At some point-- I'm not sure when-- traditional drawing skills seem to have become unfashionable.
  • Perhaps it's because artists today see no percentage in competing with 1,000 years of talented, obsessed draftsmen.
  • Perhaps it's because photography and other short cuts have made the labors of drawing seem less inspiring.
  • Perhaps it's because illustrators have seized the license of gallery painters who proved that you don't need traditional skills to sell a picture.
Whatever the reason, other ingredients of art (such as concept or design) have become so dominant that today many artists no longer even pretend to be able to draw. (Consider the talented cartoonist Garry Trudeau who has drawn like crap for 40 years. You'd have to try mighty hard to avoid picking up some skill in all that time.) Some contemporary artists seem to go out of their way to draw in a crude or naive style, perhaps to avoid any comparison with traditional artists.

That's one reason I take pleasure in the work of Peter de Seve, an excellent, decisive draftsman who draws with great character and imagination.

Note de Seve's eye for the small details that create personality, for body language, for animated facial expressions and revealing gestures. His drawing ability enables him to give form to his insights in a way that many other contemporary illustrators cannot. He integrates these ingredients seamlessly using a loose, energetic line.

In an era when the greatest demand for images seems to be CGI in movies or computer gaming, I find it interesting that de Seve's old fashioned pencil drawing have become an essential building block for major animated movies such as the Ice Age trilogy or a Bug's Life. He contributes the flavor to character designs which (so far) no computer has been able to simulate.

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