Skill v Software: The Never Ending Debate

Illustration by Brad Lewis

Illustration by Brad Lewis


“What kind of software do you guys use?”  

It's the most asked question I get.  Much like someone requesting "Free Bird" at a music event.  Usually, this is asked by a student or someone interested in animation would ask and understandably so.

Open Toonz, Blender, Harmony 12, Animate (the program formally known as Flash), TV Paint, RETAS!, Pencil, GIMP… So many tools to choose from.  But they’re just that.  Tools.  Yes, good tools help you do the work, and the less you have to fuss and fidget with it the better, but they don’t do the work for you...  

I don’t want to dismiss the whole concept off just like that.  Tools are important to an artist.  A sculptor choosing whether to do their piece in marble over granite has their reasons.  Maybe it’s simpler to work with one or the other, or one is more forgiving of mistakes or less expensive to acquire.  I’m particular when it comes to the kind of sketchbook or pens I use simply because the quality of the material used is solid and I know it won’t fall apart on me the moment I open a page.  

All of these elements are things to take into consideration but again, they don’t do the work for you.  Having a nice Moleskine sketchbook won’t make you a better artist, but it might make you want to draw more in it.  

Likewise with software.  If the software makes doing your work simpler and more enjoyable, that should be the main reason why you use it.  But the tool doesn’t do the work.  You do.  Be the artist, not the tool.