This is no new debate. The ongoing battle between traditional and digital art is a controversial one that has seen opinions from several personalities within and outside the industry.
Simply put, digital art is the production of art created on a digital platform while traditional art can be categorized as any piece of artwork that is not digitally generated. Digital art includes graphics made by computers using software. On the contrary, traditional art relies entirely on manual creations using pen, pencils, ink and paint. And even though the two art forms have several similarities and require similar skills, this frequently asked question still remains: is digital art really easier than traditional art?
Let’s settle the Digital Vs Traditional Art debate
To do that, we need to first deep dive into the pros & cons of both art forms.
Pros of Traditional Art
- It requires skill
Traditional art depends heavily on the skill of the individual. To succeed in any art form, you need to first know the basics and foundation. With traditional art forms, you get to hone those skills and thereby build a strong & steady foundation for your future.
- It’s unique
Traditional art is all about finding perfection in imperfections. The strokes used are genuine and not altered by any digital intervention. It’s these little things that make traditional artworks more unique and true to the artist.
- It’s unrestricted
With traditional art forms, you can play around with a variety of mediums, textures and tools. You have no limitations. It can activate your sense of sight and touch; things you simply can’t enjoy through other mediums of art.
- It’s practical
Traditional art is practical as it does not rely on the internet, data or software. All you need is paper, a pencil, maybe some colours and you’re ready to create!
Cons of Traditional Art
- It requires sufficient lighting
Much like photography, traditional art relies on access to good lighting. An artists’ interpretation of an object during the day will be significantly different from that of during the night.
- It’s limited to specific mediums
With the use of physical materials (such a paper type, paint textures, etc) come limitations with the intermingling of one over the other. An artist should know how different colours react with the other or even how they do against certain types of paper.
- It’s permanent
With traditional art forms, you can’t go back in time to rectify a misjudged stroke or colour. You can’t undo your decisions and you’ll need to work around those adjustments.
- It’s messy
All that paint and ink is sure to make a mess which is why traditional art is considered to be more inconvenient and tiresome.
There’s a famous saying that goes, “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”. The same applies to art. The preference and ease of use of one art form over the other lie entirely in the hands of the artists. That said, let’s see how digital art fares against traditional art.
Pros of digital art
- It’s flexible
Digital art can be everything and anything you want it to be. You choose your brush, you can work with the exact shade you want, you can add elements or layers — and you won’t have to go to a physical store to do any of it.
- It’s cost-effective
Creating digital art involves a one-time investment in the device and software you want. Beyond that, you don’t need to reinvest in physical materials such as ink or paper time and again. This is why honing digital art skills seems to be a preference among young learners.
- It’s not prone to physical wear & tear
On paper, your creations are more subject to physical damages and external interventions such as fading ink, bad quality paper and more. With digital creations, your art stays just as you last left them for many years.
- It becomes timeliness
That brings us to this point: digital artworks are almost timeless. If you’ve got a backup system running smoothly, your creations get stored in the drive and you’d never lose them again.
- It’s the industry standard
For creators looking to make digital art their profession, knowing and learning digital art software is crucial. Most agencies and design-led teams hire talent based on their knowledge and familiarity with software such as Illustrator, After Effects and the likes.
Cons of digital art
- It’s not print proof
Many creators have raised the issue of the difference between viewing digital art on screens vs paper. While the artwork looks stunning on digital platforms, it lacks the vibrancy or experience desired when seen on print.
- It might lack originality
Original traditional works of art (as created on canvas and the likes) are valued at much higher prices than digital artworks or prints. This is because it’s assumed that digital creations are easier to replicate and recreate.
The verdict: which one is easier?
It’s true; easy is a subjective term. If we’re talking from the point of view of easy-of-use, then digital is better because of the multiple software and digital tools available to creators. If we’re talking about pure knowledge, both traditional and digital demand a similar understanding of art foundations. There’s no shortcut here.
For teenagers, easy digital art software is not hard to find and many schools are now keen on integrating it into their curriculum. This in no way means traditional art is unimportant or dying. It just means that different creators find comfort in different mediums.
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