As I noted in the opening for my recent Processing for Android tutorial, there’s no substitute for the immediacy of drawing with pen and paper. Even as digital artists, it can be a necessary first step to wiring up the visual parts of our brain. Sure, tablets and touch sensors are improving. But they’re a long, long way from catching up with gestures so natural, you could believe the ink pen evolved right along with the human arm. I recall spending countless hours in my childhood drawing on paper, imagined creatures and cities. It’s not just nostalgia or memory that made that experience so intense: it’s physics and anatomy. Pick up a good fountain pen, and watch just how sensitive it is to minute changes in pressure. Your iPad, even your Wacom, can’t compete. And if it will, it means finding ways of creating new layers of experience atop the drawing tool – and, very likely, spending more time with pen and paper.
Artist Sougwen Chung does extraordinary “live drawings” to music. They are condensed slices of time, but still grow out of the music itself. Sougwen and I began some conversations about how to translate drawing to digital tools over the summer; she was working on these drawings at the Visual Music event at Eyebeam. But before even touching on that issue, I think it’s important to have a look at the paper drawings — or, in the photos below from Eyebeam, the notion of directly translating those to digital form.
In the video at top, Sougwen reinterprets “Full Circle,” the album releasing tomorrow from Shigeto on Ghostly International. The teaser for the same album is quite different, but full of wonderfully-crunchy analog video glitches, and also a must-watch.