Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Why Photorealism?

My new goal in my artwork is to produce drawings that are photorealistic. Sometimes I have heard the question, why bother? I have seen paintings and digital art that could easily have been an actual photograph. So aside from being able to say, "yes, I did that," what is the purpose of it?

snow leopard

I can't speak for everyone, but to me, photorealistic drawing (or painting or whatever medium) is a chance to improve upon a photograph, especially the background. Animals are particularly difficult to photograph, so getting one in a good pose from a good angle doesn't mean you'll get a decent background. For example, I loved the photograph I took of the snow leopard. But it had an ugly cement wall in the background and a chain-link fence in the foreground. I think I made a good change when I just made the background black. Also, for my koala, I changed the species of tree to look more like an Australian eucalyptus tree (not sure what he was actually sitting in). Again, it was a boring zoo background that I modified to appear outside high in a tree.

Then, of course, you can create expressions and situations that look real but would be extremely difficult or impossible to photograph - something I hope I will be able to do given enough practice. Or, better yet, what about extinct species? How could one draw a mammoth from a photograph? Photorealism has its advantages, and more than just being able to say, "I did that."


The Flying Trilobite said...

In the case of your drawings, I find the textures delightful. I can see all the different strokes and materials. It is appealing in a very different way, though the realism is so strong.

Heather M. Ward said...

Thanks for the compliments. I'm glad someone out there likes my work (and reads my blog!) besides my family.