for those who really know how to use it) to make artwork look better than it would if you only drew it on paper.