I came across Daniel Pinkwater’s “The Muffin Fiend” today and I was taken aback. It wasn’t the story that did it, but the digital illustrations. Published in 1986, this is one of the earliest uses of computer-aided artwork I’ve seen in a children’s book.

Flipping through the book took me back to the time period in which it was made. Drawing on the computer was a new and exciting thing. It made me think of how nowadays, digital illustrations are common and it is often hard to tell them apart from physical artwork.

I have a friend who says he likes rock music better than hip-hop in part because “it’s harder to play a chord than push a button.” I disagree with this view, but I imagine he would not be a fan of computer-aided artwork for the same reasons he likes rock music. He might argue that it’s harder to physically illustrate than to use a computer, and therefore more worthy of appreciation.

I say a good illustration is a good illustration no mater how you get there. What do you say? Digital illustration – good, bad, or somewhere in between?

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