Graphic designer ‘feels the joy’ when creating digital art

Graphic designer ‘feels the joy’ when creating digital art

Graphic designer ‘feels the joy’ when creating digital art
Digital artist Pat Calabro’s background in computer consulting and her inner creative passion came together after retirement with a certificate in graphic design.

John NakanishiCONCORD, CA (May 26, 2022) — Pat Calabro is a long-time Concord Art Association (CAA) board member who is indispensable in working her IT magic on CAA’s social media sites. She also uses her computer skills to create artwork.

“Pat’s quick wit is always on display and ready to make us laugh,” says treasurer Sharon Petersen. “Her hair is as colorful as her art, and she is always ready to party. She arrives for noon meetings with her ever-ready bottle of wine and is always ready to volunteer for whatever is needed. Her specialty is anything computer-related, a skill not readily available in our age group.”

I first saw Calabro’s art during a composition class we were both taking online. While most of us were showing work created in traditional art media like watercolor, acrylic or pencil, Calabro was completing all her exercises and homework on her computer.

It was the first time I heard of Procreate, a digital illustration app. I had experience using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop from my engineering background, but I never considered an iPad as an artist’s tool. I soon discovered that there is a lively discussion in the art community about the validity of digital art.

Not real

“When I first started digital art, fellow artists would say that what I did wasn’t ‘real’ because I didn’t use paint,” Calabro says.

Another complaint often heard about digital art is that there are no originals and many copies can be instantly created.

“They think that I am cheating (or that) the computer does the work,” says Calabro, who is quick to point out that many professional artists show work created from Procreate. For example, artist David Hockney used the digital app to create a series of landscapes.

Looking into Calabro’s background, it is easy to see how she ended up combining art and technology. Calabro discovered the artist in her after her retirement as a computer consultant in 2008. She found that the inner creativity she tapped while computer programming combined with her love of art was easily translatable into obtaining a graphic design certificate.

Then she ventured into paint pouring. “I love the texture and movement of the paint,” says Calabro, who became proficient in the technique and enjoys giving classes to teach others.

“Pat Calabro is one of those artists that is willing to try new things,” notes CAA board member Renaye Johnson. “This has led to some wonderful artwork that is enjoyed by our whole community. She is also very supportive of other artists and is an excellent teacher.”

Recently, Calabro has been offering classes on using Procreate. She creates many pieces of fine art in Procreate and then prints them on glass.

The creative process

It occurred to me that too much attention is being placed on the end product when trying to determine if this media is art. Perhaps it is better to focus on the creative process, which is no different than any other media. The visual enjoyment attained by art lovers is no different either.

“Art surrounds itself with an ambiance that encourages a positive approach to life,” Calabro says, adding that she wants her viewers to “feel the joy and attraction that I feel when I paint.”

John Nakanishi is an acrylic painter and a ceramic artist. Email comments and suggestions for future columns to

John Nakanishi
John Nakanishi

John Nakanishi is treasurer of The Concord Art Association. He is an acrylic painter and a ceramic artist. When John isn’t creating art, he coaches soccer for East Bay Eclipse, a competitive soccer club based in Moraga. He is also an avid trail runner, enjoying runs from 5 miles to 50K.