Apr 5, 2006

Design software weakens classic drawing skills

Source: Reuters via The Washington Post
Written by Jim Christie–Reuters

BERKELEY, California (Reuters) – It’s not a pretty picture.

U.S. art students spend so much time toying with computer graphics these days that many wind up without needed drawing skills, university instructors say. Students are more comfortable manipulating computer graphics than doodling, drafting and drawing with pen on paper, and this has created a sharp decline in drawing skills in recent years, teachers say.

Additionally, tech-savvy students simply lack the initiative and persistence developed by drawing, resulting in uninspired work — at least work on paper.

“I see an increasing passivity on the part of students,” says Marc Treib, a University of California, Berkeley architecture professor who hosted a recent conference on the state of drawing in an electronic age.

Computer graphics allow artists to move briskly. By contrast, drawing on paper can be frustrating, forcing concentration, introspection and revision as an idea or vision takes shape. The process hones essential skills and sensitivity and personality that make artwork unique, instructors say.

“It doesn’t happen right way,” according Chip Sullivan, a professor of landscape architecture at the University of California, Berkeley and conference speaker. “Drawing to me is a sense of consciousness … a spiritual existence.”

Aspiring artists no longer need to spend hours with pen and paper. Now they may produce polished drawings quickly on-screen with software such as Adobe Creative Suite 2 by Adobe Systems Inc., which allows users to incorporate photographs, graphs, text and images for special effects to create electronic files for print, Web or mobile use.

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