Digital drawings started in the early 1960s, and was pioneered by mathematicians and code writers who were enamored by what a computer could accomplish.
Many of the early pioneers of digital art are featured on a website called DAM.org, which stands for Digital Art Museum:

This site is a great resource for digital art history. It provides a history of digital art, features time lines, scholarly writings, and artist profiles and galleries of digital pioneers in addition to information about galleries and museums featuring digital art around the world.
One of my favorite “pioneering” artists I found on this site is Vera Molnar. She, and other pioneers, are featured in this gallery:

Among one of the earliest recognized digital artists was Jean Pierre Hebert, who founded The Algorists, a group of digital artists and mathematicians who used algorithms to code their digital artwork. Many of them are still practicing artists and computer scientists today. Their website is linked below:

An additional article on the Algorists:

(Hebert in front of his digital drawing Bright Wave. 2008)

2009 NY times article about more contemporary digital art:
This article is about cutting edge digital art that has surpassed just image editing and digital drawing (my topic), so I won’t go too in depth, but check out these artists, some of them are really cool.

Unit Idea Inspired by Pioneers of Digital Art: Using technology in unexpected ways. These artists used mathematics and computer science to produce works of art. Other artists have used less complex technology, for example, etch a sketch technology, to create complex works of art. Another artist uses a type writer to make patterns with overlapped letters in order to create realistic landscapes. What unexpected resources do we as artists have at our fingertips that has potential to express ourselves artistically? Assignment: Using unconventional medium or tool.


DIGITAL DRAWING: Contemporary Hardware and Software
So Unlike the forefathers of digital art, we no longer need to know how to write code in order to create images with a computer. Yay!
Digital drawing programs like Illustrator and Sketchbook Pro come programmed for you!

The predecessor of today’s illustrator programs, Photon Paint, came out in the late 80s:

More info on the progression of illustration software here:

Prominent Digital Drawing Software:
Buy it/Try it/Learn more @ http://www.adobe.com/products/illustrator.html
Windows vs. Mac: Both!

Sketchbook Pro
Buy it/Try it/Learn more @ http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/pc/index?id=6848332&siteID=123112
Windows vs. Mac: Both!

Krita (open source, comparable to Sketchbook Pro)
FREE Download/Learn more @ http://www.krita.org/index.php
Windows vs. Mac: Windows edition is still a “Highly Experimental”
Example of Interface: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfJTucE6pDw
Smooth Draw (FREE!)
FREE Download/Learn more @ http://download.cnet.com/SmoothDraw/3000-2192_4-10199284.html
Windows vs. Mac: Both!

(It is capable of more sophisticated work, I just thought this was funny )

Corel Painter
Buy it/Try it/Learn more @ http://www.corel.com/corel/product/index.jsp?pid=prod4030123&storeKey=us&trkid=NASEMGglGR&gclid=CIeX2IW9sbECFQFx4Aod_AQA4g
Windows vs. Mac: Both!


There is SO much software out there that simulates drawing and painting (or should I say, allows you to digitally draw and paint? The lines are getting so blurred… no pun intended 😛 sorry!)
This website, Alternative To, allows you to search for programs in the same vain, for example, digital drawing. Here is a link to my search in looking for digital drawing programs comparable to sketchbook pro: http://alternativeto.net/software/sketchbook-pro/
I’m no expert in this field, in fact I’ve never even used any of these programs, but in terms of comparing them and choosing the one that’s best for you here are some helpful resource that offer reviews and comparisons of products…


Graphic Tablets…

Artwork made using Koala Graphics Pad circa 1984
Link to more info: http://www.graphicstablet.org/2011/03/koalapad-the-mother-of-them-all/#more

And Now:

Question and Discussion Break!
What have you all used in terms of software?
Preferences? Thoughts?
In the Classroom:
How is technology changing the classroom?
Are the skill sets students need to have a well rounded art education evolving?
Is there a risk of certain practices becoming obsolete?
What are the pros and cons of digital media in the classroom?
How does working in front of a computer as opposed to around a table change classroom dynamics?
How does digital art in the classroom change the way work is shown?
LD kids in the classroom, engaging with texture?
How old is old enough to introduce photoshop?
Some pros and cons of photoshop in the elementary classroom:

What personal experience with digital drawing did you have in your own education, or do you employee as an educator?

