When I was very young and I was preparing for college I worked for two years with my teacher to get the necessary skills for admission: object and human model artistic drawing, technical drawing, colour, perspective, axonometry, materials, textures, technologies, object design, interior design and so on. I worked like a mule for 2 years in a row. It was like a concentration camp. The admission exam was extremely fierce, we were 12 candidates competing for each student admittance. Practically, I ran out of objects from my house to draw in the first 6 months.
My professor was a quiet and tough guy who taught me to do everything with my hands and some simple tools: pencil, charcoal, watercolour, pastel, brush, paper. But most of all he taught me by his own example how to focus, think, concentrate, create, document, explore, speculate and never give up no matter what. He was the first to teach me the pragmatic side of the design work. He was the first to reveal to me the world of Brancusi, the most famous Romanian sculptor. Not only his work but also his wisdom: “Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave.”
By the way, my mentor is now one of the biggest and famous computer game creators in the world and he is still designing characters and game setup with his own hands on paper with the same tools he taught me how to use 30 years ago. I’ve been lucky to have such a mentor.
After that 2 years ordeal (and another 6 years of design college) it was much easier for me to adapt to computers, to create 2 and 3 D stories and experiences using graphic design, packaging and directing a team of designers. I use and see computers and software as tools, not more, not less. Even now, in this uber digitalized world, I and my team are sketching and conceptualizing our ideas by hand on paper at the very beginning. We use the computers just to finish our ideas, explore nuances and resolve the technicalities. Delivery, not creative work.
Computers and software are just tools, like the hammer or a saw. They are not creative, they just facilitate the job to be done using the right hands with the right skills. The carpenters’ job is not at all done by the tools he uses. It is done with his thinking, skills and experience, with the help of those tools.
The tools are the facilitators for the ideas and skills to come to life, but because of the ease and wide spread of computers in our line of work people tend to forget what they really are and substitute their own ideas with the options and features these tools have.