….is not a real word.  It’s meant to be a mashup of “digital illustration” but I’m pretty sure that’s not an excuse for using it.

It was the title of a Swap-bot swap that caught my eye: create a digital illustration and email it to your partner.  But there were issues.

For one thing, what did the host mean by “illustration”?  An illustration normally has a direct object – you illustrate something.  Were we supposed to pick a story or quote or concept to illustrate?  Make one up?  Neither, it turned out; the host is apparently in the habit of using “illustration” to describe simple digital doodles and drawings and cartoons.

But it sounded like a pleasant and easy swap so I signed up.  Then, the day of the deadline, the host started demonstrating all sorts of undesirable qualities, from cluelessness (she tried to assign partners the day of the deadline instead of the day after and complained of a “bug” in the software that wouldn’t let her) to a complete lack of consideration for others (changing the number of partners from 1 to 5 without asking if it’s okay is not cool – sending five emails isn’t much work, but rating and tracking ratings for five people is).  Fortunately the cluelessness undid the lack of consideration and I dropped the swap.

But, I still wanted to come up with a digital…thing.  I’m not certain I can call this an artwork, exactly.  It’s an experiment.

If you want to click through to the full-size version and print it as an 8×10, you certainly can.  Not sure you’d want to though.

It was interesting to do.  The butterfly itself is a vector image I made in Inkscape – actually I made the butterfly some time ago and added the strings of circles for this piece.  The upper wings are images of Beauty I took on my cell and then played with in Gimp.  (Since Picnik is closing, I’ve been poking at Gimp some more.  Even though I’m fairly certain Picnik will pop up again in a new form.  I hope.)  And the birds were a vintage image from The Graphics Fairy, also altered in Gimp.

It was interesting to combine vector and raster images like this, and I think I’m likely to play with it more in the future.  You get some interesting effects that way.

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