We just watched a Youtube video by an illustrator on the history of Illustration. He does a ton of these, usually broken down by decades of by artist. He name checked Norman Rockwell, Frank Frazetta, Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, and a few others in end of the series. Then he went into the explosion of digital art.
He made a comment about digital art (as done by Photoshop and similar products) re-writing the illustration landscape. He then said there would probably always be a call for some traditional illustration, but that was that. He made it sound like the odd steam-tractor repairman would be needed once in a while in the current age of electric vehicles, for example. He made it sound final.
Benita and I both winced. Owe. I picked a good time retire when I did. Keep in mind, I was one of those digital illustrators producing digital content, until I got tired of it and returned to traditional mediums.
Will traditional art fade away? I doubt it based on the sheer amount of art supply manufacturers and shoppers I saw in Dick Blick’s store a few weeks back. And yet, art supply stores have dwindled away in the last few years. Prism, and Pygmalion’s in Bloomington, are among those much lamented disappearances.
Things will always change, and technology will always advance. That’s the way of it. Winners and losers and all that. It may only be hoped that there is a traditional resurgence, like the Arts & Crafts movement, the Acoustic Music renaissance of the 90’s and 00’s, or the return of vinyl albums.
We are seeing a seed change, no doubt, but new mediums don’t always mean the death of old mediums. Radios wen’t killed by television, for example, or books by audio books, or bicycles by cars.
It’s just hard to know.