Guest Blogger: Richard Hsu

If you are having trouble deciding between digital art and traditional art, this article is perfect for you. As a freelance artist, I have worked with both traditional art and digital art throughout my art journey. In this article, we will be going over the pros and cons of digital art when compared to traditional art. Let’s dive in!

Pros of digital art

In this section, we compare each benefit in relation to traditional art to help clarify your thoughts on digital art. Here are the pros of digital art:

No Recurring Costs

Pros And Cons of Digital Art Compared to Traditional Art | Online Art Gallery Dubai

Getting started in digital art requires a bit of investment up front. But, after that, you don’t have to put in anymore money in art supplies! When compared to traditional art, digital art is much cheaper in the long run. To get started, all you need is a decent computer and a beginner drawing tablet that can be as cheap as $50. On the other hand, traditional art will require you to replenish supplies like drawing paper, painting canvas, paint, and paint brushes which can add up to a lot of money.

Wide range of useful tools

Another great benefit of digital art is that it has a wide range of tools that traditional art does not have. For example, the Lasso Tool in Photoshop allows you to select areas of your painting where you can move them around or adjust their colors. Another useful tool is the ability to have multiple layers of drawing. You can have your sketch in one layer, your final lines in another layer, and colors in yet another layer. This allows you to adjust each layer independent of each other and tweak things like the opacity of each layer.

Easy to make corrections

Pros And Cons of Digital Art Compared to Traditional Art | Online Art Gallery Dubai

Mistakes in traditional art can be hard to undo especially in mediums like watercolor. Sometimes, you have to start over entirely. In digital art, there are a lot of useful tools that allows you to make corrections like the famous Undo button. With a simple command, you can undo your mistakes and make another attempt. There are also settings where you can adjust things like the hue, brightness, saturation, and contrast which are very helpful when adjusting colors and values.


Saves a lot time

You can save a lot of time working with digital art compared to traditional art. As previously mentioned, correcting mistakes is often easier and faster with digital art. You also don’t have to waste time setting up before diving into art. In traditional art, you often have to prepare tools like paint and brushes as you set up your canvas. You also spend a lot of time mixing colors and cleaning up after you are done.

Generate less waste

Digital art uses electricity but generates much less waste than traditional art. If you paint regularly, you often are using up a lot of paper, canvases, or paint which all use up resources and generate waste. While digital art uses electricity, you won’t be generating waste and is friendlier towards the environment.

Industry standard for certain jobs

Lastly, digital art is often the standard for many concept art or illustration jobs, especially in the entertainment and game industry. If you are looking to get a job in those industries in the future, it helps to focus on digital art. As our technologies advance, people rely on advanced tools like Photoshop and Zbrush to create art for commercial purposes. However, there are definitely jobs
that traditional art is a requirement. For example, being an art teacher.

Cons of digital art

While there are a lot of benefits that comes with digital art, there are also some drawbacks that you should consider. Here are a few cons of digital art:

Can be more expensive up front

Pros And Cons of Digital Art Compared to Traditional Art | Online Art Gallery Dubai

Digital art can be more expensive than traditional art upfront, especially if you need to buy a computer. Most computers can handle programs for digital art like Photoshop. But, if you are rendering something that is higher in definition or using a lot of layers, you may need to invest in a better graphics card or a better computer. For drawing tablets, there are starter ones that costs around $50 all the way to higher end tablets that costs more than a thousand dollars. If you are just starting out, consider opting for something with a lower price but has a decent quality like the Wacom One.

Takes getting used to

If you are switching over from traditional art, digital art can definitely feel awkward or hard. It takes a lot of practice and hands-eye coordination especially for drawing tablets without a screen. But, it does become easier over time if you draw on your tablet regularly. Painting can also feel overwhelming at first with so many different brushes and settings to choose from.

Technical difficulties

One downside with digital art is that you may face technical issues from time to time. Your computer may crash or your electricity might go out which would stop you from making art. Softwares you use to make art can also crash or not work properly when you need them to. Lastly, important files can be lost if you don’t back them up.

Can strain the eyes

Digital art will require you to look at your screen and can strain your eyes if you draw for too long. If you do digital art, it is important to take regular breaks between sessions to avoid straining your eyes and worsening your eyesight. Traditional art is much easier on the eyes if you do it in a well-lit room.

Can’t replace traditional art

While you can replicate many effects like brush strokes, you can’t completely replace traditional art. Digital art only exists digitally and even if you print it out, it lacks the texture and hand-made feeling of traditional art. Some people also prefer the tactile sensations that traditional art gives.

Less experience in color mixing

In traditional art, you almost always have to mix colors when you are painting. On the other hand, you can directly pick the colors you want in digital art. While it is convenient and saves a lot of time, you won’t build any experience in color mixing. This makes it a bit harder for you to switch from digital art to traditional art.

What to do next

I hope you found this article helped you see the different pros and cons of digital art. If you’d like to read more articles from me, check out my article on drawing techniques or learn what is color theory.

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