Home : Interviews Photoshop : Martha
Martha Jane Bradford
What made you inclined
towards digital drawing?
As a photorealist used to working with
projected slides, I first became interested in digital drawing in
Painter as a way of playing with the composition of my reference photos,
cropping, moving or removing objects, playing with color and contrast,
all things you can’t do with a projector. As I gained confidence
about what I could do with Painter, it occurred to me that it would
be simpler to do the finished pieces in the computer rather than translating
them to charcoal or pastel and that I would have the tremendous benefit
of working as if I were doing unique pieces but of ending up with
editions, which would enable me to reach more people with my work.
Apart from the medium
what difference you found between the traditional painting & digital
Digital drawing encourages experimentation,
both because of the "Undo" feature and because of the ability
to save variations. Working on "Layers" allows a great freedom
of gesture even in highly realistic drawings: if you mess up the tree
branches, you can erase them on their layer without spoiling the sky
on its layer. You can also draw negative shapes as positives in a
seamless way, whereas with traditional drawings if you try to draw
little white details on a charcoal background, you get gray.
You have amazing
photorealistic artwork. Is it only digital drawing? Can we call it
I call my pieces digital drawings because
I tend to use the dry media brushes (charcoal, pastel) rather than
the liquid media brushes.
Do you find it essential
to know the traditional art before starting with digital drawing?
I don’t see any difference between
making traditional art and doing digital work. The computer and the
drawing software are powerful tools, but unless you learn the fundamentals
of making art, you will just make a powerful mess. You could equally
learn those fundamentals traditionally or digitally.
If you are using
Photoshop or any image processing software, do you find it essential
to use third party plugins for digital Drawing?
I work on my reference photographs in PhotoShop,
but I do all my drawing in Painter because it has "natural media"
that imitate the look of traditional media. A light stroke of charcoal
picks up the peaks of the paper texture; a heavy stroke sinks further
down into the valleys, etc. I don’t use any 3rd party plug-ins.
As an artist how
much satisfied you are with computer and the tool provided by software?
Since I do all my work on the computer
with no inclination to return to traditional media, it looks as though
I must be 100% satisfied.
There is a debate
since long time between, art for an art's sake and art for life. What
are you fit into?
Let’s say I make art for the spirit.
To quote from my artist’s statement:
The subjects of my landscapes are ordinary scenes transformed by light
in a way that suggests a spiritual narrative. My style is highly realistic
in order to present this numinous quality of the phenomenal world
as truly existing. I hope to share both the individual experiences
and the whole way of looking with the viewer.
There is a stream
of an art where the artwork is difficult to understand for a common
person, which sometimes called modern art. Have you tried that with
The beauty of realism is that it speaks
to everyone, although it may not say the same thing.
Do you follow some
tradition with digital drawing?
For the last ten years I have focused on
proving that digital media are the equal of traditional media. My
digital charcoals, for example, look exactly like my traditional charcoals.
Having satisfied myself on that score, for the next ten years, I think
I may focus on how digital can be different from traditional.
Many artists has
some philosophical base, like Zen or Chinese Taoism. Do you think
its necessary to have that type of base for an art?
It’s my choice to have my work grow
out of the spiritual side of my nature, but I don’t think that
has to be everyone’s approach.
What's your philosophy
as an artist representing the unique style of digital drawing?
I believe that eventually drawing and painting
digitally will become as common as writing on a word processor is
today, and it is my aim to help make that day come sooner.