A new site called Pixton just launched which allows creators to make their own custom comics using a variety of stock assets. It is really a technical marvel and the whole thing works very well, yet I can’t help but think that this kind of thing only encourages the current stock of lazy and disconnected young “creators” to remain so.
For me the issue is simple. Tools like Pixton seem like a wonderful shortcut to creating comics (I made the comic below in less than three minutes by “remixing” a comic created by a co-worker… which makes it even more awesome then it already is.) But these shortcuts are not substitutions for the kind of work that can be achieved through years of careful study, hard work and dedication to the craft. Now, you may say “Of course, that is obvious.” But I am not so sure that it is so obvious to a lot of young people looking for an outlet for their creative talents. (Full Disclosure: I have been drawing comics for less than a year, so you may want to take what I have to say with a grain of salt.)
As a teacher, I have at times had a rather difficult time convincing my students that a pencil and a sketchbook are the most basic and essential tools of a good animator. Ten years ago, it would never have been an issue. “Why draw when the computer does it all for me?” or “Well, such-and-such a site is successful and those guys can’t draw very well either.” are common sentiments I overhear quite often.
An engaging conversation is going on over at Scott McCloud’s blog concerning this site and the nature of comics and is worth checking out.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go smash some Ray Charles records while listening to T-Pain.