Images, particularly of people and by-gone eras, are an intrinsic part of many mixed media artworks; they bring a focal point to our pieces and help to tell the story or express the emotion we are trying to convey. Having these images available to us in digital format opens up all sorts of possibilities.
Why use digital images?
Digital images offer convenient storage as compared to pages and pages of pre-printed images, photos and postcards, and allows the storage of many images in a lot less space. By having these pictures on file, we can resize and print them as needed. This will ensure they are always just the right size for the project you are working on.
When purchasing digital images, often you can download them straight away so you don't have to wait for the postman to arrive; the pictures are there, ready to be printed out and used almost instantly. Digital images can also be cheaper than purchasing preprinted images. Having your own coloured printer is the easiest way to print these images but selecting the ones you want and going down to your local coloured printing store can still be a convenient and cost effective way to create hard copies of these pictures.
Using digital copies of treasured family photos and historically significant documents is a way of using these pieces in your artwork without altering the originals. There are for's and against's for using original photos and documents in your artwork; we'll leave that conversation for another time.
Where to find digital images?
With thanks to the Internet, there are vast resources out there on the world wide web. Some of these images are offered for free; some sites would like you to add your own image to contribute to the pool of images, others are happy to be able to share what they have with the wider mixed media art community, others simply would like you to acknowledgment where you found the image, to advertise their site to others.
The world of blogging has also given the average person a chance to have their own space on the www. Not only are these great places to see others artwork, meet new people and participate in fantastic challenges, some bloggers post their personal images to share with their visitors.
For the connoisseur of digital images, you can also purchase the digital pictures, either to download directly from the internet, or to be posted to you, on compact disks. These are often laid out on a standard size of paper which makes the printing of your images much easier. Individual images are readily imported into your favourite software package, allowing you to resize or digital alter the images before printing.
Mixed Media Art Resources page lists some places you can visit to add to your digital image collection.
How to use digital images
Printing these digital images allows them to be used in collages and other mixed media artwork as you would any other picture. More details on how to download and import images will be included in the next article.
Things to know about Digital Images
The size of a digital image will make a huge difference as to what it will look like what it is printed out. As a rule of thumb, any images less than 100kb aren't worth messing around with, unless you are looking to print them really small (for an ATC, moo card or inchies, for example). Sticking with larger images will allow you greater freedom to resize them and still get a good quality image when printed.
What about Digital Art?
Digital art is a fairly new addition to the Mixed Media Art community. It is gaining popularity very quickly; amazing pieces of artwork can be make with these techniques and you are only limited by your imagination and ability to manipulate the software. Some digital images are trimmed especially to be incorporated into digital art; they will have the border cut to the outline of the image, so you don't need to worry about the background of the image.
Digital images are an important part of many mixed media artworks, helping us to tell the story and express the emotion we are want to convey in our piece. The pictures available to us in this format opens up all sorts of possibilities. So have a poke around the internet and...
Come visit us at Mixed Media Art for project ideas.