I have had an interest in computer graphics for as long as I have been using computers. Although the graphic capabilities of the early PC’s were very restrictive to say the least. The early software also left a lot to be desired
Nowadays with 32 bit colour, high resolution, a range of 2D and 3D graphics cards, some of which are more powerful than the computers you plug them into, and software to handle just about any graphical task you can imagine, the situation for the computer artist is excellent.
A lot of areas that have always been the province of traditional artist’s materials are now being performed using the computer. One example that springs to mind, is book illustrations, especially in the field of Science Fiction, mainly using 3D software, and Children’s books, with Corel Painter being a favourite package in this field.
More recently, tablet computers (especially the iPad) have exploded onto the scene, with many artists using them, in some cases replacing tradional materials completely. Have a look at how Corliss Blakely is using the iPad
Even the iPhone has been used to create covers for the New Yorker magazine
Tasks that used to be performed by specialists, such as photo restoring and retouching, can now be performed by anyone with access to the necessary hardware and software, and of course, the time and inclination to learn how to use it.
There are even circles that are now accepting the computer as a ‘Fine Art’ tool.
None of the above is meant to imply that a computer will turn you into an instant artist. You will still need to spend a lot of time practising the required skills, although with a computer it is a lot easier to correct mistakes. And of course not everybody has the imagination and creativity that sets some people apart (where do some of these Sci-fi artists get their inspiration?)
If you feel the inclination to try your hand at drawing and painting with your computer, you don’t need to spend a great deal of money to get started. You obviously have access to a computer, to be reading this, and there is a lot of Freeware and Shareware software available to get you on your way in the fascinating field of computer art. I would recommend that you get something a bit more capable than the simple Paint package that comes with Windows.