I am truly beginning to love digital painting because it suits my style. I like to experiment with layouts but I am not fond of redoing images set to paper. Yes, trained artists are used to creating several planning sketches for layout and/or color choices but I never acquired that skill. Although, on occasion, I have created a few quick sketches to flesh out an idea, for the most part I dive right in and work straight through. If I later decide that I should have done things different, I tell myself that is for the next image since, to me, the image is now set in stone. Doing massive changes in a physical painting, while not impossible, is difficult and the results, in my case, leave something to be desired.
On the other hand, since I am doing each element as a separate digital painting and placing them into a background image, I can easily play with placement, size, and additional effects until I achieve the desired image. I don’t have to redo the whole design to try these things without damage to the canvas or other parts of the image. For instance, in my Carrie Fisher tribute, I had originally copied Carrie’s image into the background as is, no size change. After adding a few elements, I decided she needed to be bigger. In a physical work I would have had to live with the incorrect size or redo the entire image to that point. I am not big on that. In the digital realm, I just resized her layer and boom, there it was. Same with the size of Y-wings and Alderaan. Plus, since the Y-Wings are copied from only two images, I can add or delete the number I place in the final painting. Currently I have five fighters in the painting. I may add more.
Basically, when I get an idea in my head, I like to pin it down on paper. However, once on paper, I tend to stick with that design whether it works or not. I do have enough of a sense of layout and format that they aren’t too bad, but in many cases, they could be better. Digital painting, which in my mind might be a little bit of a cheat, allows me to make the changes I would otherwise not do. For me, digital painting does for my artwork what a word processor does for my writing. I am a hunt and peck typist at best, if I had to constantly retype entire pages of text because I rethought a sentence, there would be no stories from me. Word processing allowed me to explore another side of my imagination. Now I can do the same with my art.