By: Jasmine Romero / Contributing Writer
When you want something done but don’t know how to do it, you’re usually willing to pay for it. Your kitchen drain is acting strange and you have no clue why, so you call in a plummer. Your car is a bit too shaky, so you go to a mechanic. You don’t know how to play a guitar and want to start a band, so you pay for guitar lessons. It’s a simple concept we’ve strived on for years: we pay for services that benefit us. What I don’t understand is that most people’s willingness to follow this concept drops flat on the ground when it comes to buying art.
As an artist, I expect payment for a drawing, a painting or design that I create. Yes, I love drawing, and painting, and designing. Art is, personally, my basis for my life and my identity. Simply because I love doing it anyway does not mean I should not get paid to do it. While it is a love, it is still a labor. There is a process artists go through when creating a piece. We must plan, create, and finalize, and within those three stages are more steps.
We must draw a rough sketch to arrange the composition and elements of the piece. We have to decide what looks best where, which may take an hour, depending on the size of the piece. We may spend anywhere from an hour to five hours working, which involves creating the line art (outlines) and coloring. If it’s traditional art, we have to have an array of tools. Paintbrushes, oil paints, acrylic paints, canvases, cleaners, palette sheets, easels – you name it. Or not, since it’s not your job. We had to buy those tools and learn how to use them. If it’s digital art, it’s much less to worry about. All that’s required is a tablet and a paint program, like Photoshop or SAI.
However, we still need to create the image itself manually. The only difference is that it’s on a screen. Nothing else changes. For some reason, people think digital is easier when it’s not. I still lose sleep to digitally draw an image if it’s a demanding piece. The last stage is comprised of fixing things here and there, spraying protectants on a canvas, and sending the piece safely. Or, we decide we don’t like it and start all over. Or you don’t like something about it, so we change it. Time consuming, right?
The answer is definitely. Some artists are quicker and some are slower, but what I’ve just described is the basic process. We can’t avoid it. There are no shortcuts. No magic button. Just as a mechanic needs to buy his tools, master them, and know how to apply them to create a solution, artists need to know how to apply design concepts such as symmetry, movement, line, and pattern for an image. It takes time to master. You are asking us to express a message visually – or just make something that looks cool. Try doing that yourself.