From paper to pixel: computers in illustration

Illustration began as a manual profession, work done by hand with paper, pencils and colours. However, over time, the bond between manual skills and digital performance has become increasingly important to achieving truly creative professional results.

So, what are the best tools currently available for moving art from paper to pixels?

Today’s technology has made huge strides towards this goal, and many companies are developing specific product lines with illustrators in mind, such as notebooks that automatically digitalise your sketches or pens that memorise your movements so that you can load them onto your computer whenever you like. But whether your start with pencil and paper or draw directly onto a graphics tablet, your computer makes the biggest difference of all.

Very often, People buy a computer impulsively without giving the right amount of thought to all of its components and what they want to use it for. And yet it is actually very important to choose the right PC for your profession, and to carefully weigh up the different options available to you so that you end up with a device that lets you do your work to the best of your abilities.

As an illustrator, you’ll obviously deal with dedicated software (such as the Adobe suite) and you’ll often find yourself using multiple programs at the same time, working on illustrations with extremely high pixel densities. So, if you don’t want your computer to crash completely, you’ll need a high-performance PC with a flexible configuration to give you enough computing power to save major projects and quickly export finalised files.

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In this line of work, time is of the essence: you’ll often have less than 24 hours to deliver drafts or final versions.

What’s more, you’ll undoubtedly be asked to make modifications and changes, so you need to be quick when both doing the initial work and any applying any corrections to be made to your projects This is another reason why working digitally makes your life simpler and why your computer should be your greatest ally.

The processor determines your computer’s performance: the faster your processor can process data, the faster you can run operations and programs. A quad-core Intel Core i7 processor or higher will, for example, offer immediate computing, speeding up your PC. Lastly, it’s also essential to have plenty of RAM, a hard drive with high read/write speeds and a graphics card with professional-level performance.

Another important point to tick off your list is deciding whether you’ll need a notebook so you can work on the move, or if you prefer to always work from the same station. In other words, do you need a laptop or a desktop?

If you’re always on the go and flexibility is your top priority, 2-in-1 devices powered by Intel offer the perfect blend of performance and versatility.

This option allows you to use your latest-generation computer in notebook or tent mode to get a full view of all of your content, before quickly switching to a light, flexible tablet by simply detaching the keyboard. You get the best of both worlds in one single computer with a long battery life, designed to go everywhere with you.

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On the other hand, if you’re looking for a fixed workstation, the technology used in smaller, more powerful hardware components and super-slim displays has evolved and developed to bring you the All-in-One PC.

Merging all the functions of a notebook and a desktop PC, these touch-screen devices house all of their hardware in one small space and everything is powered by a single cable.

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And let’s not forget display performance. Your monitor is a vital component and has a significant impact on the quality of the results of your work: aspects like colour rendering, size, resolution and response time are crucial when it comes to realistically producing smooth images with the spotlight on all the characteristics and details that your illustration needs.

Whatever you choose, your main aim is always to maximise your efficiency, making use of all the technology available to you. Wave goodbye to useless cables and plugs and say hello to maximum performance with minimal clutter: now you can develop your creativity and skills without a hitch.

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