Department of Art and Design purchases new tablets


Eight new tablets are available for student use in the Department of Art and Design.

The department received tablets from Japanese technology company Wacom after Department Chair Larry Burditt prepared a proposal, asked the faculty for input and reviewed it with the departmental executive committee. The committee approved the proposal, which was then approved by College of Communication and Fine Arts Interim Dean Shelly Hinck. The department used CCFA technology funds to purchase the tablets. 

Burditt said the new tablets allow students to use brush features that look like a traditional painting. He said the tablets are another tool to benefit students in the changing industry.

“It’s just one more way we’re trying to see what the up-and-coming technology is and how it could be incorporated with traditional art,” Burditt said.

He said students know the tablets, which the department has had for less than a month, are available for them to use in labs but not individual courses yet.

"They're available in the general lab we use," Burditt said. "We only have eight of them so it's not enough for an entire class but we've done demos and shown them how to use them."

Bay City senior Katie Mielens plans to use a tablet for her honors capstone project. The two-dimensional art major plans to study abroad in Italy in the fall 2015. She plans to exhibit her project, so she and her adviser discussed possible ways to display her work. 

She decided she could use a tablet to send her art to the university to have it enlarged for her honors project.

"What I plan to use the tablet for is to push what art can be and challenge what art is because even though I'm not actually sending a physical piece of art there, it still can be exhibited," Mielens said. 

Alumna Caitlin Clark, who uses a tablet for the majority of her artwork, said tablets are necessary for the changing industry. 

“The majority of fine art careers now are in fields such as entertainment where artists would be required to be proficient in making art with a tablet," Clark said.

She believes her ability to make art on a tablet has increased her professional opportunities because she can create artwork for companies that want something digital rather than a physical painting.

Mielens said the art department has kept up well with new technologies. 

"It helps me out a lot because I'm able to still draw and still do all of the things I like and I'm passionate about but I'm also able to work digitally and experiment," she said. "My independent study is enabling me to experiment with these things before I leave." 

Mielens aspires to work in education at an art center and she thinks learning these skills while in college will not only help her with her own artwork, it will help her teach different technologies to other people. 

Burditt said the tablets make creating art more efficient because there’s an undo button and it’s easier to make corrections. However, he said it can also take some time to get used to because people didn’t initially learn to draw on a tablet.

Clark agreed the skills can be difficult to learn, but once students do learn them, it makes the art process easier.

"I think it's good to experiment," Mielens said. "I think everyone should widen their horizons." 

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