Illustration

How Did Digital Illustration Begin?

From engineering to tablets, digital illustration has come a long way

Digital illustration is part of the mainstream. But, not long ago, it was something that few artists used in their work. How did those artists start using computers to design? How did digital art become what it is today?

In the video below, we review a brief history of the technique that is now vital to the creative process of countless makers and artists:

Digital art took its first steps shortly after World War II and gained momentum when scientific research into algorithms and computing blew up in the 1960s.

The pioneers of this art are engineers and scientists like A. Michael Noll, who used computers in 1962 to create images through patterns and mathematical algorithms.

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Computer Generated Image - Brooklyn Museum -Leroy Lamis (1925-2010)

In 1965, the first exhibitions were held and in 1968, the art curator Jasia Reichardt organised the most significant exhibition in the field up to that point, in London, with the first digital artists, such as Nam June Paik, Frieder Nake, and Leslie Mezei. These artists used algorithms to generate apparently random and abstract images.

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At the start of the 80s, digital illustration gained new life as a creative tool: Adobe, the iconic developer of image manipulation and digital design software. That same decade, Corel Draw and Paint made digital illustration accessible.

The Macintosh also pushed the sector forward, allowing people to use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator on a daily basis.

Since then, digital illustration has continued to develop and grow exponentially online. Not only did the tools become accessible, but the internet made it possible for illustrators, designers, and artists to reach more people.

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In 2010, Instagram was born: a social network that has become a meeting point and portfolio platform for different artists and styles. Today, it is an immense repository of artwork from across the globe.

Gadgets like the iPad and the Apple Pencil are also quickly becoming essential elements for many artists and anyone who wants to draw and design digitally.

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Digital illustration is experiencing its apogee and continues to evolve, continuously benefiting from technology and renewing itself. It is not yet known what the future will look like, but it is very clear that it will be full of art produced and consumed digitally.

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You may also be interested in:

- Introduction to Adobe Illustrator, by Aarón Martínez
- Illustration Techniques to Unlock your Creativity, a course by Adolfo Serra
- Modern Watercolor Techniques, a course by Ana Victoria Calderon

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