Computer Generated Design Ex-libris
There are no technique and materials limitations in ex-libris. The designer can use all the possibilities of the art of painting, printmaking, and graphic design. Followed with purely aesthetic concerns, replicated through printmaking techniques as well as using new technologies, ex-libris is a discipline that enables the spread of art to masses. Looking at the process of creation, it appears in the art of painting; considering its functional aspects, it can be considered as product of graphic design.
Ex-libris artists often make use of traditional printing techniques such as metal engraving, wood engraving, linoleum printing, and lithography to replicate their works. However, screen printing, offset printing, photography and computer are also used for design and replication. What matters is not how but what the artist creates.
Krzysztof Marek Bak, Poland, CGD
Ann Kestens, Belgium, CGD
Widely used computers are not a competitor of conventional printing techniques but just other means of expression. Instead of pens, brushes and carving knives, mice or Wacom tablet pens are used. It is possible to make various modifications such as reduction, enlargement, color insert, and removing unwanted sections on a sketch made by hand or photograph in an image processing program such as Photoshop or vector-based software such as Illustrator. While it is possible to use a desired font, a hand written calligraphic script can also be inserted. In Computer Generated Design (CGD) ex-libris making, the design is completed utilizing all the facilities of computer software and printed on good quality paper. Certainly, as in the case with ex-libris made with other techniques, the code of the technique, how many copies were printed, the name of the artist and the making year is written underneath the ex-libris with a pencil. Some artists write down these details to the back side and put their signature only on the front side. In Computer Reproduced Design (CRD), ex-libris art products made using various techniques are scanned using a scanner and then printed. These are not interfered with to a great extent via computer software.
Hasip Pektaş, Turkey, CGD
Ex-libris are designed taking the rules under consideration in the creation of other works of art. The basis is to create a balanced composition, to establish a good relationship between the picture and script. Creation of these small pictures, insertion of the ex-libris phrase and the name of the owner are a design problem in itself. If the script used is not in the right place and the right size it can be disturbing and ex-libris is adversely affected. For that reason, many trials should be made and actual placement should be performed after finding the appropriate location. Font selection is important. The psychological effects it will create must be taken into account. The text should neither be as small as it is unreadable, nor too large to outshine the image. A part of the picture should remain as a streak or stain but successfully fulfill its function.
Martin R. Baeyens, Belgium, CGD
We cannot overlook the rapid development and change in the world. The artist is not a continuator of old traditions but is the creator of new traditions. Using new technologies contributes to their creativity. Technology is not an obstacle to creativity. On the contrary, it provides extensive opportunities in obtaining information and ensures technical diversity and efficient use of time. Some of our failures in the process of getting to know technology should not make us refrain from it but should be a driving motive for us in recognizing, understanding, and assessing it. As long as communications and technology do not become tools of restriction and routing for art and design, artists will always continue to create unique and functional designs. Emerging technologies and new programs bring about unlimited possibilities for the artist and designer. For example, drawings at the precision level of those made with a pencil can be created on a Wacom tablet, and existing software makes it possible to use millions of color alternatives and a variety of brushes. An appropriately computer mouse used with dexterity is a pencil, a carving knife, a brush. Thus, we cannot discriminate a piece of CGD (Computer Generated Design) ex-libris created totally with aesthetic concerns and is comprised of patience and effort from ex-libris replicated using traditional printing techniques. Ex-libris collectors have started to collect CGD ex-libris along with ex-libris reproduced with traditional techniques. There is growing interest in CGD ex-libris increasingly, and orders are received.
Recently, several computer-aided designs of ex-libris have received important awards in some competitions and certain master engraver artists make use of computer too, in making ex-libris, both of which are indicators of richness and diversity in this field.
How CGD ex-libris are made is a frequent question. There is no recipe for design. This is a matter of background and knowledge, experience, and aesthetic concerns. The results are achieved through investigating, trial and error, destroying and retrying. And of course, a detailed analysis of what is already done contributes a great deal to progress.