Contemporary artists who work in both digital and traditional medium
Andrew Archer:


“I grew up with pens and paint but then the personal computer dominated the world and so I had to try it out, which is reflected in my work. I use a healthy mix of both traditional and digital techniques with no real preference of medium. I didn’t take art through my younger years, but I did eat crayons which quite possibly is where my off-beat colour palettes come from.” – Andrew Archer

I really like this bipartisan attitude towards digital and traditional art. In my classroom, I would hope to promote a similar attitude. I know in my personal experience growing up around artists and among artistic classmates I always felt that there were two camps: traditional and graphic. My friend Andrew Sawyer is a graphic design guy, and I’m a fine arts person, and I always felt we were on two opposing sides… mainly I was in the past and he was in the future. In high school I was never introduced to photoshop as a means of creating art, or any other program for that matter, but mainly as a means of editing images. Maybe this was just my experience, but I feel that I haven’t been exposed to a peaceful mix of technology for art’s sake and art for art’s sake. It’s always felt to me that digital art was commercial and traditional methods were fine arts. I love this blend of fine arts and digital art.

Digital Artist Ross McEwen’s work:
How Ross sells his work:
I think it is really interesting how inexpensive this piece is, and how non-physically labor intensive creating the product is. In traditional printmaking the artist does a lot of physical labor to produce the work. Times sure are a changin’!
Issue of Medium: Is it mixed media if you use two totally different techniques and tools on photoshop? Does language need to evolve faster or are these labels just insignificant today? Can they apply to the digital age?
Or is a new medium being created all together?



A quick explanation of Bitman vs. Vector

Bitman Images are scanned images of digital photos. Vector graphics are anything drawn on the computer. They are different file types, but either type of file can be manipulated to resemble the other.

This site explains Bitman vs. Vector in more depth:

As long as photography has existed, people have been manipulating it, and ethical issues have been raised.

This blog outlines a time line of image manipulation staring with early photography:http://ethicsinediting.wordpress.com/2009/04/01/photo-manipulation-through-history-a-timeline/

Photographic Forensics:
Additional resource:http://www.fourandsix.com/photo-tampering-history/
This website is really cool, it’s run by a forensic photography firm that deals with all things image manipulation. Check out their Blog (linked in the site) for current events and more!

Technology Used to Manipulate Images Today


Time Line of Photoshops progress:http://www.maclife.com/article/feature/20_years_image_editing_photoshop_10_cs4

Gimp (open source)

Download: http://gofree.com/download/Windows-Software/Graphic-Design/gimp.php

Young guy with awesome Gimp Tutorials on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8OTSC_iVT0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RtFt6axp5s&feature=relmfu


The shiny new program on the block:

Comparing Programs:


Consider: how many images do we see today that are un-edited? Programs like Instagram instantly alter images.

In the classroom: Students must think critically now more than ever about their visual culture. Important to students going into the business to have a strong ethical understanding of what their role as a creator or mediator of images entails. Even if one is not pursuing a career in art or graphics, putting any image out there, or taking any image in is an active participation in visual culture. Educators can think about ways to cultivate skills in students that allow them to interact thoughtfully and responsibly.

These sites lay out some of the ethical implications of modified imagery:



Ethical issues in world news:

Israel’s new “photoshop laws” require marketers to include a disclaimer when a model is modified to appear skinnier via photo editing. The law is an effort to reduce high rates of eating disorders and eating disorder related deaths in the country.

Let’s hope she’s photoshopped 😦

More info on the new laws here:



Similar efforts are being made in other countries to regulate commercial use of Photoshop. In France consumers felt betrayed when they learned a model’s skin had been digitally altered in a wrinkle cream advertisement. In America, Arizona state legislation is proposing similar reforms, and this young girl is advocating for a photo-shop free section of seventeen magazine:http://www.popphoto.com/news/2012/05/14-year-old-delivers-anti-photoshop-petition-to-seventeen-magazine

It’s funny that such a superficial industry, like fashion, should be the first to come under attack for commercial use (misuse, or over use) of image editing. It makes sense that teenage girls are advocating for authentic images because adolescence is a time for physical changes and subsequent physical insecurities… This would be a great topic for an adolescent art class. A possible unit could be on manipulating visual culture to shape a world they’d like to see. For example, if they could make the beauty or social norms or ideals anything they imagined (maybe they turn current trends upside down, like making pimples beautiful and setting creams to generate them!), how would they use imagery and image editing to establish those norms/ideals? A class magazine could be put together, or each student could be responsible for their own.

Beyond image manipulation’s societal implications, it is a great tool for editing one’s own art, and exploring other subjects like image appropriation. Students can use it prepare portfolios, and interpret preexisting images, symbols, and works of art. Ultimately, however, I think the affect image manipulation has had on our visual culture is the most profound topic for classroom discussion. Editing an image can mean editing someone’s perception, and thus editing an aspect of society. Exploring this topic can lead to valuable ethical discussion and hopefully a deeper understanding of one’s role in our visual community.